Yesterday the weather was gorgeous, so we ventured out to explore a little more of Korea. We drove to Suwon, a city about one hour southwest of Seoul. The urban sprawl of Greater Seoul has expanded so far afield that Suwon is now an exurb of the Seoul megapolis. Many Suwon residents make the long, long commute to Seoul for work. A friend of mine who lives in Suwon commutes each weekday by subway to his workplace in downtown Seoul.
We spent the day touring Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’ll tell you more about our trip to Suwon tomorrow, but tonight let me tell you about something really funny that happened at Hwaseong Fortress. My son needed to go potty, and my wife took him for a restroom break. A couple minutes later, I went into the men’s restroom. I heard my son’s voice chirp from a bathroom stall. I asked my wife, "What are you doing in the men’s restroom?"
My wife answered, "What do you mean? This is the women’s restroom."
I smiled. "Um, honey…this is the men’s restroom." I was right. I couldn’t see my wife or son, but I imagined my wife’s face turning red. She asked, worried, "Is there anyone else out there?"
I answered, "Oh, just the ajuma (older woman) mopping the floor." Just moments before, an elderly female janitor entered the men’s restroom to mop the floor. She didn’t seem to mind in the least that I was present.
Here I was in the men’s restroom, outnumbered by two women. Thank goodness I wasn’t using the facilities at the time! My wife claims she didn’t read the signs correctly. You can judge for yourself from the photo below of the offending bathroom whether the restroom is clearly marked as a men’s restroom. Note the conspicuous lack of privacy, something all too common in Korean restroom design. My wife was a really good sport after it happened, especially for allowing me to blog about it. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to immortalize this humorous event.
For the Shutterbugs: I posted some photos from our trip to Suwon in a new photo album for your viewing pleasure.