Today was a busy day. We had three lectures in the morning and early afternoon. So we were off to Yonsei University first thing this morning for a lecture on Korean culture, and then East Asia’s Rise. After those two (which were both very interesting) we had our lunch break. We had 4 restaurants to choose from, just like the other day. Elsa and I were going to go with Kim to the Japanese place. We needed to stop by the bank too, so we asked Kim for directions. She said we had to go to one off campus, and it was a little farther away so if we waited for a few minutes she’d get everyone who was eating settled and translated for, and then take us to the bank. We took a bus to get there which was neat. It was a green bus, so it was a neighborhood bus and was very small. Each side only had 1 seat.
Once we got to the bank, Kim checked all the ATM’s looking for a global one for Elsa. I had cash and needed to exchange it. We went upstairs to wait. You have to take a number at the bank and watch closely for it to pop up on the screen in the front because if you’re not fast enough they’ll move on to the next one. To exchange money you need to fill in your name, the amount, and passport number on a little form. Then you put the form, your money, and your passport in a little basket on the desk. The teller takes it, counts the money, prints a receipt, and then puts your new money back into the basket.
I went downstairs to find Elsa and Kim, who were still looking for an ATM. None of Elsa’s cards worked. So we had to get her a number and sit down to wait again for a teller. She was very upset, and our lunch was almost over. She finally got called up to a teller and changed her money. We were already late for the lecture and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. Kim took us to a Mexican place, and I got a burrito, Elsa got a taco. We can’t tell anyone though, because I guess we’re really not supposed to go to places like that. (Well, I guess at least the grad assistants aren’t supposed to take us to places like that. They can’t stop us if we go on our own.) It was a delicious burrito and I even ate the onions and what I think were a few jalapenos with no complaint.
We wound up being 35 minutes late for our third lecture. I was very sorry we took so long, but that didn’t last long. The last lecture was on the rise and fall of Daewoo, and it just didn’t interest me. I heard a lot of people say they had a tough time with it too. And I didn’t even have to hear all of it, so I was lucky.
After the lecture we went to see ‘Jump,’ which was a martial arts comedy performance. The actors (?) were all very good and it was a hilarious show. Two people from our group were chosen to be volunteers and got up on stage. We couldn’t take pictures in there unfortunately, but that’s understandable. They’re jumping around and flipping and throwing punches and kicks, so it wouldn’t be good to blind them with a camera flash.
Then most of us opted to go to a baseball game. The baseball stadium is right next to the Olympic Stadium which was cool. We were rooting for the Twins. The other team was the Wylverins, both of them were Seoul teams. So the stadium we were in was the home stadium for both teams. Our team won, and I think they were the underdogs too. (4-2.)
I have not been to many baseball games in my life, and never a professional one. So I don’t really know what is different and what is the same. I don’t recall ever hearing about cheerleaders or dancers at a baseball game, and there were at this game. And they danced almost the entire game. People cheer constantly, the sides are trying to out cheer each other. When your side is up to bat you really don’t sit down or stop shouting.
We did have a hilarious moment. One of the local adult beverage companies sponsored something called the Kiss Cam. They would put you on the huge tv and you had to kiss. Well they flashed to two people in our group who of course, are not married and had not ever met until last Thursday. We all got a kick out of that, but then they flashed back to the game, so they didn’t have to kiss. A little while later, they put them back on the screen and called them down the little stage they had set up. A representative from the local adult beverage company brought them an entire case of their adult beverage. So they handed them out and then sat back down to watch the game. Awhile later, they flashed them on the screen again with the Kiss Cam back up! They kissed each other on the cheek and we all got a big laugh out of it.
But the evening didn’t stop there. On the bus on the way back Gio started karaoke! There’s a flat screen tv at the front of the bus. The first song was Bohemian Rhapsody. We had a blast with that. A few more people sang, they did Shout, a couple of guys did a duet of Sweet Caroline, and Elsa ended the night with Living La Vida Loca. It was awesome.
Today was really fun, after we got past that last lecture. Oh! At the baseball stadium, we had to get dinner. Elsa and I made a beeline for Burger King. (As did most of us.) I cannot tell you the last time I had a Whopper or the last time I even set foot in a Burger King, but it was great tonight.
Tomorrow we’re going to the DMZ. No shorts, sandals, or torn looking clothing. We have a briefing in the morning, then lunch, and then we head out there. I think tomorrow is an early night, it looks like after the DMZ we head straight back to the hotel, and should be here around 6pm. So hopefully tomorrow I can get out and explore or shop in some new places. There are still lots of people I want to hang out with, and there’s still a ton of stuff to do, and now only about a week to do it in.