Friday, August 21, 2009

Apartment Hunt

Today I finally ended my two month stay at the wonderful company dormitory. I figured it was worth spending a little bit more money I don't really have to enjoy my last (or is it?) weekend in Korea. Since I had an 11am appointment to tour some apartments in Gangnam, I got up early to check out and haul my gigantic bag to the subway for an hour long ride.

Not wanting to haul my bags around all day, I figured I'd find a motel before the meeting and drop them off. Unfortunately, the Orbitz website lied to me about the existance of a reasonably priced Best Western, leaving me lugging my heavy bags around an apparently hotel-less area near Gangnam with only 30 minutes until my appointment. I flagged down a cab and am eventually able to explain that I want to go to a hotel and I don't really care which one. I figure between his cabby-experience and his GPS this will be a simple enough request.

After what seems to be some aimless driving around, the cabby points at a place called Mul Hotel and asks if that works. Not really caring what the place is, I say sure. Black fringe so you can't see in the parking lot? check. Little wooden signs for blocking your license plate once your in the lot? check. Dark reception area w/ a tiny window so the hotel clerk can't really look at you? check. Condoms in the bathroom kit? Yup. It's a high end love hotel.

It's a bit pricey, but whatever. The room has a jacuzzi and a "Digital Control for Skin Care" box. So that's nice. And they let me check in at 10.30. All in all, a win. I drop my bags and head to meet the realtor people.

The apartment tour was arranged by the company. I received a call from someone asking if I spoke Korean and instructing me to meet my translator, Mr. Han, at Gagnam station 11am Saturday.

The first apartment is alright. A pretty basic studio place on the 18th floor. Nice view, good location. Seems a little dirty. Which I find odd. When I look in the sink to see if there's a disposal they guess that I'm judging the dirtiness and inform me that this is just a sample room and that the one I'd actually get is 1 floor above and would be professionally cleaned before I moved in. This doesn't really bother me, it just seems like you'd keep the demo room looking nice. Guess that's not how they roll in Korea.

They ask if I want to see other places. I say yes. Mr. Han, Realtor-lady and I head to the parking garage where Mr. Han's car is. Except he doesn't remember where it is. So after stops on the 2nd and 3rd level and several phone calls (it seems like he's asking where the car is? maybe it's not his, the whole thing's weird) we finally find his car on the 4th level. And proceed to drive like 2 blocks to the next place.

At the second place, we meet the additional realtor-lady for that buidling and head to the 15th floor. Here, they can't get the door open. Apparently this apartment is currently occupied and the occupant changed the door combination. The first realtor-lady apologizes and says that this apartment wouldn't be available in time anyway. So I don't know why we went there, but whatever.

The third place has a couple currently living in it. I get to take off my shoes and awkwardly look around. The place is nice though. That ends our tour of apartments. So now I'm back at the love hotel. It has a computer with free internet, making the love hotel a far better choice than expensive hotels in America.

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