All Over The Place

Yes, it’s travel chaos. Let’s see:

  • The Woori Bank network seems to be down again, and it’s Saturday in Korea now. I wonder if I’ll reach anyone if I call this time. Two times in a week is pretty pitiful, if you ask me. Ah well, I have enough money to get by until sometime tomorrow, if necessary.
  • Exchanging email with Lime is good, and I’m happy even though I miss her dreadfully.
  • While buying a nice espresso pot (for a quarter of the price they cost in Korea, and in a size bigger than I can get there), I met an interesting old artist who’d lived in East Berlin under the Communists, and we had a great chat about politics, democracy, capitalism, communism, penal systems, culture, crime, art, language, and a dozen other things. It was a great half-hour in some random kitchenware shop.
  • I had a smoked-meat sandwich at Schwartz’s, and I agree with Lime: it’s too much meat. It was good, but I couldn’t eat like that very often…
  • I picked up several books of poetry at The Word, which is Montreal’s best literary used bookstore. You see, the two kinds of books that are exceedingly hard to get in Korea are poetry and good SF. So I’m gonna get some of each to bring home.
  • Got a nifty present for Lime which she isn’t expecting but I bet, with her current political tendencies, she will probably enjoy.
  • My friend Josee canceled on me, or rather, couldn’t meet for some reason or other, so I’ve got a night to myself. Were I single I’d maybe head to a night club, but as I’m not, and since I’m a little low on money till Woori Bank gets the system working, I think I’m just going to see a movie—the documentary Super Size Me—and then having a coffee and reading until some ungodly hour, until I call home to Lime and see how she’s doing.

Which reminds me, there are two crazy things going on in Korea right now.

  1. Pharmacy students are having their periods of study extended for an extra year or two so that they can study basic clinical medicine. The idea, I suppose, is that they will consult patients with uncomplicated illnesses, or some such thing. It’s a complicated question, of course, but at base there seems to be a government-vs.-medical-profession struggle going on here, where the government’s trying to lessen the necessity for doctors. As I said to Lime, I think there are lots of problems with the Korean medical system—prescriptions are given in the most moronic way imaginable, partly due to legislation, and people go to doctors far too often as well—but turning pharmacists into incompetent quasi-doctors doesn’t seem to me to be a good solution to any of those problems. So for now, all medical students in Korea are on strike, including Lime. This means probably no summer holiday for her, or maybe a week at best. What a mess.
  2. The ROK has blocked access to a whole bunch of blogs powered by popular blog servers like Blogger, because people have been posting links to footage of Kim Seung-Il’s death. Andi at Overboard was the first blogger I’ve heard mention this, but it’s also affected others like Budaechigae and Joel.

    If you need a workaround to see a blog from within Korea, use this anonymous redirector and you should get what you want. It worked for me on some sites, including Joel’s, but not on Andi’s (unfortunately). Hmmm. I wonder why the government doesn’t just block the links to the footage instead, if they want so badly to keep this thing from being seen. That I could almost understand… though as Andi points out it’s backwards to only ban the Korean’s snuff footage and let any Korean who wants to see the Nick Berg or others of its kind.

Seems like I picked an interesting time to be out of the country. Sigh.

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