Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fun with Taxi Drivers

Yesterday (Monday), I took Jasper back to the vet to get his first round of vaccinations and to get another check-up. The vet said his health is better, but the ear mites are still a problem that needs to be dealt with. So, on Thursday we'll be starting a three-week round of treatment that will eradicate them. Then there will be more vaccines, and in about three months, neutering. I'm glad I'm in Korea, where vets are so much cheaper.

On the way to the vet, I rode in a taxi with a very cheerful driver. He chattered away to me in Korean, half of which I somehow understood, and even sang as we drove along! When we got to the vet's office, the driver enjoyed a good laugh about the fate awaiting Jasper. Clearly, this was one of the drivers who gets a kick out of foreigners.

On the way back from the vet, I wasn't so fortunate. The driver appeared to be a nice old man at first. I told him to take me to Hi-Mart, since there's no way I can direct a driver to my house (they don't name roads in Korea, so addresses seem pretty pointless). When we got near Hi-Mart, I directed him to drop me off just before the store, like I always do with drivers. For some reason, this really bothered the driver. He started violently yelling at me in Korean - I actually thought he might hit me! He really wanted to go to Hi-Mart, but I insisted on him stopping, trying to explain that I wasn't going to the store, but to my home. He finally figured out what I meant, but certainly didn't get any friendlier. I paid and got far from that car as quickly as I could!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"