An interesting encounter on the subway

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Asia » South Korea » Busan
January 12th 2010
Published: January 13th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Yesterday Mike and I spent the afternoon riding the subway. No, it's not what we do for fun around here, but we went to pick up our malaria meds for our trip (4 days! aahhhhh!) and it was an hour and 15 min ride there and back....we met a Korean man on the way who speaks some English, who was theoretically very nice, if not a little overbearing, but it was a comical encounter and somewhat typical of Koreans. He started out by giving us each an orange. Oranges are soo delicious here, we probably eat about 4 a day, so we were happy to get oranges. But, no, he insisted we eat them right there on the subway and when we tried to say no, he took the orange back, peeled it, broke it in half and literally shoved half of it in Mike's mouth! (luckily he ignored me for most of the conversation so I was spared!). We were on the subway with him for about 25-30 minutes and this is how a good chunk of our conversation went:

Korean Man: Do I speak good English?
Us: Yes, you do speak very good English!
KM: No, not at all. Thank you. It's my pleasure. Anytime. Do you like my coat?
Us: Yes, it's a very nice coat.
KM: Really? Thank you. I like your coat too. Do I have good English?
Us: Yes, you are very good at English!
KM: No, not at all. Not at all. THank you. It's my pleasure. Don't mention it. Here, have orange. very delicious.
Us: No thanks, we're not hungry.
KM: No, you must. . It delicious.
Us: Yes, very delicious.
KM: Do you like my hat?
Us: yes, it's a nice hat!
KM: Am I good at English? You understand?
Us: Yes, we understand you well and you speak English very well!
KM: No no, not very well. Not at all. Thank you. You are kind. Don't mention it, it's my pleasure. Anytime.

And so the conversation continued for 25 minutes! It's always an adventure riding the subway and you never know who you will meet!! It seems Koreans like to be complimented, and they are not afraid to fish for them sometimes! I get students quite often asking me if they are pretty/if I like their hair etc.

Anyways... just thought we should share that.. I suppose we'll be back after Cambodia and Laos. 18 days of awesomeness.


13th January 2010

That Korean man looked like insane!
It is certainly that the Korean man must be insane. althugh I am also korean, that Korean mad guy's doings make me disgusting and frustrate. there are no mad cows in South Korea but there are many mad men and women at downtowns, some large cities in South Korea. especially in subway. :) I had met many times insane men and women in Seoul subway when I lived in near Seoul city ten years ago. It was terrible experiencs which I didn't want to experiece again. I think that you might be attacked by an insane korean man. Congratulations! Be careful not to enconter mad Korean men.
16th January 2010

i would of just close my eyes and pretend to sleep.
18th January 2010

Hello, I hope you have not too many difficulties to understand the Korean people if they speak to you in English,I have at home a book written by Assimil : korean without toil written in French to learn Korean. Albert

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