Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two Bathrooms and a Heating Pad

The last two weekends have been spent out of Seoul. Last weekend in Gwangju, and this expiring weekend in Busan. These trips from Cosmopolitown have not been without incident. In Gwangju we met the L family, and the father is a traditional older Korean. This means, to my unrestrained joy, I get to drink a lot when we visit him.

While down in Gwangju, we stayed at a Love Motel/Yeogwan and these things are always kind of interesting. In this case the interest came late at night as our drinking session required me to use the bathroom. Yeogwan’s tend to have similar layouts (as illustrated in my MS-Paint quality graphic below), you walk into a very small entrance vestibule where you can take of your shoes. It normally has a door directly in front of you, which goes to the sleeping area, and a door to the left of you (sometimes right) that goes to the bathroom. Typically the light in the vestibule is movement activated, so when you pass through it, it snaps on.

This Yeogwan was no different, so when I walked through the vestibule, the light snapped on and illuminated the bathroom. I stepped in and peed, the light going off as I did so.

No big deal, I’ve learned to pee in the dark.

Upon conclusion, I dropped the toilet-seat back down, and pulled the handle to flush the toilet.

The handle, that is, to the bidet function.

So, instead of flushing the toilet, I got sprayed in the lower torso with a stream of warm bidet-water.

In my drunken state, I thought the toilet was taking its revenge by peeing back at me.

I dried myself off with a towel, identified the actual flushing mechanism, and staggered back to bed.

This weekend, it was the OAF’s turn to lose the war(s) with technology. Our ‘normal’ yeogwan in Busan was full, so we went to one around the corner. It was very nice, but I don’t think we will be allowed back.

The bed had an electric blanket and of course the OAF turned it on. The blanket is underneath the mattress pad (a sort of simulation of Ondol heating on a bed) and whatever lays upon it, gets very warm (again like Ondol heating). At about 2 am this morning, the OAF rolled over onto a spot that had been covered by a pillow or something. Like a frog, the slow heating of her body had not bothered her, but this was apparently different. I awoke (as I imagine our neighbors did), at about 3 in the morning , to the sound of the OAF hysterically screaming, “Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot!”

I hope anyone listening thought I was driving her mad with my skills in the Marital Arts, but I imagine that they thought more about criminal activity.

I pulled the plug on the blanket, and all was well until morning.

In the morning, I visited to my old nemesis, the yeogwan bathroom.

I suppose there is no delicate way to say this, but the OAF has a lower bowel in which it is still possible to believe Jimmy Hoffa’s corpse could be found. This has been a problem at several places we have lived, and apparently one of Jimmy’s arms had come loose in the night.

The toilet was clogged.

For those of you who haven’t lived in Korea, Koreans have a mystical belief (akin to their belief in fan death) that toilet paper is a very bad thing, and thus should be tossed out, once removed from the buttockal region, into a waste-basket. This is one of the reasons that some Korean toilets smell so… unusual.

The OAF has certainly re-inforced this belief in at least the one ajumma who runs this yeogwan in Busan (although the fact that the toilet paper was in fact still floating around was the initial evidence that the thing was clogged, and should expunge any rumor of guilt from attaching to it's papery name).

We snuck out early, partly to avoid the shame, and partly so that I could go to the bathroom.

This eventually led us to a bookstore in Busan that was far better than any I have found in Seoul…

But the train is approaching Seoul as I type, and maybe that needs to be a post for later.


Anonymous said...

Well that was a crappy story. Nothing in it about plants at ALL!

rwellor said...

Plants are coming... hold your.... uh..

horse chestnuts!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Greg showed me this yesterday and it brought to mind this post of yourn. Check it out, dude: