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 SiteI’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.

Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at or contact him by e-mail at or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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1 Comment

  1. Larry's Gravatar Larry
    March 6, 2006    

    Hi there! This is actually my first comment on your site. But I have been checking out this site for the past 6 months. Your prolific writing style inspired me to start my own blog. So thank you.  I am looking forward to your new adventure for your next assignment. Keep writing cuz its always a pleasure reading it.  Just a side note, I visited Seoul when I was a student, its architecture reminds me of ones from Tang dynasty in China. What do you think?

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