sleepless in seoul part 2

as difficult as this is for me to believe, somebody stumbled upon my blog by searching for the following on google:

gift for person who falls asleep in meetings

in other more disturbing news, if you do search for that term in google, my blog is the fourth result that comes up. don’t believe me? see for yourself.


if you hadn’t gathered from my last few picture posts, i am currently in seoul, south korea, just inches from kim jong il’s itchy finger on a nuclear weapon.

it’s actually quite difficult to rant about koreans or south korea. korea is a nice place, and the people seem mostly friendly. however, when has the unrantability of anything ever stopped me?

the most disturbing thing about korea is not the fact that koreans resemble chinese, a race of people i really and truly hate, but the fact that these people are so used to technology, it’s scary. for instance, after checking into the hotel, i decided to take a nice well-deserved crap. however, as hard as i tried, i couldn’t find a single piece of toilet paper in the bathroom. instead, i found this:



so, i figured, this thing can’t be that difficult to figure out, could it? well, as you know by now, i’m usually quite wrong about everything.

before taking a crap, i decided to try it out, and so i pressed the wash button. immediately, a long pipe came out of the back of the commode and started sprinkling water in the general direction where i presume my ass was supposed to be. however, my ass was nowhere in the vicinity. as a result, the roof of the bathroom started getting real wet.

now, in moments of panic, i’m probably not the most reliable person to defuse the crisis. if a nuclear missile was about to be launched, and there was one specific button to be pressed to stop the launch procedure, i would probably press every single button available before pressing the correct one. and this is precisely what happened in this situation.

immediately after the roof started getting moist, my mind seems to have completely blanked out the concept of the clearly marked pink stop button. instead, i first pressed the middle nozzle adjust button, which, i realized much later, is to nicely and evenly wash your ass. however, once again, my ass was nowhere to be found, and the two bathroom walls began to get nicely moist.

i then tried my very best to adjust the direction of water flow using the other two nozzle adjust buttons, but this only succeeded in diverting the flow from an even spread of the bathroom to a unidirectional washing of the bathroom mirror.

what was i doing during this interval, you ask? i was actually playing an intense game of hopscotch, involving hopping around trying to avoid the flow of water while still trying to stay within the vicinity of the control panel. ever seen one of those intense martial arts fights between two evenly matched opponents who keep on avoiding each other’s kicks and punches? that was pretty much what it was like for me. i was in the zone, man. a duck here, a jump there, a weave and bob in the middle.

between the time of the fifth duck and the twelfth weave, i realized that there was a stop button, and happily pressed it. unfortunately, by this time, there was enough water on the roof to start dripping on me, and thus the most exercise i have ever gotten in my natural born life turned out to be in vain as i ended up soaked to the bone anyway.

well, now what? call housekeeping and run away while they clean the bathroom up, or clean it up myself and pretend like none of it ever happened? unfortunately, my embarassment quickly overpowered by intense hatred of cleaning bathrooms, and so i got to it.

first i pressed the dry button, hoping that that would do the trick. unfortunately, the range of the dry function isn’t quite as large as that of the water, meaning that if you were to master the hidden art of electronic ass-cleaning, your ass would still be wet after you used the drying option. thus, with no other avenues left in sight, i got to work with towels.

ever since, i’ve been too scared to take a crap in the toilet. and as a result, i’ve been severely constipated for the last three days.

but seriously. i’m all for the mechanization of complex processes, but some of these processes are sacred, for god’s sake. even if all my other daily functions are automated, i’d still like to manually clean my ass, thank you very much.

and the technology doesn’t stop there. the koreans can access their bank accounts from their mobile phones. they can set a barcode in their cell phone wallpapers that allows them to charge purchases to their bank accounts, thus removing the need to carry credit cards. in two years, they’ve decided to make it possible to allow people to press a button on their cell phones that will activate their refrigerator and stove at home, so that when they reach home after a hard day of work, there’s going to be a hot meal ready and waiting for them.

now, technology is great and all that jazz. in fact, i like to think of myself as a technically adept person as well (i.e. a geek). however, i wasn’t ready for so much technology at one time – it’s a bit difficult to take in sometimes. i now know what an african tribesman who was plucked from his village and dumped in the middle of manhattan would feel like.

could this technology ever be possible in bangladesh? i doubt it. two months ago, the first ever gprs system on cell phones was inaugurated in bangladesh, and immediately the bandwidth was fully occupied by hormonal teenage boys downloading porn onto their cell phones. if you made bank accounts and/or stove functionality available on bangladesh cell phones, people with cell phones would become even more obnoxious then they already are.

so anyway, with my intestines making angry growling noises throughout the last three days, i decided to partake in some good, wholesome food, which is why i promptly ended up at mcdonalds. lo and behold, the menu was entirely in korean. the only information in the english language was the numbers of the meals. therefore, having to choose from the pictures of the meals, i chose the one i thought was the most delicious.

unfortunately, the burger turned out to be a shrimp burger.

now, seriously, what the fuck? shrimp? burger? shrimp burger? shrimp burger? shrimp burger? (ad nauseam).

and the traffic! god damn! i thought that making people drive in lanes would help reduce the traffic congestion in dhaka, but if seoul is any example, it won’t help one bit. all the technology in the world, and yet they don’t know enough to synchronize their traffic signals in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.

god, i hate this country.

on the bright side, the internet in the hotel rooms is completely free. which explains how i’m able to post such long winded posts in the first place.

i’m going back home on monday morning. i’ll really miss the subzero temperatures and the ability to watch stupid teenage movies on television at any hour of the day.


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