The Good, The Bad… and THE UGLY

Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one. Basically I am going to compare 3 things, as the title suggests they are going to be the good, the bad and the ugly. First…

The GOOD: Health care here in Korea is awesome! Unlike the confusing insurance fraud mess of America Korea is a streamlined painless process. Each specialist has their own office and right below the office is a pharmacy that specializes in that doctors field. So when you have a cold you walk up to the ENT office and give them your name, the nurse calls you and the doctor sees you give you a prescription and off you go. It costs around $4 to see the doctor (yes, you read correctly… FOUR GOD DAMN DOLLARS). Then you walk downstairs to the pharmacist and he gives you pills in individual tear off baggies for however many days you need to take the pills. They aren’t marked and very generic but who cares, when you are sick does it really matter? The only thing that is important is that the person giving you random pills is wearing a long white coat for some reason. Long white coat? Check. Here is your $5 and off you go (again… you read correctly FIVE GOD DAMN DOLLARS).

Now onto the Bad: the post office. The folks working at the post office are nice enough. The bad part is the delivery. I think they just hire homeless people or like drunks they find the night before to deliver the mail. Often they just leave the letters and bills on the step outside my apartment. I have seen letters blowing down the street. I have everything delivered to the school because they seem to go inside to set the letters on the floor or whatever. I have usually gotten most of my mail but still it is really not up to the level it should be. I was always very critical of the service of the US Post Office, I will be a little more forgiving of them after this year.

Last but certainly not least… the UGLY: The bathroom situation in Korea is brutal.  I can’t really describe it, it is often a horrid scary affair that leaves a person emotionally scarred. First it might be a trough style toilet that you are expected to hover over or a more common western style toilet. The toilet may or may not have a bidet seat and it may or may not have toilet paper. They almost always have a holder for where toilet paper would go but I have never seen any paper there. Usually there is a bigger toilet paper dispenser placed conveniently outside the stalls on the wall but that is generally empty as well. After you finish your business you can be assured that if the water is working in the nearby sink it is cold only and there won’t be any soap. After you “wash” your hands with freezing cold water don’t bother looking for paper towels cause there won’t be any that is what pants are for. Usually they have a broken or semi-broken air dryer for show. As there is no air conditioner or heater your time spent there will be either freezing in the winter or broiling in the summer. Generally speaking if you can avoid using a bathroom outside of your apartment that is the best policy.

Long story short… Come here for the medicine, if you have to mail something good luck and if you can hold it until you get home that would be best.


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