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Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Serenaded by a Korean Taxi Driver

When deciding how to get home from Costco (it's one of our...err, my favorite destinations) we have two options. Lugging our groceries to the bus stop to take an 800w ($0.80 each) bus ride or opt for a 3500w ($3.50) taxi ride that involves no walking whatsoever. It's a lot easier to just dump our groceries into the trunk of a taxi outside of Costco and head home. It's our preferred choice to transportation.

Now, you will run into a vast array of taxi drivers in Seoul. You'll run into the taxi drivers who do not speak a word of English and will not understand a word of what you are saying, even if you're trying hard to pronounce your destination in Korean. If you're off by one small tone he will just look at you funny and even refuse your fare. Then you have others, who do know some English and will get you to your destination in a flash. Last but not least, you'll have some that love to chat in both English and Korean, and will serenade you in the taxi "norebang" style. Wait a minute, did I say serenade? Yes I did. That was the case with this guy who sang to us all the way home. I think he should have concentrated on where he was going because he ended up taking a longer route (directions according to his GPS) and it was double the fare!

I can't remember what we were talking about when started singing to us. At first he was telling us how he was previously a crane operator, with excursions to Italy and Canada in the past. Next thing you know, the dude's belting a sweet, sweet tune (does anyone know what this is?):


I think this is the Korean National Anthem...someone confirm this for me. It was a taxi ride that we will never forget. Once it was time to pay the fare, he wanted me to give him a 700w tip...I agreed. Since he was willing to sing with my camera in his face (while driving!):

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14 comments:

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

That iss brilliant - especially the part where your camera focuses on the meter ticking-away. Hilarity! Sounds like you're speaking some pretty decent Korean now.

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

Hey, GDog! Thanks for writing back. I would love to send an email, though I'm still quite new to this whole Blog thing and I can't seem to find your email. Perhaps you could drop me a line at georgelassosthemoon@hotmail.com
I would love to read-up on your school - from what I've read about it on your site, it sounds like a pretty cool place. If you don't mind sending the website my way, I would greatly appreciate it. I've really enjoyed your blog so far - it's getting Steph and I excited to go. Oh, yeah - we are planning on going in September.

Sue said...

wow! This catchy tune is one of the soundtrack in my fav Korean movie "Please Teach Me English". I dug out the soundtrack and found the song title. '사랑의 이름표'(Love's Nametag) if my translation is correct. ^^ A version of the song can be found here. http://seolleim.net/tt/index.php?pl=351 From the lyrics, looks like a classic love song. ^^

(sorry of i made any double posting, my browser is weird.)

ak said...

not to be a killjoy, but why did he demand a tip? tips, even though we would like to give them based on our Western upbringing, are a no-go in Korea, and in most cases, bring embarrassment to the recipient. i wish tips were abolished back home, because the service is far better in korea without tips than in canada WITH tips, wouldnt you agree?^^

mark said...

Yeah, that's the national anthem in the second video:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegukga

Anonymous said...

indeed, this is the korean national anthem!

Gdog said...

sue: ahh...very interesting, thanks for the insight. HE had so much fun singing that song!

ak: I don't know why he demanded a tip, I was supposed to expect 700w back. Yeah, the non tipping here is great and the service is awesome, way better than Canada as you mentioned. I was ready to leave so I just said whatever!

Mark & Anon: Thanks for the tip!

Ipsofacto said...

Note to self: must buy a camera. I've missed so many golden moments in Korea....

tahseen said...

Wow, do all taxi drivers in Korea wear suits and ties? How professional!

skdragon said...

My goodness, I don't mind giving tips in a country that doesn't expect it (except from Americans, or those that look like it). Daejons the worst I've seen for it, at least you get a fare discount by using your credit card in Incheon (and they an't ask for a tip). However, if I had to listen to that singing I'd want him to be paying me!!!

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Korea, my Korean husband always left a small tip. Even though tipping is not required it is appreciated. Just one dollar can make you feel good.

Rachyl said...

Dude.... those taxi drivers in Seoul are scary at night!!!! When I was there for the WPF last year, I almost DIED!!! many times by the taxi or bus drivers!!! Okay... I'm over doing it but I'm from So-Cali and if their driving scares me then.... well... I don't know (O_o)

♥ 새빈 said...

lmao so funny
cool, taxi drivers wear suits?

Dave said...

Some Taxi drivers will take the longer route and sometimes act as if they are lost so they can charge you more money. Do they still have the black taxi's that cost a bit more than the average taxi?

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