Friday, April 21, 2006


I love Friday nights. It is the best time of the week, isn't it? (Unless you have to work on Saturday morning.) Still, everyone knows Fridays ROCK!

I took my time after work, because I had nothing planned. Sometimes I go grocery shopping, but I haven't been lately. Occasionally I go to the "PC Bang" (internet cafe) and play some games for awhile. I can't play the most popular games here - StarCraft or CartRacer or whatever the hell shoot-'em-up game so many people play that repeats a phrase in Korean that sounds A LOT like "Jesus Intent, Jesus Intent!!" I usually stick to games on "realarcade," where you can play an unlimited time. (They say it's a 60 minute demo, but it just goes on and on until you exit. Granted, you can't do anything else on your PC while you're playing, but still it's fun!)

Anyhow, I went to my local PC Bang on Wednesday and found it closed. Finito. Abandoned. I wasn't terribly surprised by this. Over the last two weeks their snack selection had dwindled down to pretty much nothing, and I thought something might be up. It wasn't the best PC bang anyhow, it wasn't very often filled up, but that's precisely why I liked it. I like a buffer between me and the person beside me. In Japan, you often get a cubicle all to your own, complete with door and phone to call up to the front desk to have beer or food delivered to you. Here, the person next to you can (and WILL) sit back and read whatever's going on on your screen. I also really liked my PC Bang because even though it smelled like a sewer, and with the co-ed washrooms I more than once walked in on a guy standing at the urinal, there wasn't many kids there at all. I'd really rather not run into any of my students there.

But Korea is a place where many things stay the same for hundreds of years, but others change ALL the time. Notably - businesses. MANY businesses, even what looks to be successful ones, will suddenly close their doors! Try not to get TOO attached to a favourite menu item at your local Chinese restaurant, because next week it will have changed into a hair salon. Don't count on being able to shop for a pretty purse at that cute accessory shop next week, because chances are it'll have turned into a butcher's shop by then!

One shop on my way to work has gone through 5 incarnations in the almost 2 years I've been here. It was a mandu shop (steamed dumplings) then a side dish shop. Next, it was an underwear shop and then a clothing store owned by one of my student's moms. She closed it because "it was boring," and now it's some kind of pre-school teach-you-to-be-a-genius clubs. For 3 weeks there was a sign outside that read: "I see and I leanr, I read and I undtand." (They've since changed it.) But, there's NEVER any customers in there. I'm looking forward to seeing what it'll be next. Hopefully, it'll be a Quiznos.

As for my PC Bang, I see that they're remodeling inside. I don't know if another PC Bang will grow from where the other one was hacked off. Maybe it will turn out to be a spa. A nice relaxing mani-pedi on Friday nights would be alright with me too! As long as there are no kids! With my luck, though, it'll be a squid-eye and cat-liver restaurant!

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