Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Monday, July 16, 2007

My 5 Weirdest Encounters in Korea

"Hold me! Oh, it's terrible, Darling. What is that thing?"

5. Older Korean ladies stare in awe as I eat spicy food, waiting for my mouth to catch fire or my body to reject the red pepper.

4. Bakers target me because they think I'm anxious to bring home a pantry full of white bread and baked goods.

3. Men assume I'm Russian and can be purchased. I've had a couple show me their wallets. One not so funny incident: In broad daylight Suwon, an old Korean man smiled, approached me and reached out his hands to shake/hold mine. I thought it was a sweet gesture and laughed shyly, only to find him yanking my hands down to his crotch. I pulled away and rushed down the street without looking back.

2. Sunday night, I had a fellow follow me in Seoul, insisting, "I'm not crazy, not psycho. I just have a good feeling about us." I made up a lie about returning to Canada the next day. He said plans could be changed. Then as I was waiting in line, a stranger in his 50's strolled up to me, put his nose a few inches from my face, studied it, and walked away with no expression.

1. I had my window open one Sunday afternoon and looked out to find a woman in the next apartment (only a few feet from mine) with her chair facing out her window and into mine. She was sipping lemonade and watching me fold my laundry. When I caught her eye, she just casually sipped her juice.

Disclaimer: By no means is this a comment on Korean culture! I've had my share of unsettling encounters in Canadian cities, still lights a question mark or makes your stomach turn.

PS -
Proof that the apartment IS indeed a bachelor's pad (whatever that means.) Actually this table hockey, beer drinking shtick is uncharacteristic. Can anybody guess which one is my boyfriend? If you guess right I'll mail you some kimchi. Mmm... heat and travel should help the fermentation.


Still Born said...

He's in the pink shirt.

I know it's terrifying, but I laughed at the hand/crotch story. I think/hope it was a nervous and appalled laugh rather than a 'wow that's really humorous' laugh.

A few weeks about on the train, I had a mean lean over and say/growl, "You look delicious."

Skeeves are everywhere.

daeguowl said...

I'm pretty sure you posted a photo of him somewhere but blowed if I can find it. In a recent post you drew you best friend with a beard and therefore if your boyfriend is also your best friend, (which is a reasonable assumption) I go for the guy in pink. Nope, I've found the photo I was thinking of and I now think it's the guy sitting down in the middle.

MUD said...

Pretty young girls bring out the weird in the best of us. I try to keep it under control most of the time and am home the rest of the time. My 85 year young mother thought it was strange that a guy started calling her and talking about them dating. I told her to invite him over and that would be the end of that. I would be there to assist him if it wasn't. Been working the grill today. Did a pork shoulder, burgers and chicken. Won't have to cook the rest of the week. Now all I need is some good kimchi with the pork.

supersoulfly said...

He is obviously the nice jewish boy.

Eva, your Korean News Headlines widget isn't working well. The pictures don't match the headlines. Why is there a hand flipping me off next to a story about investing in North Korea?

K said...

It's the guy in the white shirt with sun glasses and moving a hocky piece or puck.


I'll take my kimchi in a gallon plastic jar shpped over night. That way it doesn't get over fermented.


Josh "the loving boyfriend" said...

It's the butler in the corner.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna beat the shit out of that disgusting old man. Trust me, the Korean police would not arrest me for it.


Anonymous said...

hes either the guy in the pink shirt (the beard) or hes the guy in the grey shirt in the middle (he looks familiar from some other pics you've posted of ur bf

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

It's the guy in the 'I am Canadian' shirt. Keepin it real.

... No, Josh is right. It's the butler. He's rather quiet, but he doesn't argue and he's always eager to lend a hand.

PS- I didn't take the old man incident too seriously. He was drunk and probably crazy, too. But it isn't a nice thing to happen to you, certainly.

PPS- I just got an awful e-mail full of creepy Korea happenings. Maybe I'll white-out the name and post a few. Before I came to Korea I was warned it's a patriarchal society and would be dangerous, but the truth is I've never felt safer. At night in Montreal, I held my housekeys as a makeshift weapon... especially on small dimly lit streets. But Koreans are generally very honest and gentle mannered.

Helena said...

Oh my.

The lady looking in your window--you should have gotten out your camera and started taking pictures of her. Ha!

Jane Milton said...

Hi Eva: I think I posted something and it got lost somewhere in the internet. Sorry to hear you got accosted. Ugh. I hate that.

And you're right, there are pervs everywhere. I would be interested to know what other people's experiences have been dealing with them in Korea, so I would be curious to read a post with the (redacted) email. I've been meaning to write about a post about this as well, but I keep getting sidetracked. Oops.

Next time this happens, do the time-honoured tradition of kicking them in the nuts. Seems to always work. =)

Hang in there!

Cheers, Jane.

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Jane, I'm running out the door. But the girl gave me permisson to post her experiences so i'll do that tonight. hers are god AWFUL, make mine look like a normal day at the playground.

I'll try to do the good/bad girl post tomorrow.

hahhahaha ... your self defense advice. you're the best !

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Anonymous said...

I was in Lotte Mart looking at some electronics. Did find what I wanted so I headed toward the flat moving ramp that goes down to the food section. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an old Korean woman and felt strange. As soon as I stepped onto the ramp "she" quickly stepped on with me and reached down and grabbed my hand. I pulled away and looked into the face of a grinning old man in a dress, nylons, and makeup! I freaked and quickly walked down the ramp and got away from him. YIKES. Brendon

Catherine June said...

You are female, you are caucasian and you are pretty. Some ignorant-never-travel-out-of-the-country Korean men just assume they can buy you. !@#$%