This is not a travel entry, but just a weird thing that happen to Mark and me.
Late Sunday morning, while at Mark’s apartment, I was sitting at his desk wasting time on Facebook. I noticed a head bobbing around outside the window. I thought, at first, that someone was fixing something outside. But the person was just pacing outside on the ledge.
Mark and I got up and looked outside to see what was going on. That’s when we realized that the person was just a little kid. He ran over to the corner of the building. Mark’s apartment is on the 6th floor so I panicked thinking that this kid might fall to his death.
I had no idea what to do. I don’t speak Korean. How would I explain to someone what was going on before the kid falls off the ledge? I quickly took some pictures to make it easier for us to explain the situation to the security guard and get help.
I really didn’t have to think about this for very long, because Mark climbed out the window during my little panicky episode. He shuffled over to the kid and picked him up. Mark said the boy struggled a bit in his arms.
Mark managed to carry him over to our window and handed him over to me. I picked him up and brought him into Mark’s apartment. The kid was wearing diapers and he had a bloody foot. He looked to be about six years old. He was obviously a mentally challenged kid.
I took his hand and led him through the apartment and out the door. I hoped that he would lead me to his apartment so I could tell his mom about what happened. As we walk through the hallway I saw another kid. I ask the other kid, “Is this your little brother?”
The older kid said nothing; not even in Korean. He took the diapered child’s hand and walked him to their apartment. The parents weren’t home. Mark came over. He had his coworker on the phone to translate. We tried talking to the older brother, but he never spoke a word.
Mark went downstairs to tell the building’s security guard what happened. I stayed upstairs. I tried to get the older brother to close the window in his apartment. He just stared at me blankly. I began to think that he too might be mentally challenged.
Then I noticed the diapered child climbing out the window again. I pushed the other boy out of the way; he was standing at the door. I ran over to the window and grabbed the younger kid. Then I locked the window myself.
Mark’s talk with the security guard didn’t go well. The guard thought he was reporting the kid as a peeping Tom. Even with the coworker as a translator, he couldn’t make the security guard understand how dangerous the situation was. The guard just couldn’t be bothered.
When the mom finally came home we tried to talk to her. By this time we didn’t have a translator so we showed her the photos I had taken. She thanked us.
How to get there:
- You can enter by plane, boat, or train, though entry by train is rare if not damn impossible for most non-presidents of North or South Korea.
- Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to South Korea.
- People of most nationalities will get a 90-day visa at the airport or ferry port.
- To be completely sure, check with the Korean embassy in your country.
- Useful Phone Numbers when in South Korea
- Tourist Complaint Center 02-735-0101
- Police 112
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Eat Your Kim Chi – Life in Korea as lived by 2 Canadians
- Korea is a generally safe country. You don’t really have to watch out for pickpockets, muggers, or scam artists.
- You should watch out when crossing the streets, beware of scooters on the sidewalk, and the little old ladies that will push you to get that last seat on the bus or subway.
- Use common sense and you will be okay.
- Things are generally inexpensive and there are many wonderful things to buy.
Enjoy Korea! I live there for 2 years and had a fantastic time.