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.

"Toast?"

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.

2 comments:

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!