everyone here is gay

A couple things I’ve been meaning to mention about South Korea…

While it’s relatively rare to see public displays of affection between men and women here, it’s quite common to see women holding hands with other women and men with their arms around other men (occasionally even holding hands, as well). Coming from a country where this sort of behavior is considered to be “gay,” it’s a fairly strange thing to witness on a daily basis. I also find it refreshing, though, to be in a place where people aren’t considering the notion of appearing “gay” to other people. One could attribute this to the fact that homosexuality is still far from being widely accepted here, so the concept of appearing “gay” is completely foreign to most Koreans, but I doubt that this same-sex affection would stop were homosexuality ever to come out in the open. Or, perhaps, everyone here is gay. The only firsthand experience I have with this “Korea affection” is with some of my male students, haphazardly petting my hand or arm as I try to teach them the meaning of “take a dump.”

Ninety-nine percent of the cars on Korean roads are made in Korea, which means that the only makes you almost ever see are KIA, Daewoo, and Hyundai. Apparently there is a steep import tax on foreign made cars and products, and Korean-made cars are fairly cheap to buy and easy to get fixed. The concept of a “beater” is also nonexistent here — I rarely see a car with any sort of visible bodily defect, let alone one that is more than five years old. It took me a while to notice this phenomenon, but once I did I couldn’t stop noticing it — the last time I saw rust on a car was on my old Honda Accord back in America. New and nice-looking things are big in South Korea.

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