I have no photographs to share with you of my first day. That is because I got rained on big time, so I wasn’t about to let my new iPhone 6s get wet!
The morning started out with Domingos reporting for a weigh-in and PT at 05:15. Which meant he woke up at 04:00. No fun! I woke up around then, but managed to fall back asleep until he returned. We had breakfast together in one of several hotel restaurants, Greenstreet, and then he left for in-processing and I decided to work on my to-do list.
First up: try to get Korean SIM cards for our phones. I went to the “business center” in the hotel first, where I was offered a plan (no prepaid cards) with LG, and a $60 activation fee per phone. I told them I’d think about it and get back to them. Then I went to the front desk and asked for other locations on post to get cell service. They gave me a blurry map and marked a route from the hotel for me. When I set out, it was very lightly drizzling, but about 5 minutes into my walk the skies opened up and I got completely drenched. Luckily, it wasn’t too cold, so I was only wet and miserable, not cold, wet, and miserable! The next store I found was also LG, but their activation fee was only $8 per phone. Much better! However, I still wanted to get information on other companies. I found another small store outside the building I was in, but they informed me that I had to go off-post somewhere to register my iPhone before they could help me, because all Apple phones had to be registered off post. Okay.
It was still pouring rain, but at least I discovered a back route to the hotel that was much, much faster and more direct than the route the hotel front desk supplied. I also found the Army Community Services (ACS) building, so I went in to ask about getting their welcome packet. The woman at the counter was very nice, and gave me a free umbrella as well as the welcome packet. I wanted to sign up for the newcomers’ orientation class and/or the transportation 101 class, but both were full until November! I certainly hope I know how to get around and use the subway before then! Anyway, I then went upstairs in the same building and made an appointment to get my USFK (United States Forces Korea) driver’s license on Monday morning. I also scoped out the housing office but decided to come back later once I dried off.
I made it back to the hotel, dripping wet, and changed into dry clothes. Then I went right across the street to the USO office to ask about the cell phone service on offer there. That company had a better price than LG, but I was told that because our devices are used, they would have to order SIM cards and it would be at least a week. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I trekked all the way back to the second LG location and signed up there. I had to wait an hour, so I popped back in to the ACS and picked up a welcome packet and 2 umbrellas for my neighbor at the hotel, a nice young woman with 2 small children who hadn’t been able to get out yet. I met Domingos for a quick lunch, then returned to the LG store to finalize cell service. I also stopped off at housing on the way back and got in the system, though I need to return with Domingos once he has completed in-processing.
Then I returned to my room, completely exhausted with all my running around and this stupid cold I’ve got, and updated a bunch of places with my new phone number.
The current commander of the 8th Army Band came and took us out to dinner, along with his very cute 4-year-old son. We took a taxi to a Korean barbecue joint and had a delicious dinner. I learned that if you’re sick (or squeamish about sharing), you use the non-eating end of your chopsticks to grab food out of the communal dishes, then eat with the normal end. Clever! It was a fun night and I’m itching to get out this weekend and really explore the city.