Friday, December 1

Jet Fuel at Thirty Cents a Cup

As promised... Here I begin the record of our adventures in Korea, Land of the Morning Calm.

We are having a fantastic time so far. The locals are friendly and the food is delicious- even if both are somewhat mystifying. At least once a day Rachel says, "What the hell are you eating?" and I am forced to answer, "I don't really know, but it is good!" It would seem, however, that I really like seaweed. I have been eating a lot of it anyways. And noodles. Sometimes I even eat seaweed AND noodles together. What a life.

Just outside our apartment building is a little Mom and Pop convenience store with an evil coffee-dispensing machine in front of it. Our daily ritual- after drinking two or three cups each of Maxwell House in the apartment- is to stop at the coffee-machine before heading out for the day. For 300 won (about 30 cents American) this machine spits out a sickly-sweet, high-octane brew that is guaranteed to put a spring in your step and an ulcer in your belly. But, oh is it delicious. In fact, since these machines can be found on every corner and in front of every store, pushing their vile ambrosia on the masses for mere pennies a cup, Rachel and I have started calling them "crack-machines." So, to get back to our daily routine: we have regular coffee upstairs, hit the crack-machine downstairs for 30 cents each worth of jet fuel, then it's off to hail a cab.

The extra go-juice is really necessary, because without it the taxi rides would be unendurable. I couldn't tell you what kilometers-per-hour converts to in miles-per-hour, but when the speed limit sign says 50 and the speedometer says a 100... It is like a video game where your friend is doing all the driving and all you can do is watch as street signs and pedestrians and red lights and oncoming traffic all kind of blur together and the 5000 milligrams of caffeine coursing through your veins are the only thing allowing you to keep track of it all until suddenly you have arrived safely and in dire need of a bathroom. The city is so small that riding around in taxis is pretty cheap- we can get from our house to most places for under 3000 won (about $3). "Cheap" is relative, however, when you lose minutes of your life from the time dilation effects of traveling at light speed. The best part of the ride, though, is getting out of the car and finding another crack-machine no more than ten feet away.

1 comment:

Cato said...

Damn. I thought you were going to let us all in on a secret to lessen the US's dependence on foreign oil. What a pipe dream.

So crack is legal in SK? Who knew.