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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May might be my favorite month

Why? Because it's in May that the switch is finally made from still-chilly April to absolutely gorgeous, warm, summery weather. It's not monsoon season yet (that hits in late June) so every day this week has been perfect for walking around outside and enjoying the great outdoors.

Of course, Saturday's forecast, the one day I'm off this week before working the next six days, calls for temperatures only in the high 60s and a chance of rain. Of course!

It's been so much fun to break out the warm weather clothes too. Skirts and sundresses and tank tops.... Unfortunately, we're not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts at work which really puts a crimp in summer clothing. Shorts sleeves are too stifling but that seems to be the only option.

It's funny how conservative Koreans are in this regard. There's no problem with wearing the shortest skirts imaginable -- I've seen girls walking around and been unsure whether they are just out for a night with friends or if they are hookers -- butt cheeks hanging out and everything.

But wear a sleeveless or somewhat lowcut shirt and God help you, people think you're part of a freak show. Strange, eh? That doesn't stop me or most foreigners from wearing sleeveless tops. Let's face it, hot weather calls for nothing less.

When in Korea, do as the Koreans do -- unless that means having to cover your arms.

I'm curious to see what people here wear in the summer. It seems that the majority of Koreans wear dark colors every day -- black, navy, grey -- with very little color. It's even something my friends and I joke about. Yesterday, one of my Korean co-workers wore a bright pink sweater and pointed out, "Look, I'm wearing color!"

The air even smells fresher lately. Okay, not the air in the city. That still retains the same odor of kimchee, sewage and soju, but coming down the mountain yesterday after getting stuck in a brief rain shower, we all remarked on how clean the air smelled. Something about rain combined with grass created the perfect spring scent. Which led to a debate on whether anyone would buy perfume with that scent. I voted no.

I'm hoping the forecast for Saturday changes so I can get out and explore more of Seoul. Thinking of trekking down to the zoo. Has anyone been? I've heard mixed reviews and am not sure how it will compare to the wonderful and free National Zoo but for just 3,000 won, how can you go wrong?