Saturday, September 27, 2014


I'm in the middle of doing a bunch of errands. Because Korean washing machines are inefficient and take nearly two hours to wash a load that ought to be done in under 35 minutes, I dumped a load of laundry into one of the yeogwan's two large machines, then set out on a Baggins-style adventure. My mission: the purchase of (1) an electric fan for my workplace, (2) a huge pack of toilet paper, (3) some garbage bags, and (4) extra belt holes.

My walking path took me toward Gwangjang Market, but to get there, I had to go through Joongbu Market and Bangsan Market first. Right before Joongbu Market is a knickknack store that I've gone to several times; the lady inside is friendly, but occasionally a little goofy. Today, though, there was no goofiness as she sold me my garbage bags. I then walked through Joongbu Market, which used to be covered in scaffolding but which is now, startlingly, half-unscaffolded: the construction crews are finishing up whatever alterations they've wanted to make and are taking down the metal latticework that had given the market its strange, gothic character. I crossed Euljiro Street and stopped at the local Shinhan Bank, where I pulled out W100,000 in anticipation of some heavy-duty purchasing. Once through Bangsan Market, I followed the Cheonggyae Stream over to Jongno 4-ga, where I tracked down the old gent who had sold me my belt about a month or so ago. Found him, too! He was friendly, and he remembered me from before. I explained that I'd been losing weight from all my hiking, and that I needed more belt holes—maybe three more per belt. He took both my belts and gamely punched holes in both of them, scrupulously testing each hole to make sure that the prong fit through the new holes he'd punched. When he was done, I asked him how much I'd have to pay, but he waved his hand and said everything was free. "Come back again when you lose more weight," he joked. I bowed and thanked him profusely, then went over to an empty corner of the sidewalk and put one of my belts back on.

Saints preserve us: I was able to tighten the belt right down to the third new hole! This is ridiculous. I still need to drop another eight or ten inches off my waist, but if the belt is a measure of progress, then this is encouraging news.

With my belt back in place, I walked over to Saeun Electronics Market, which I think of as the Yongsan Electronics Market's retarded little brother. Saeun Market sells much the same stuff, but the area is a bit rougher, grungier, and seedier-looking—more my style. I very quickly found what I was looking for: a place that sold electric fans. At first, I thought about buying a standard-sized fan for my office's desk, but I ultimately decided to purchase a smaller model. The guy at the store (I apologized for interrupting his lunch) showed me a pint-sized fan for W22,000; I bargained him down to W20,000 merely by saying, "Sure you couldn't sell this a little cheaper?"—then smiling cheesily. I had no idea whether such a gambit would work, but it did, so I enjoyed a modest discount of just under ten percent.

With that, I marched back toward my place, buying toilet paper and other household items at Joongbu Market, and right now, I'm still waiting for my laundry to be done. We're over the two-hour mark at this point. That is one slow-ass washing machine.

Once the laundry is hung out to dry, I'm going back out for Part Two of my errands, then I'm heading to campus to grade papers, and I'll end the evening with a walk up the mountain. Probably not a double-summit tonight, as I'll have been walking around town all day.


1 comment:

Charles said...

Congrats on the extra holes, dood. More holes are always welcome.