Today we went downtown and finally found the map that Brian has desperately been wanting. Apparently he needs a visual map of where we are. I don't really care where we are...it all looks the same to me. Just another difference between men and women I think. Anyway, after downtown we caught a cab to E-Mart, Korea's equivalent of Wal-Mart. It was pretty much what I expected - huge, full of lots of goodies and teeming with people. The escalators were the ramp kind with no stairs. I felt so much like herded cattle that I was nervous someone was going to whip out a stun-gun on the sporting goods level. No such luck.
It was actually pretty cool. They had a section of massage chairs/beds and it was full of people test driving the products. It was mostly old people in the chairs and some of them looked like they may have died at some point between massage cycles. One man's head was being shaken so hard I was afraid he was going to have some kind of frontal lobe damage when he eventually did get up. It might have been better had he died in the chair.
I bought some house slippers, a pillow and some other small odds and ends. Korean houses have an underfloor heating system and so people always take off their shoes inside. It used to consist of a fire and heating ducts but now it relies on the hotwater pipes running under the floor. It's a neat idea but I don't really understand why it requires different footware. I'll just keep playing along. It does help explain the whole "sandal with socks phenomenon"...but not entirely.
We got into the cab today and I asked the driver to take us to E-Mart. Nothing. I asked again, nothing. Brian tried "E-Mart-uh". Instant recognition. Turns out that in the Korean language, certain sounds cannot finish a syllable or word. This is why my students (and many of the Korean teachers) change page to "pagey" and English to "Englishey" (Engrishey to be exact). The other sound they add is "uh"...thus, E-Martuh. The things you learn.
The car horns here have a built in fade to them. It's weird because it kind of mimics the Doppler effect and it trips me out every time. You push the horn once and it gradually fades over a few seconds. No explanation yet to accompany the observation.
So everyone here are wearing sunvisors to protect them from the sun. Mostly the women, but I have seen some men wearing them too. Some go so far as to wear gloves, visors and use parasols (I never thought I would use that word in a sentence beyond my 8th birthday...I wanted a parasol for my birthday. I didn't get it) but I have yet to see a pair of sunglasses. I have so much to learn.