Having been in Korea almost two months, I've noticed a couple things about the flow of traffic and pedestrians. I'm not new to a fast-paced city, so it's not a culture shock thing for me. But there are other things that are new to me.
When I was researching about Korea before coming here, I read some things about Koreans being rude and pushing you at the metro and such. I wouldn't call it rude actually; like in many any other countries, people are simply on the move to get to their destination and if they are using public transportation, then they will walk as fast as they can to catch the next bus/metro. So of course, if there is a tourist who does not know the flow of pedestrians in such settings, then yes, there will be pushing! Like I said, I don't mind this, I actually like the fast-paced flow hehehe.
But anyways, I don't live in a big city, which is where you usually see this; Pohang's population is about half a million and we do not have a metro system. Yet people here seem to have the same I'm-in-a-rush-move-out-of-the-way kind of flow. I wasn't expecting this because in SD/Chula Vista, people are not like this at all so I was not expecting this in a small city like Pohang.
I also noticed something else, taxis hang around bus stops. Now, why would they do this? Are bus stops also the queue for taxis? Well, not necessarily. The other day I was at a bus stop and there were 2 other ladies. At this bus stop, like in many others, there was a screen that tells you how long it'll be until the next bus. All the buses were listed to be there in less than 5 minutes, but one of the ladies got up and grabbed a taxi. And that's when it clicked, taxis hang around bus stops in case someone cannot wait 2-3 minutes for the next bus. Impatient much?
Moreover, motorists (be it cars, buses, mopeds/scooters, etc.) are always in a rush. Mopeds/scooters make deliveries, so yes, they drive super fast. A co-worker actually told me that since they are delivering, they HAVE to drive fast, that that is just the way it is...and she added, "That's one of the great things about Korea, fast deliveries".
If only in America deliveries were as fast as in Korea. You can have your pizza in 20mins, NO delays. There are no delays even to the point that there is no such thing as "if not delivered in 30mins, it's free." When ordering something from the internet, things are delivered in 3 days if shipped from Seoul, or under 3 if shipped from somewhere closer. You will even get the delivery man's phone name and number so that you can contact them in case they are late.
A coworker told me that it's because they want to deliver whatever they have as soon as possible. Now in this sense, I don't know what is better, to have crazy drivers on the street but get deliveries super fast, or careful drivers and get my deliveries "whenever"?
People on normal cars drive fast too, I guess they are just in a rush. Also, if you tell a taxi driver to go fast, trust me, they'll listen....and ALL of them run red lights...I see it all the time. I think the only ones who don't run red lights are buses. So yes, traffic lights are mere suggestions here hahaha. This means I really have to remember to look both ways before crossing a street, even if I have the green light to walk across.
All this leads me to think that Korea is also a fast-paced country. I say "also" because motorists in my hometown Tijuana are like this hahaha...and in Italy too. So it's not something new to me, Korea just adds a few things: they run red lights all the time and taxis hang around bus stops for those who can't wait.
Yay let the weekend begin!!!
Tomorrow we have a pre-Thanksgiving potluck with lots of yummy food, yay!!! Can't wait!
PS: Today my English classes were canceled, so I had finally had the chance to make a collage of pictures for my work computer's desktop =)