Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuttle Hot News

Yesterday was May 1st, the official date when most restaurants and cafes set out their patio furniture. Of course, some places do this when the weather begins to turn nice, but Korean orthodoxy is a strong bronc to buck. In fact, the Deungchon Caffe Bene tells me that, even though they have their very own patio repleat with lampposts and balusters, they won't be setting tables outside ever again. Why not? Haven't got a clue, as my Korean was not up to the task, and the manager's English, ditto. Anyway, yesterday, I noticed my Chicken Mania franchise washing down the patio furniture, so this evening I decided to dine al fresco.

This is one of the delights of living in the big city: the sense of community, as Seoulites emerge from the ondol huddle of winter and take back the streets and plazas of their neighborhoods--the murmur of conversation, the glee of racing children, the clink of glassware and the explosion of laughter. All under a darkening sky with a gentle breeze to keep the heat away.

Alas, the same cannot be said (gentle breeze, et al) of my officetel, where it was 33 Celcius when I came home this afternoon--window open, fan blowing. It has been warm for a week, but today was--at 91 F--hot. I hadn't previously bothered with the air con, because I remembered that last year the building had an energy savings scheme where they only turned it on on May 1.

Well, today was May 2, so I tried, and it didn't work. I took a picture of my thermometer, grabbed the A/C remote device and went to the building management office. The guy told me the A/C would not be activated until May 29. "Don't be ridiculous," I said, "I'll boil to death before then."

"Sorry, it is what people want," he explained. You see, my A/C is shared, well not the A/C but the heat exchanger external to the building, among six apartments. "People might not want their electric bills to rise, so this year we can only turn on after May 28."

Before he even started this explanation, I was on the phone with my handler, Mr Oh. After a half-hour back-and-forth, the building guy was presented with two options: I will stay at a hotel on hot nights and send him the bill, or I will buy a stand-alone air conditioner and subtract its cost and an appropriate percentage of my electric bill from my monthly fee.

Thirty minutes later, I was in my apartuh, stripped down pretty far, when the doorbell and the phone rang simultaneously. On the phone was Mr Oh to verify that the building manager was at my door, which he was. In five minutes, my air conditioner was blowing cold air. It still is.


조안나 said...

wow, nice one!

LiteraryHero said...

You in Yeosu, homeboy?

Tuttle said...

In Japan. But now I'm back. Stay tuned for photos and stuff...

Tanner Brown said...

OK. Ready for Japan update.