Friday, November 07, 2008

Near International Incident...

...due to sandwich order.

I've been in Korea long enough that basic tasks usually go off without much of a hitch, in spite of the language barrier. Today, however, was a slight deviation from the norm.

On Mondays and Fridays I have a half hour break at 5:30. It's lovely - sometimes I have a desperate need to type up a quiz for those last two classes, but often I can just chill and have a snack. Usually it isn't much, often coffee, but yesterday I had an incredibly lame breakfast/lunch - I had to go to the bank to pick up American money for the jaunt to North Korea on Sunday, plus transfer money, plus pay some bills. It was a lovely banking experience - I work in a KB building, it doesn't seem busy most of the time, due to the location even the greeter dude speaks English, and everyone was incredibly friendly. However, I had a hard time getting out of bed yesterday morning, so there was no time to go and grab anything good to eat.

So, with thirty spare minutes, I decided to mosey on down to Paris Croissant and buy a sandwich and a coffee. Since my favourite sandwich there is the chicken pesto, I figured for once I'd even get it heated. That took a bit of explaining - they are so used to me just grabbing a cold one to go, that I had to use all my Korean skills to try and communicate what I wanted. Turns out that the magic word was an English one.


The cashier tells me (in Korean) that it will be ten minutes, and I reply that it's fine. This is where it gets interesting - once my coffee is made, every single staff member (and there are a lot of them - I haven't a clue how they are all kept busy) is sent over to tell me something fairly long winded in rapid-fire Korean. To say I had no idea what was going on would be putting it mildly.

Finally, they send over a woman who tells me (in these exact words): "Upstairs, relax! Bing! Downstairs, sandwich."

I swear to god I have managed to completely disconcert about ten people because I wasn't waiting for my sandwich in a sitting position! It's not like they needed me out of the way - nobody else was in the shop. They just really, really wanted me to relax already, I guess.

Or maybe there was something else going on entirely. Who knows?

Certainly not me.


By PhoenixStorm said...

Don't rock the boat amanda! Disrupting the flow of the machinery will likely result in a malfunction or fainting spell.

Kay Olson said...

Hee. The Canadian Customer Who Would Not Step Away From The Counter! Geez, Amanda. You and your toast stirring up trouble!