Sunday, October 29, 2006


We headed off to find Tesco Home Plus yesterday in order to scout out some cheap food from what is our regular UK supermarket. This involved my second bus journey since arriving in Korea. I've already concluded that the notion of Health & Safety legislation is not one which has particularly troubled lawmakers here, so I wasn't entirely surprised when a bus with about twenty five seats filled up with around sixty people, most of whom were reduced to standing two abreast in the isle.

The bus, unlike our first, seemed old and it appeared to be designed, for no logical reason, with the kind of suspension which rolled the cabin around alarmingly. Our driver had clearly missed his calling, because his style of driving was the binary full brake/full accelerator combination which I've come to associate with almost all taxi drivers here. Added to this is the new realisation that Korean roads are even worse than British ones and the main eight-lane highway we travelled part of the way on undulated in somewhat improbable and alarming ways while traffic weaved in and out of the lanes in a way reminiscent of the start of a Formula One race.

By the time we reached our stop, my wrist muscles had received a full workout from clinging to the cords hanging from the ceiling while simultaneously trying to prevent myself from inadvertently sexually harassing any of the female passengers standing in close proximity, and I wouldn't be surprised if I had a couple of bruises on my back from confrontations with some of the internal steelwork.

In the UK, people usually say thank you to the driver when getting off the bus in an orderly fashion. When we stopped it was more like the bus was evacuated in a glad-to-be-alive sort of way, and I don't think the driver was thanked at all.

We came back from Tesco Home Plus by taxi, but frankly, it's hard to say which was the more frightening experience.

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