Phone Technology in the Korean boonies

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As posted already, I took a trip to Kangwon Land this most recent (2007) Chuseok holiday. Getting to the actual resort area was a challenge and one of the cities I landed in before landing in the final destination was a city named Cheoram (철암). The Korail station attendants in Busan’s main station told me this was the best place to get off before taking another form of transportation (taxi or bus) to Kangwon Land. As written earlier, it was in the middle of podunk Korea. The buildings were as run down as I’ve seen in Korea’s worst shanty towns .

On the way back home, I of course stopped by Cheoram to get back on the train back down south. However, this time it was daylight and I could see how run down the city was and how desolate it really was more clearly. I looked for a restaurant because I was starving starving, but since it was Chuseok, nothing was open. So, I settled for the convenience store, if you can call it that, across from the station. The building was just as run down as the buildings next to it & it smelled pretty bad when walking in. I grabbed some ramyun and dared to ask for some boiled water from the owner who I had to yell for a few times to get him to come back in and tend to me and another set of customers.

I wasn’t sure about what sort of water he would boil for me, but fortunately, I didn’t get indigestion until much later. It would of killed me if it would of affected me soon after eating it. The 5 hour train ride was only painful on the last 1 hour leg. Anyway, getting back to the shack of a convenience store. Since the guy was so friendly despite his place being dangerous to most peoples’ health, I ended up eating the ramyun in his store while waiting for my train. Half way through the bowl, I hear this sound like an old 2400 baud modem used to dial up Prodigy and wondered where the noise was coming from.

I turn back and see the owner sitting on his bed (which happened to be behind the cash register) with headphones on his head dialing up a friend or relative via some Skype like VOIP service. I did a double take and realized “oh my gosh, this guy is savvier than most modern day folks who think themselves as savvy. Frankly, I know I’m relatively “up with it” with the most recent websites and regularly inform my friends and coworkers about the latest websites that add to their lives. However, I failed to really accept VOIP until about a month ago when we had to call more candidates abroad and I found you can do it for free on several services. The services even let you have the companies that sponsor them call you via a land line letting you talk as if you just called someone over your regular phone.

However, this guy in this shack of a store in this podunk town is more “in touch” with technology than me.

Two thoughts: 1) it just goes to show never underestimate anyone including people in far off remote areas or 2) Korea is simply the most connected and relatively savviest folks on the earth in terms (of at least telecommunications) technology.

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Filed under Humorous, Interesting..., Korea life

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