Monday, August 23, 2010

Cars in Seoul

Cars in Seoul. I don't get it. There is always traffic, there is so much pollution... and yet, they have the BEST subway system. there are literally hundreds of subway stops throughout the city and surrounding suburbs! Apparently there is a bit of a car culture here. Everyone has one, and they are all jamming them into the smallest parking spaces.

The actual street
I even saw my first car elevator! You know, that ferris wheel for cars to get stacked vertically? It was AWESOME (and at the hospital where I got my registration card sorted out... I'll be getting my card it in 10 days or so!!!)

I have learned a couple funny things about the car system here. The first lesson I learned while climbing an impossibly steep hill heading to a friends apartment. The streets leading up the hill to the apartment are super narrow (about the width of a car and a half) and steep (the cement is scored so that you can get a better grip while walking up).  Yet cards are parallel parked all along the way up and down it. So I wondered : How do cars pass up and down when they arrive or need to leave?

Turns out every car has a sticker on its windshield with the phone number of the owner. If you need to get by, you call them on your cell phone and they come out and move it. That would suck for the person at the top of the hill trying to get down!

Not the actual parking lot
The next weird car thing regards underground parking. I was in a car with my boss (for registration card) and she went to park underground. Trouble is, the lot was full. I noticed right away that cars has parked perpendicular to the cars in parking spots. Again, I had to ask her: What do the cars in the parking spots do if that have to get out?

She told me that they leave their cars in neutral when they park in the aisle- if a car needs to get out, it is their job to push the other cars out of the way. I immediately pictured one of those tiny old Korean ladies pushing 3 sedans out of the way to get her car out. Strange.

And still, everyone here has their car in a city that doesn't seem ready for the volume. Subway works fine for me~!

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