Tag Archives: Daegu

Neighborhood Drunks

I went to bed around 11pm last night. At 12:30am, I woke up to the sound of people yelling outside. It was two couples yelling at each other – the men were trying to fight and the women were trying to break it up (and simultaneously spurring it on, as drunk people tend to do).

As I opened my blinds and leaned out the window to yell at them, two police cars pulled up. The cops broke up the fight and sent both couples away.

I got back in bed and was almost back in the mountains with Sofia Vergara when I heard a different couple yelling outside. I waited about ten minutes before yelling at them to “SHUT THE HELL UP!” Surprisingly it worked…for about thirty seconds.

When they started up again, I walked outside and politely asked the old guy to “SHUT THE HELL UP!” Instead of fighting me (which I expected), he said he was sorry and got quiet. When I went back inside, I realized that his wife had slipped in when I walked out. She was on the second floor, yelling and banging on door 203. So we called the cops.

This time, they only sent one police car. The officers made the woman leave the building. Outside, they told the couple to be quiet. The drunks kept insisting the the woman in 203. The officers argued with the couple, telling them that the woman in 203 was not the caller. The argument became heated and the man grabbed an officer’s shirt and arm several times. But the cops never reacted. They simply got back in their car and tried to leave.

Daegu Police at Night

As the cops were pulling away, the husband opened the driver’s door to the police car and grabbed the cop. Instead of knocking some sense into the man, the cop continued to try to calm the man down. The partner got out of the car and dragged the drunk away from the driver. The cops tried to leave again, despite the fact that the couple was being incredibly loud. As they were leaving, the couple continued to ask who called. One officer finally told them that “the foreigners” were the callers.

So, not only were these cops either lazy or cowards, they were also unprofessional. I wasn’t scared of the couple (in fact I would have been happy to beat the guy like a rented mule), but what if I were alone and scared?

The couple continued to yell all morning. I managed to fall asleep around 2 or 3am. When I woke up at 6am, they were still outside shouting. In fact, when I walked to school, I found them at the corner of my street enjoying a frosty brew.

Neighborhood Drunks

The wife recognized me and said something to the husband. He yelled something in Korean, so I walked over and told him to repeat it. He didn’t.

Now I am starting to understand why people have such low opinions of police officers in Korea. I hope the lazy guys last night were the exception to the rule!

Until next time.

-Taft

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My Nerdy Hobby

Most people don’t know that I have an odd hobby. Although I can’t shut up about it with my closest friends, I’m usually shy when it comes to telling other people about my hobby because it’s pretty nerdy.

I have been fascinated with everything that flies as long as I can remember. I learned to fly airplanes in college, but it was so expensive that I decided to scale it down and learn to fly model airplanes and helicopters. When that got boring, I got started in a hobby known as FPV (First Person View) flying.

This simply means that I put a camera and video transmitter on the plane so that I can beam a live image from the airplane or helicopter to a video screen on the ground. My FPV system happens to be installed on a quad-copter called a Discovery.

TBS Discovery

For the past two months I’ve been building the Discovery. Most of that time has been either trouble-shooting or waiting for parts. Because it’s pretty complex, there are lots of small problems that require special-order parts that can’t be found in a store.

You can see in the picture that there are two cameras. The one on the left (the large one) is an HD camera that records in the air. The other camera is the “flight camera” that I use to see what is happening when the Discovery is far from me.

My goal is to take video of a bunch of the cool places in Korea. Although the video isn’t perfect yet (some vibrations persist and my video editing is pretty awful), I think it’s an interesting point of view from which to see the world.

It will all make more sense when you watch the video I made. All of this video was shot last Saturday within a mile or two of my apartment. I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to set the video to HD in the lower right corner – it’s just not the same in standard definition.

Until next time.

-Taft

P.S. Notice at the very end of the video there is one little kid who comes running toward the camera (and me, behind it) yelling my name. Look closely and you’ll see that it’s my walking buddy!

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Out With the Old…

Recently, whenever I see friends around town, they have been asking me when I plan to do another post. Well – here’s your answer: now!

There are two reasons that I’ve decided to wait a while before posting again. The first is that I was in a bit of a holding pattern, waiting for my current contract to finish and waiting to leave my old apartment. The second, and most important, reason I’ve been waiting is because I’m painfully, hopelessly lazy.

Fortunately for you, the stars have aligned and I woke up this morning with the will to write. I am living in a new apartment, enjoying the company of two new roommates and preparing to begin my new contract tomorrow. As I write this post, I’m sitting in my office at Dalseo High School for the last time. At 8:30 tomorrow morning, I will start a new year at Shinseo Elementary School.

When I woke up this morning in my new apartment, I was struck by the effect that a new living arrangement can have on your life. We have only lived in the new apartment for about three days, but the differences are already having an impact on my day-to-day life. I feel less like a college kid and more like a real adult again. Since my new bedroom is almost exactly the same size as my old apartment (seriously…I measured), I don’t feel cramped. I have a full size refrigerator and a kitchen in which it is possible to cook. I’ll post some pictures as soon as we get the place looking presentable.

I’ll also make an effort to spend more time writing posts as I get settled into the new school. I have a feeling that the funny stories won’t dry up simply because people can speak English at the new school. With any luck, there will be plenty to share.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Erection Day

Most people in Korea had the day off yesterday for election day.  This includes most teachers, so I went downtown with a couple of friends to do a bit of Christmas shopping and try some new food.  The shopping was a bust because it was insanely busy in all of the stores, but the food was excellent and we had a great time.

The original plan was to find a restaurant that served live octopus, called san-nak-ji (산낙지), but that didn’t work out.  Most of the family owned restaurants were closed because of the election, so we had to find something different to eat.  Fortunately, Adam (USA) knew of a Japanese restaurant that is tucked away in a quiet alleyway near the center of downtown Daegu.

The owner is an old Japanese man.  The restaurant looks and feels totally Japanese (in my uninformed opinion).  The table was set with wooden chopsticks (instead of Korean metal chopsticks) and all of the dishes looked quite different from Korean dishes.

Japanese Food 2

Japanese Food 3

Japanese Food 1

The bottom picture is a bowl of Katsudon (カツ丼), a Japanese dish that is popular in Korea.  Katsudon consists of rice, vegetables, meat (usually chicken or pork) and cheese.  It is one of my favorite dishes now.  The one pictured above was the best I’ve had yet.

We spent the rest of the day searching, unsuccessfully, for Christmas presents.  Every store and shopping center downtown was absolutely packed with people who had the day off for the election.  Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Watch Your Ass, Column!

Drunk people love riding on the subway in Korea.  After 5pm,  you are guaranteed to see at least one old drunk guy (though they generally travel in groups) on the metro.  If you are white, you can rest assured that, at least once a week, one will engage you.  They especially love Americans, which isn’t so great for me.

Old Korean men (even the sober ones) have zero respect for personal space – which is slightly less than most Koreans.  What is usually a tolerable cultural difference between younger people becomes incredibly annoying when old people are involved.  Old people usually have no problem grabbing you to get your attention or holding your arm/hand when they talk to you.  That means that a subway train is the perfect place for drunk guys to corner you and talk at you in Konglish.  Occasionally, they are so annoying that I have to get off a the wrong stop and wait for the next train.

Last weekend, my friend Adam (USA) and I saw the best drunk guy yet.  Though he wasn’t old, he put on a better show than most of the old guys I’ve seen.  While waiting for a train at the busiest station in Daegu, he put on an epic martial arts demonstration.  For about five minutes, he argued and fought a huge column in the subway terminal.  I pretended that I was texting and caught some of it on video.

We tried to distance ourselves from him when the train arrived, but somehow he ended up right next to us.  Since there wasn’t enough room in the train for the man to keep fighting, he decided to do pull-ups on the hand-rails mounted above the seats.  He managed to piss off everyone in our section of the subway car, nearly falling into several people’s’ laps.

Now that I have a cell phone app that lets me take pictures and videos silently, I’ll try to get more videos and pictures of subway drunks to share with you.

Until next time.

-Taft

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