24 July 2008

English Language Books in Busan

After several failed attempts I have finally located a bookstore with a substantial section of English language books. Young Kwang bookstore is located just outside of Seomyeon station, exit 9, down a side street across the road from Lotte department store (Next to Han Bank). Just inside the door they have a small rack of magazines (I bought a copy of the Economist. If you can only afford one magazine that is the one to get). Further back there is a larger rack that had mostly fashion and hobby stuff, but they did have National Geographic and Food and Wine. It was strictly buy-to-read. Everything was wrapped. Down in the basement I found a room full of English language books, including an excellent contemporary fiction section and a great set of classics. I bought a novel, Waiting by Ha Jin, which I had seen reviewed a couple of months ago. I can't wait to read it.

The area around Seomyeon is the busiest section of Busan at night. The streets are closed for the most part and the place is given over to pedestrians shopping and eating and drinking and singing. It is quite a scene. This was the first time I have been down there in the daylight and it really is a neat place. There are a lot of little plazas tucked away here and there with places for people to sit outdoors. To call Seomyeon a subway station is kind of misleading. It is an underground shopping mall about five times bigger than the mall at home. You can find almost anything down there. You can get seriously lost. I couldn't find the exit marked on my instructions and I came up to the surface and a couple of guys pointed me the way. It was across the road. I looked around for a crossing. There were none. The only way to get across any roadway in about a 5 square block area is to go back underground and come back up where you need to be. This is just as well because about six major roads intersect at Seomyeon rotary on the surface.

The books at the bookstore are a bit expensive, but I am going to try to get a swap system going with some readers I know here. It is a comfort regardless to know that it is there. If you are reading this and are interested in participating in such a thing drop me an email.

I got my alien registration card and my passport back in the nick of time. I am going to go to the bank tomorrow and open an account here so that I can get paid before I leave on my trip. This is good. I wasn't looking forward to carting around a million won in cash on the journey. I am also going to be registered at the foreign teacher place tomorrow, so I will be officially official.

I ate at home tonight. This is probably the third time. I had a foam bowl of just-add-water noodles and they were of all things greasy. Good greasy. They had the noodles and a spice packet and a little plastic wrapped block of something that looked like a chewed up pink rubber eraser. This turned out to be meat. Pork I think. And it was good. It was very very spicy. I have been eating spicy food here for every meal and it hasn't bothered me at all. Asian spices don't hurt me like Mexican spices for some reason. The only thing that bothers me a little is the spicy beach chicken. I am going to try to eat in a bit more for economic reasons, although for me to eat at home cheaper than going out the just-add-water noodles are about the only option.

It was a good day. If I walk to work tomorrow I am going to take a shirt to change into. It isn't unbearably hot here, although it is warm. It is the 80% humidity that gets you. It is like walking around wet all day. It was supposed to rain every day this week. It hasn't rained since Sunday. I wish it would pour. I would run around in it.

I really appreciate the emails. When I open my mailbox and there are a couple of notes in there it really makes my day. Don't be afraid to tell me the mundane.

I took some pictures of my bookstore hunt. There are a few of the Krispy Kreme factory in the subway. It is very difficult to walk past that place. If only I hadn't of spent all my money on books...