(Seoul Diaries) Sawa dee Krap


You might find that there’s a disconnect in the title of this post. It’s related to my travel to Seoul but talks about the Thai way of saying “hello”. You see, I had very interesting tales associated with this greeting when I was in Seoul last October.

Upon arrival in Seoul, I and my friend Me-an immediately braved the cold streets of Myeong-dong to look for food, the best dollar to won exchange rates, and cardigans to augment our cold weaponry. I was in  awe  not just of  the number of people in the area but the variety of things that can be bought. Myeong-dong truly lives up to its name of being one of Seoul’s premiere shopping destination!

Myeong-dong for you!
Myeong-dong for you!

After happily walking out of a small stall, my spirit was blown out of my body when a man selling bags greeted us  a with a very loud, “Sawa dee Krap!”. We just laughed  so the man smiled back. Perhaps he was thinking “I got this in the bag”. Too bad just we laughed out of shock and the hilariousness of being mistaken as Thais.

On our 2nd night, we ventured to the more artsy street of Insadong where I found out street performances and magic shows are just ordinary happenings.

Yeah. Figure it out.
Yeah. Figure it out.
Paintings for sale at Insadong.
Paintings for sale at Insadong.

While quietly checking out the stalls, we were surprised again when someone shouted at us, “Sawa dee Krap!”. By that time I figure out I really probably looked like a Thai.

We returned to Myeong-dong on our 4th day to shop some more. It was quite rainy and very cold! I remember putting my fingers in the pockets of my jacket for the fear that they might just fall off. You see, my optimal working/living conditions  is in the range of 21 to 25 degrees Celsius. LOLS. While hurriedly walking the streets looking for cosmetics and cap stores to check out, a man selling ice cream shouted at me again, “Sawa dee Krap!”

When I did not respond, he turned to my friend and said, “Ni hao!”

We laughed again, telling ourselves that at least one of us has been mistaken now for a Chinese.

We just laughed the cold and our funny encounters away in a small cafe we discovered just across our hostel in Jong-no, the Cafe Secret Garden. We ate our first real breakfast in days, albeit in the evening. And for once, I need not worry being mistaken as anyone else but just be labeled as a general alien or foreigner.

Cozy. :)
Cozy. 🙂
I can't remember the name of the salad but it was very good!
I can’t remember the name of the salad but it was very good!

And the Sawa dee Krap gag continued. I have nothing against Thais or being mistaken as one. I just found it hilarious that during my stay in Seoul, no one correctly guessed that I am Filipino, except perhaps for the fellow Filipino we met in Nami who heard me and Me-an conversing in Filipino. I wondered then, are Filipinos that less common in the South Korea travel scene? Or perhaps I am thinking too much again, I just probably looked more like a Thai than a Filipino. I guess I have a hypothesis to test next time I go out of the country.

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2 thoughts on “(Seoul Diaries) Sawa dee Krap

  1. My workmates said it was probably because of my small eyes. Ha! I was actually quite surprised the youngsters were quite friendly. Guess the conservative Korea most of us used to know is slowly coming out of its shell. 🙂

  2. Hahaha! That is hilarious the locals there think you are Thai 😀 Maybe it’s because of your dark hair or skin…or maybe the language you were speaking made you sound like Thai. But it did sound like they had the best of intentions and wanted to make you and your friends feel welcome. If not, why would the first man have smiled 😀

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