Something fun about traveling with a tour group is that I'll get to meet interesting people. Our tour guide Mr. Young is a sixty-year-old man who is really meticulous about his looks. He gives us different visual surprises every day, which makes me feel that there are no ugly men in the world; there are only lazy men.
Young is followed by two Korean assistants, whose last name is both Kim, so one is Kim Sr. and the other is Kim Jr. The former isn't very tall, but I had the impression from watching Korean drama that Korean men are generally taller than 180 cm. Thus, I mistake him for a Chinese guy working in Korea because he speaks mandarin with a thick Chinese accent. During the trip, I always wow at his fluent Korean, not knowing that he is actually a Korean who once studied in Mainland China. He sometimes wears shirts or pants of bright colors, but it's a pity that he does not pay attention to every little detail of fashion.
Kim Jr. is 201 cm tall. He was once a basketball player living in Japan for five years as an exchange student. However, after returning to Korea, he felt quite lost upon being discharged from the army, so he did nothing but drink for two months at home, which made him gain 20 kilograms. Finally, he decided to take a try, and we were his first tour group.
We saw only super beautiful and rich people in Korean drama, but I learn something drastically different from these two people. The living costs in Korea have soared and competitions are rather keen. Young people have to go all out if they want to get somewhere.
Our square-face Korean driver is from Seoul. He rarely smiles or greets us. On our shopping day, while waiting for the other travelers, I sit on the doorsteps after finishing shopping. Then it occurs to me to sketch the driver. When I am done, our Taiwanese tour guide Chialeen shows the picture to the driver, who, to my surprise, takes a quick look at my previous sketches. When I ask him to sign his name, it seems that he has practiced it thousands of times at home for the day when he will eventually become a super star.
The highlight of our trip is the visit to a local sauna. Though some people choose to wait rather than experience the sauna bath, we are still led into the lobby. I find Koreans really at ease here as if it were their home. They sleep, watch TV, eat and play with their cellphones, and our presence doesn't influence them at all.
It rains like a typhoon day outside, but it feels cozy in the sauna. When the driver sees this sketch, he can't help correcting my Korean handwriting. He also keeps saying that the two people lying in the picture are the driver and his wife. Well, he has tried his best in telling a Korean-style joke!
Through sketching, I find Koreans to be quite lovely!