Mike Map

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Monday, August 20, 2007

I've been called many a less-than-glorious name...

Everyone here knows that I've had my odd hair stages in the past, ranging from the high school buzz-cut to the pre-Italy nameless monstrosity and all the generally talentless (but much appreciated!) friend-given haircuts since. When I arrived in Korea, I had a pretty nice version of what many called "the beatle" cut. The children here called me "pagaji mori," which is something like "gourd head." I was also said to have a striking resemblance to "chocosongi," a little dancing pantless bowl-headed mushroom man featured on a chocolate-cookie type snack box. Once I got that trimmed back a little, I became "yangpa mori," or "onion head." When I got it shorter yet, to the point where my ears were visible, I was dubbed "wonsungi," or "monkey." By now my hair has been stable for a while and I thought all my troubles were done with.

Not so. Yesterday, one of my favorite students - a middle schooler with a tendency to randomly spout odd things in class like "I love Johnny Depp!" or "Don't give me yellow star. It look...pee" or "There's a fly, so I'm not bored. I do my work today." - said to me, out of nowhere, "teacher, your hair look like ramen." I was pretty much flabbergasted, so I asked her what kind (she said Shin ramen, which is a spicy type, I believe), and whether she meant cooked or raw (she said cooked).

I just don't know what to say. I guess I'll have to get a haircut this weekend.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My World/Suburb

Alright, hopefully this will work. I've used GoogleEarth to map out the most Mike-frequented places in my town. If you don't have GoogleEarth, then you need to install that first. Afterward you should just be able to click the link and GoogleEarth will open up and zoom you to the correct coordinates. If not, just save the file and open it from the local drive.

First stop: my apartment, conveniently located above a pig intestine restaurant. Of course I haven't tried it. It's the middle building of that triangular set that you should see in the middle of the screen. Right now the surrounding area is rather lush and dense with foliage, but in the winter it was all brown and dirty like the map shows.

Next, Homeplus. You shouldn't be able to miss this building; it's got a big tower on the NE corner. This is where I buy pretty much everything except books and fruit. A lot like a Walmart, but, somehow, not so depressing. Maybe it's because of the free dumpling samples...

Just east of homeplus is my workout/squash/korean practice/free hot shower in the winter/general fun place, a gym called feel leports. People here gave me free pig feet to eat last friday. The building should be pretty centralized in your picture, but anyhow it's on the left hand side of the street, just north of the crosswalk.

These photos were all taken by satellite sometime earlier in the year; this large plot of dirt is now a nearly-finished megamall, HanShin Seven Valley. It will have a pizza hut, an outback, and lots of other stuff. There's really nowhere to just hang out in this little suburb of mine, so it'll be nice when this place opens - supposedly as soon as november.

Just across the street (to the East, once more), is the Lotte Cinema. It must have been under construction when this satellite image was taken (the site says 2007), but I'm pretty sure it was open by February. It's a 10 floor building, and the cinema starts on floor 5. Each pair of floors (5-6 7-8 9-10) has two screens. Pretty spiffy inside, but they don't get too many interesting English flicks, so I haven't gone too often.

And then, further east and a little south, we come to my Herald School. We're on floor 4 of the building at the NE end of the overpass. If you go north from my school, the first building has my most-visited restaurant. It's run by 3 ladies who have been crucial in my korean chitchat skill development. A little more to the north is a pizza shop, and across from that, on the streetside, is my favorite fruit seller man. Sometimes he flags me down and gives me free peaches. I try to but all the fruit I can handle from him. He likes to say "it's a beautiful day." One more building north is another restaurant I eat at a lot. They serve kimbap (rice, veggies, and some other stuff wrapped into a seaweed roll). On the other side of the street, to the south, after the bridge but before the larger intersection, you can find my bank and another restaurant.

Other notes: if you keep going east, you can see the little bus terminal, which is where I catch the bus to go downtown. If you go east some more, you can see a park, which is nice when the green stuff is alive. If you go further east, you hit the mountains, the highway, and the confines of my suburb. And if you follow that highway, you hit the Gugu tunnel, which goes through some mountain, and eventually you get to costco and then downtown.

Also, the thin buildings that look like 4-pip lego blocks are the apartment buildings. Each one is at least 15 stories tall, thus the long shadows. Depending on the building, each floor has between 4 and 8 apartments. So, each building houses maybe an average of 90 families.

Oh, and across the street from Lotte Cinema (to the north) is the nearest apartment complex with good recycling spots, so that's where I haul my paper, bottles, plastic, and what not.

Now you know where I spend about 95% of my time.