Korean Hygiene

Let me get all Euro-centric for a sec. Koreans got a weird sense of hygiene. The feet thing I can understand. We were staying at a love motel in Seoul. Ah, love motel, let me explain. You see, in Korea it is not uncommon to live in small digs with parts of your extended family. So privacy can be a bit of an issue, especially for amorous mommies and daddies. The solution: the love motel, a place where you can come with your loved one [sic] for a night. Our motel has racks of Korean porn on each floor. Unfortunately, there are some strict laws governing porn in Korea and you are not allowed to show more than boobies in a skin flick. I’ve seen racier stuff on Bleu Nuit. Anyway, I digress… So, the feet thing. You take off your shoes before you get into the love motel and get into a pair of slippers generously supplied by the proprietors. The carpet stays clean longer. Fine. I get that. Also, the shoes thing ties into another very interesting Korean habit, displayed mainly, but not exclusively by men. Horking. Now I’m not talking about a little ejection of excess saliva. I’m talking rip-roaring loogies. Walking around Seoul, you will invariably hear some dude pulling up some lung butter or hocking down some snotties to let loose on the road. It’s never quiet. There’s always the gurgling/ripping sound that comes with such activity. And this behaviour isn’t confined to the outside. In a subway car, buddy launched a greener right onto the floor. Yum. So, I’ve been lettin’em fly too. When in Rome…

Another weird hygiene thing revolves around the hands and mouth. Almost all food products are wrapped because your hands are germy. Fine. You aren’t supposed to walk and chow on the food you just purchased from a street vendor. It’s unclean. Eat it by the stall. Weird. But, it’s OK to double-dip into the sauce bowl at the street stall after you’ve taken a bite of your pork dumpling (man do). What? Gross.

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