Monday, October 17, 2005

What's up with the screaming fruit trucks?

When I'm not Ding Ding Dang-ing it up, there is of course so much to see and do in Daegu, and I've hardly seen or done any of it yet! But I aim to do as much as possible. Right now the main thing that happens in the evenings after work is the adventure of getting food. Somtimes I cop out and go to a fast food place. In my first temporary digs, the studio apartment at the school's HQ where I stayed for one week, I was down the block from Burger King, so that was always a possibility ... now, in my new digs (did I mention I'm around the corner from a U.S. Army base?) I have Lotteria, the Korean burger joint, down the street. But what I usually try to do is get some tofu, or rice, or bibimbap, or something, but with NO SEAWEED and no meat. That is soooo much easier said than done, and for me it is not even easily said.

I'm not kidding, you should see me in some of these places. I walk in and stare at the menu for about ten minutes until I can spot the word "tofu." Then I order it and it's delicious but at the bottom is a random oyster in the sauce, or it comes with a side of squid (what?!?) But the price is right: you can get a take-out meal here, like a filling wonderful meal, for 3000 won. That's like three bucks-ish! Or less! Usually the people in these places remember me, too, when I wander back in a couple days later. Oh, hi, random English-speaking girl, they are undoubtedly thinking.

My new neighborhood is filled with street vendors selling fruits and vegetables, too, thank goodness!

But what's weird is the past few days I've noticed an abundance of these small blue pick-up truck type vehicles, with a cab and then flatbed back full of fruit/lettuce/ whatever for sale. They are parked on street corners by work, on the walk home from work, in the neighbhorhood where I live, and so on, and they have radios blaring some Korean shouting. It totally caught me off guard the other day when I first noticed. They all had the voice and they all sounded like a dictator yelling at people or something. Not random talk radio. I thought there was some military invasion happening, but it's just the thing, day in and day out, that these trucks parked on many a corner are blasting some ... something. News? Lecture series? I have no clue.

In my new apartment, where I will be until around mid-November, I have a roommate. She is from China and teaches Chinese at my school (at the Chinese learning branch of Ding Ding Dang, which is called Ping Ping Pang). (No, really.) So I get to have double the cultural exchange! She is really sweet and also funny. She hates Korean food. At least I have that advantage: I like most everything I've been given. I just have to be vigilant about making sure "no seaweed!" (which I do know how to say in Korean) or I will have my allergic reaction and I assure you it is not pretty. So my roommate cooks every night. We got to talking about Chinese food and I was explaining that everywhere in the States there are Chinese restaurants. I was trying to list things one eats there and couldn't remember all those same old items you see on like every single Chinese restaurant menu. I'm thinking about asking friends and family stateside to send a couple of Chinese restaurant menus for me to show her. You know how they are always flyering and leaving menus on your door? What better do you have to do with them than send them to me??? Bonus points if you can send one with Chinese and English on it ...

I really like walking to and from work. I haven't gone jogging here yet but I am going to try to along the river that cuts through town that I pass over on my way to work. It's not as big and beautiful as, say, the Charles but it has the same idea, a sidewalk along the water and people walk/bike along it.

I also spend time doing exactly what I'm doing now, which is sitting in one of the many, many "PC Bang" (means PC room) where I can use the Internet cheaply and that are just filled with a few rows of computers occupied by adolescent boys playing computer games with a crazy cacophony of sounds pelting my ears.

There is so very much to do here. And tons of restaurants, coffee shops, bars. And, things are open late and 24 hours and whatnot. (Are you listening, New England??)

And I am still trying to learn a few Korean words each day, of course. Some days are better than others...

1 comment:

raine said...

I'll send you one baby! A chinese take-out menu, I mean. Just email me your address, and away it goes!
BTW - I've linked your blog from mine. Just FYI :)