Thursday, July 19, 2007

Parking - Korean Style

I thought this rainy day I would talk about parking. If you are from the States, you may wonder what there would be to talk about. Koreans seem to LOVE to back into parking spaces. Every parking ramp I have been to so far confirms this. Not only do they back into the spaces, the spaces are soooo narrow that it really takes some talent and sometimes a lot of manuervering to accomplish it. If you are taking too long, you will be beeped at.

Last weekend, hubby and I went to the Home Plus which is close to our apartment. It is a multi-level shopping complex kinda like a Target Greatland. You can grocery shop and also pick up a TV if you need to. We pulled into a tight parking spot and no, hubby did not back into the spot. He thought we would be fine since he chose a spot that had a wall across from it. We did our shopping only to return to find that cars had parked up against that wall. Oh no! Curt spent five or more minutes maneuvering the car back and forth as he swore up a storm. Meanwhile, a line of cars formed with the lead car doing most of the honking at us. Hubby did want me to get out of the car and help navigate but to be honest, I really was too embarrassed to move. He finally did it and we were able to leave. He talked to co-workers the following Monday and found out that when people park "illegally," they leave their cars in neutral so you can push them out of the way. We would have had to PUSH four cars out of the way to get ours out.

We have a rental car to use for our stay over here and Curt likes to drive it once a week to learn the way. Right now, there is a shuttle that goes from the hotel to work which is about 25 miles away. He has drove to work several times now. Yesterday, he decided to back in although no one does at the plant parking lot. He was notified a few hours later that the security guard was really upset he parked that way so he went out and turned the car around. He asked why they pull into the spots when everywhere else they back in. The response was that there are trees lining the parking lot and the car exhaust isn't good for the trees. That's Korea!

Also, you will find in just about all the smaller parking lots I've been to, an older Korean man who not only watches you back in to make sure you don't hit another car but also helps you navigate. He always seems to pop out to watch you when you leave too. Our car, like most, has a warning system that starts to beep when you are getting to close to an object. It does beep a lot when Curt is trying to park. Hmmmm.

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