A Touch of Heaven
I recently went home to the UK for a Christmas break. I live in a rather attractive village on the south coast with a reputable university and a medium-sized town 3 miles away. I’m not the type of character to bore easily as I always have things to do which is just as well as I find British culture exceedingly boring. Unless you live in one of the major cities there is often little to do in the UK and pubs and restaurants are fairly expensive. For 2 pints of beer you can expect to pay around 12.000W and a fairly average meal will coast you 40.000W, minimum. In the last year in which I lived in the UK, I probably went out in an evening on only a few occasions. In the UK, high prices, poor transport networks, expensive taxis, violence and lack of amenities, are all barriers to stepping outside your front door. I have lived in places in Korea where isolation and boredom were a problem and my sole point is simply that my present location in Daegu, provides a very comfortable lifestyle.
So,,in the particular area of Daegu in which I live, I am totally spoilt. The parameters of my world extend approximately 600 paces in 3 directions and approx 1000 in another. Everything I need is contained within this space. I can comfortably walk 100 paces in a minute. Before any blog-bullies assault my calculations as inaccurate, they are only estimations. If I leave my apartment on my trip to my favourite sports complex, I pass the following facilities:
47 paces, 25 seconds – Kimchi jjim restaurant
65 paces, 35 seconds – a bar
75 paces, 40 seconds – a barbecue restaurant
106 paces, 1 minutes 5 secs – a 24 hour store
146 paces, 1 minutes 25 secs – chemist
247 – paces, 2 minutes 25 secs – a tailor and dry cleaner
250 paces, 2 minutes 30 secs – a bakery
324 paces, 3 minutes 25 secs – a 24 hour kimbap restaurant
348 paces, 3 minutes 30 secs – a dentist
390 paces, 3 minutes 55 secs – my school
433 paces, 4 minutes 20 secs – 24 hour restaurant
450 paces, 4 mins 30 secs – my doctors
520 paces, 5 mins 12 secs – E-mart supermarket
601 paces, 6 minutes – my sports complex, containing a bathhouse and jjimjilbang. In the interim I have passed 4 different and luxurious coffee houses, a small hospital, numerous doctors, singing rooms, bars, internet cafes and dentists as well as around 15 different private academies.
On a Monday:
150 paces, 1 min 30 secs takes me to an extensive street market.
In another direction:
60 paces, 30 secs – a barbecue restaurant.
72 paces, 31 secs – a fish restaurant.
110 paces, 1 minute 6 secs – a computer repair shop
302 paces, 3 minutes (plus the lift) – a 24 hour jjimjilbang and gym.
330 paces – 3 minutes 20 secs – my bank
380 paces, 3 minutes 40 secs ( plus the lift) – a multi complex cinema, seafood buffet restaurant and a large pizza restaurant.
890 paces, 8 mins 55 secs – underground railway system.
And approx 1000 paces, 10 minutes, in the opposite direction takes me to the local swimming pool besides which lays the tranquility of the mountains.
Many of the amenities I am pampered with here I would not experience even in the major cities of the UK. If 24 hour restaurants or food delivery services exist they are very rare and I have never seen a MacDonald’s 24 hour home delivery service. Apart from the odd spa amenity, difficult to access, expensive and basic by comparison, jjimjilbangs and bathhouses are all unheard of in the UK. Likewise, singing rooms, where families, friends and children can go, do not exist and neither do decent internet cafes. Britain’s main pastime is premised around boozing and watching TV which is ironic considering British people, as most westerners, have significantly more free time than do Koreans.
However, I still miss a good indian curry, a decent pizza and Cantonese style Chinese food and roast potatoes make me drool excessively.