More Culture Vulturin’

Should have stayed home today. I have been sick, and I stayed in all weekend to recover.

Yesterday, I realized that my sore throat might be worse because I haven’t been drinking enough water. And I also realized, it may also be aggravated by the unfiltered tap water I have been drinking at home.

So, I decided to locate and buy a Brita pitcher. Not all supermarkets carry them. My beloved Hanaro Mart doesn’t, Lotte Mart (also awesome, but in a more pretentious, nouveau riche sort of way) doesn’t…

The only supermarket chain I found that supposedly has them is Home Plus. For the record, Home Plus is also awesome. There’s two of them in Gimpo (at least circa 15 years ago, when I lived there) and I went there all the time. The ramen aisle at Home Plus is one of the greatest things I have ever been fortunate enough to experience.

Anyway, I decided yesterday that in spite of needing some recovery sleep, I would make a quick trip to Home Plus and get a Brita pitcher. First I wanted to eat something, and I didn’t want to eat at home, so I took the elevator down to the ground floor and walked around my apartment complex to see what was open.

I walked a hundred yards or so and felt dizzy, so I decided not to go. I got 3 two liter waters before I did, because like I said, I didn’t want to drink any more tap water, because I have heard you shouldn’t. To be clear, I am reasonably sure it’s actually ok to drink it, but filtered water tastes better.

I decided to try Coupang. Coupang is a super-fast, super efficient Korean delivery service that can bring you basically anything, and it’s always there by the next day, sometimes sooner.

While I respect the good people at Coupang and stand in awe of their efficiency, as a visiting foreigner I am personally opposed to the service in a deep and profound (or maybe I should say “shallow and ridiculous”) way, simply because being in a beautiful country like Korea, and furthermore being in (or right outside) an amazing city like Seoul, I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone wouldn’t want to go out exploring every chance they got, especially since people like me are not permanent residents. But I digress.

Long story short, after a lot of phone screenshots and Google translates, complete with getting locked out of the signup process temporarily for entering something the wrong way too many times (Coupang has fantastic security features), I finally managed to place my order.

Initially, the Coupang app told me my Brita pitcher would arrive the next day (Sunday), so I watched a few episodes of Divorce Attorney Shin on Netflix and took a nap. Some time later in the day, I got another notification saying my pitcher would be there that afternoon or evening.

It got there about 4:00 pm or so. I eagerly tore the bag open, impressed with Coupang despite my deep/shallow philosophical objections to it, a bit giddy even…

And the goddamn thing was busted.

Luckily, Coupang has a fantastic return system. You request a return, repackage the item as best you can, and leave it by your door. Within a day, Coupang will replace your item and retrieve the damaged one.

It’s really a great service. But as I said, personally, I would rather go and get whatever I want to buy, simply to have an excuse to go look around a bit.

My pitcher came with 2 filters, one that’s in it now and one that I will put in there in about a month. And I resolved to go out and buy replacement filters, instead of having them delivered.

Getting to the point, today I felt better. So I decided to make a quick, 2 subway stop trip to Lotte Mart to stock up on Taurin energy drinks. Hanaro Mart (which is in my neighborhood, no need for a subway ride) doesn’t carry them.

Well, I got to Lotte Mart and it was closed. Apparently they close every other Sunday.

So, as I wandered around aimlessly, bored out of my skull, I decided to find and go to a nearby Home Plus to see if they had Taurin 10 packs, and to make sure the nearest Home Plus had the right Brita filters for future purchases.

I got back on the subway and rode another 10 stops or so, making one transfer, and somewhere along the way — probably when I pulled out my wallet to get a thousand won bill to buy a bottle of water — I lost my T-Money transit card, which had about 20,000 won on it, roughly $20.

I had to tell the security guard that I lost my card (Google Translate is an amazing tool, in case I haven’t mentioned that) because you have to scan your T-Money card when you leave the subway, as well as when you go in.

I bought another one at the Home Plus stop (Hapjeong) and followed the signs to Home Plus… and it was also closed today.

So, I went into a nearby Starbucks and had a Caramel Macchiato, and typed most of this on my phone. I left because a good looking, well-dressed young Korean couple needed a place to sit, and I was sitting at a table designed for two people.

Anyway, I didn’t get any Taurin drinks, I don’t know if the Hapjeong Home Plus carries the right kind of Brita filter, and I lost a transit card with about 20 bucks on it. Gonna look for it on the way back, but I am not optimistic about finding it.

Shoulda stayed home. 🙂

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