Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The New Apartuh

Well, I've finally caught up on some of my posts in the works. Scroll down for some new entries that I've pre-dated.

My new apartuh (Korean speak) is much smaller than my old, but a bit closer to school, and much closer to the subway (which is basically outside my door). Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of an apartuh ghetto with very few markets or places to shop. Although there is a big shopping district not to far away, which even includes a western bar (basically, a bar where you can buy a drink without having to buy food as well).

From the open-air hallway that is outside my front door, I get a nice view of the local industrial park (notice that it snowed last night).

From my back porch / laundry room, I get this lovely view.

And the parking lot below. Which still has lots of room left. At night, cars are parked, double parked, and triple parked on every available piece of pavement. Watching cars maneuver in and out and night is a sight to behold.

Addendum: I've actually discovered the way of the parking lot - double parkers leave their cars in neutral, so if you're blocked in you can just push the offending car out of the way.

In remembrance of my travels, I plan on rolling out some top 10 lists by the end of the year. So look forward to my 10 most unpleasant travel experiences, my 10 best travel experiences, and my 10 places I most want to go.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

The bang

The bang (방), or room, is one of the crucial components of life in Korea. Because of Korea's high population density, apartments are usually too small to entertain your friends in. Especially when you still live with your parents at the age of 25. Thus, they have developed the bang. Say you want to hang out with your friends and play computer games. You go to the PC bang. If you want to hang out with your friends and sing songs, you go to the norae bang, or singing room. At the norae bang, you can rent your own private room and sing songs all night long. Both of these are more ubiquitous than grass here in the ROK.

Further more, there is the DVD bang, where you can rent a room and watch movies with your friends. Another bang of note is the jjimjil bang, which is the Korean hot bath and sauna house. This is where you'd go for a nice hot bath (very few apartments have baths) and, of course, the sauna. A final bang, which I've recently discovered, is the nori bang. Not to be confused with the norae bang, the nori bang is the children's playroom. This is where you can take your children, and for a few bucks, they can play inside. Perfect for the young mothers who worry about their kids playing in the street.

As you can see, the apartment is pretty much just a place to sleep. All other social activities take place outside of the home. And the bang is a crucial component to that social activity.