Sunday, April 2, 2006

Off Roading, Korean-style

When exiting our apartment building, we must first carefully look left and right before stepping out, to ensure we are not overrun by a rogue motorbike hastily zipping along the sidewalk delivering "TastyNoodles" or KyonChon fried chicken or any number of other things.

Apparently, their deliveries are so important, the drivers will stop at nothing to reach their final destination, constantly risking life and limb to deliver their goods on time. There are also motorbikes used for private transportation. Not a one is subject to the normal "rules" of the Korean road. They fly along at high speeds, up and down sidewalks as they weave skillfully through the pedestrians, up the wrong side of the road, through red lights, and even over pedestrian walkways built overtop of busy roads. Occasionally, we see a motorbike with a group of three teenagers (all without helmets, of course) zigzagging through red lights at busy intersections. It's a miracle I haven't seen any chalk outlines on the roads yet.

On Friday and Saturday nights (and most other nights as well), it is usual to hear commotion from the street below as the drunken men topple out of the bars and into their cars. One evening, Matt saw a group of men, severely inebriated, accost a driver of a motorbike. One of the men pushed him to the ground, boarded the bike, and proceeded to swerve off into the night. Several seconds later, there was a mild crash as his ride came to an abrupt halt. He hadn't had the time to build up much speed, fortunately, and it sounded as though he had simply wiped out, hitting the ground instead of another car/lamp post/person... pedestrians always have to be on the lookout here!

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