Friday, 4 July 2014

Phones, Internet, and a New Friend?

So, as I said in my last post, WE GOT PHONES! Woo~

It's so nice to be able to take photos and message people and read news on the go again. We went to the KT Olleh Global store in Jongno, Seoul, and had a lovely person take us through the whole process of getting our phones set up.

I got an LG G3, which is exciting, because I've never had a NEW phone before. That is, new as in newly released, not "not preowned". Nick got an iPhone 5s in the coveted CHAMPAGNE colour, and we also booked in for 100mbps wifi in our officetel. All together it cost us around £100, which for two brand new phones and incredible internet, as well as great walkthrough service, is great in my opinion.

Can I just take a moment to express just how huge this phone is compared to my old one?

1p for scale due to lack of bananas

The service in the Olleh shop was great, everyone was full of smiles and friendly demeanor, and our sales assistant (for want of a better word) was very patient with all of our questions and any confusion or hesitation. She even gave us free phone cases and her business card so that if we run into any problems we can contact her directly rather than floundering in the Korean customer service lines.

We had to take her up on her offer at one point and she just called them on our behalf. She went through all the paperwork for our contracts and explained everything. Overall we're pretty impressed with the service and once again can't understand the bad reviews we've seen (although this time they were fairly few and far between).

The impressive thing about getting a phone in Korea is the speed of it. Once we'd picked out our phones (which, for me, consisted of me saying I wanted a good camera on it and her providing me with a range of phones for me to try out to my heart's content until I was happy with one) she sat us down at a table and helped us fill in some forms.

Side note: This was a bit difficult because they were designed for Korean names which, thanks to their excellent writing system, can take up the same space at about 3 or 4 English characters. My full name (which had to be as featured on my passport, so my FULL name) is 26 characters long if you count the spaces. It really doesn't fit, hahaha.

Speaking of speeds, here's our internet:

and here's my phone:

Anyway, after that, she said she'd get started on activating our phones.
"So, I'm sorry, but it'll take about t-"
*oh, she's going to say two to three days, isn't she*
"-wenty or thirty minutes. Is that okay?"

We literally started laughing. At home I'm pretty sure it takes at least a day to get a new phone and contract going, if not longer? She sounded so apologetic and here we were thinking it was incredible. She directed us to a bar full of hot and cold drinks, showed me how to use everything and told us to help ourselves while we waited. There was even a charging table for our old phones if we wanted!

Finally, they (her and a colleague who I think was brought in because he could give us a discount, and to speed up the process) brought out our phones, put screen protectors on for us, and gave us a little tutorial on all the features. It was the most detailed and in-depth service I have ever experienced, I'm so happy!

Anyway, I'm going on quite a bit and I don't have any proper photos so this is boring, so I'll speed ahead to the fun part where we made a new friend.

Seeing as we were in Jongno and near all the apparently-great food of Insadong, we thought we'd grab some dinner before going home. As we walked down a nice shopping street, we were called over by a group of vendors, all lit up in bright white lights and seemingly coated in flour.

"Hey! Hey! English?"
"Ah good, come look!"

Here's a video of the sort of thing we saw, because I don't think writing can really do it justice.

It's called kkultarae, and it's made from honey. Somehow. Witchcraft, I suspect.

Anyway, the stall we were at had 2 or 3 very excitable young men all eager to show us the process, and one on the end with great English chatted to us while telling us to wait for the cycle to start again so we could watch properly.

He was very excited when he found out we were from England, and professed his love for Doctor Who and Harry Potter. A good start to say the least. Telling us his favourite Doctor was Tennant, and showing us his incredible Snape impression was the winning strike, though.

He told us he was excited to practice his English and, somehow, we started chatting about drinks. He said he wanted to become friends, so we exchanged Kakao IDs and that's how we gained a Korean drinking buddy. Hahah. He said he doesn't have an English name yet, so he gave us the honour of naming him. Eek.

We're still thinking about it. At the minute I've got a list consisting of James, Alex, or Henry. Nick wants something a bit more "exotic". Is this what it's like naming your children? So difficult? What would you name your new Korean friend, haha?

Update: As of July 4th 2014 our friend 정현 is now also known as Nathan.

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