Sunday, July 30, 2006

Incheon Airport Again

Not such a bad place. As usual it is not uncommon to see at least a couple of people that have forgotten to fill out the departure card for Korean immigration. If they have never flown before I suppose it would be more appropriate to say that they overlooked the notices that they should fill out their card, but the notices are not very noticable to be frank.

Most countries in Asia seem to require some sort of departure card though, so the prepared traveller should seek out the card to avoid waiting in line at immigration twice.

I am once again at the Daum internet lounge at gate 14 in the Incheon International terminal. They sell $3 or 3000won cards during business hours and have slots available for 500won coins after hours. In both cases the fee is 500won or 50 cents for a 10 minute use of the terminal. My terminal is a bit greasy but I am not too worried. I guess I will wash my hands afterward.

Computer literate folk like myself take so much for granted. I am just thinking about this because I asked my friend to look up the exchange rate for Euros to Pesos and I gave him a web address over the phone del.icio.us/seaniz/bank , my personal bookmark for all important bank links.

I made a couple of big mistake when I told him the web address. First I didn't mention that there is no www in front of the web address which most people including myself tend to assume is always there. Also, I think I misspelled del.icio.us. Nuts to me for that. But for his part he had no idea what a backslash is. I can vaguely remember a time when I had to search out the backslash but it is such an important part of complex web addresses that I have long since stopped having to find it.

The backslash is that symbol just before 'seaniz' and also just before 'bank' in the internet address above. It resides on the '?' key you have to use the shift key to access the question mark but the slash is the lower case or 'default' option. Anyway it is just quite humorous for me that people exist in this world who do not know what the backslash key is or what to use it for.

Now back to the Bank of Canada exchange form which you can access through the above link. It gives you a precise (to the most relavent decimal place) value for most currencies as well as some good options for tracking currency exchange. I brought a printout to the airport with me of the rate of exchange from Korean won to Euro, US dollar and the Peso just so I could be sure of getting the best bang for my buck and discovered to my horror that the rate the banks offer on Pesos really bloody sucks! Just like in Canada banks.

It is not just the airport exchange rate that sucks either, it is the regular exchange that they offer throughout Canada and Korea that just plain bites. Essentially the banks get to charge a 9 to 10% service fee for the Philippino Peso. I did a little calculating and figured that I would come out with more Pesos in the end if I exchange my won for Euros and then exchange my Euros for Pesos in the Manila airport (that is probably the only place you will get a good exchange rate in the Philippines).

The Korean Won exchange in the Manila airport might be okay, but I'm not willing to take that risk today as the rate quoted on Boracay and in many places of business in Manila has a 10 to 20% service fee included in the exchange. That is a lot of money to part with for just a currency exchange! I find it hard to believe that Koreans woud accept this rate but I have heard that they are known for being very dumb with their money abroad.

I managed to watch Australia v. New Zealand at Scrooge bar in Itaewan last night. Standing room only but it was good to watch a rugby game again! And a couple of beers can really go down nice when you are out and about not to mention one of my favourites, Guinness stew across the street at the 3 Alley pub. Got together with one of my Korean friends this afternoon for lunch -- Jenny.

Nice girl but like a lot of Korean women she really mystifies me. She is 32 and does not have a boyfriend, but she is deathly afraid of not being able to find a husband. And yet, she has not had sex and will not have sex until she finds the man she will marry. I wish I could give her some advice but I do not think I can help her find a husband even if she takes my advice -- "get laid" -- it probably would not help, as Korean culture seems to have a weird thing about sex.

Here, if you are a woman you shold not have sex until you find the man you want marry but if you are a man you SHOULD have sex when you are out drinking with your office mates at a room salon. What about the women that supply the ubiquitous pleasure bars throughout Korea? I guess they do not mention their mode of employment to their family and friends. But the industry is so massive it has to include at least 1 in 10 Korean women (I've heard estimates that are more like 1 in 7).

So, what gives? A lot of Korean women are lying about their sexual experience. Sadly, Korean culture does not provide a lot of other ways for women to make good money.

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