The man at the post office…


The kindness of Korean strangers part 3

I hadn’t long left the ‘Temple Stay’ class when I saw a packed crowd gathering around a temple. I crossed over to have a nose. There was a lot of chanting and people queuing orderly in the sun. All the women held pretty coloured umbrellas over thier heads to protect them from the blazing heat. I wandered around the crowds and took a few pictures of all the activity in and around the temple.
I meandered back towards the main road and stepped into what looked like a small ‘summer fair’ type area. People playing games to win toys, little stalls selling small gifts and someone chatting very excitably on a microphone. I paused on my way throuh as I spotted some plaques engraved with pictures on the floor and one was about the Olympics. I then realised it was a picture of a commemorative stamp from when the Olympics were hosted in Beijing.

It was then when a young man said ‘ Hello there, where are you from?’
He was wearing a badge and had his hand strectched out for mine. I told him and asked what was happening. He said ” today is the grand re opening of the oldest Post Office in Seoul!” He said it very cheeryly but I thought I could detect a hint of sarcasm…
He then asked me if I would mind having a little look inside as his boss was watching him!
We walked in and the people inside were all wearing tradional clothes from years gone by. A little girl dressed in an elaborate cloak was sitting behind a desk and leaning over it looking rather board…I asked if I could take a photo and she shook her head from side to side very fast. The guy just laughed and then gave her a postcard which she then started to draw on. I was then presented with a postcard on which was her signature ( a face) and a heart drawn on it an a big stamp on top…she then let me take a photo.
The guy walked around to the main counter with me telling me he had been learning English for years but speaks it best when he is drunk. I said ‘ well you’re not drunk now and youre doing great!’ and he said “ahhh yes but I have a hangover so still technically I am ha ha ha”
And boy have I seen it, the Koreans like a drink! He was funny and very witty. The post office inside was a lovely building and looked like an old temple. Once I reached the main desk they offered me a scratch card which I scratched off and won a picture!
Back at the entrance I thanked the guy for disctracting me into the postoffice to see inside on its first day open in years. He said it was no problem, looked at his watch and said ” not long until I can leave and go and get drunk again!”
An honest, quirky and probably very typical young guy in Seoul, having to work on a saturday afternoon I thought..
I left the grand post office and popped back into the busy street…