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Toronto vs Seoul

February 5, 2014


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Hooray! It’s time for our favourite segment of the week, TL;DRs! We love these segments. Did we ever tell you that? These are always loads of fun for us. They’ve also become our most viewed segment over the year, so it seems like you are digging it as well. Huzzah! Most of the time we get to just sit and banter with each other and be playful, and that’s loads of fun. Sometimes we tackle more serious topics, which is – at times – not loads of fun, but the discussions we get in the comment sections are great. Thank you, TL;DR watchers, for your awesome levels of engagement!

Anyhow, we usually do Korea vs _____ videos whenever we come back from traveling somewhere. We put Korea up against Japan, Australia, and Europe in previous TL;DRs. I didn’t find one on Canada yet, though I feel like almost every TL;DR is – by default – Korea vs Canada, because we mostly talk about how our experiences as Canadians differs from what we experience here in Korea.

But we’ve been in Korea for quite a while now, over 5 years. Almost 6 as of June. Our Canadian side is fading. Our memories of what things were like are a bit dated at times. So, being back in Canada for a few weeks really reminded us of what’s different between both places. Not really in depth, of course, because we’re not that in depth with Canada anymore. But, still, the differences to us are interesting to note.

Side note: we really sucked at filming this one. We forgot to check if my head fit in (which it didn’t) and we forgot to fully charge our batteries, which is why Martina’s battery died at the end of the video. Actually, that was more like the middle of the video, but we cut out the other half because Martina’s audio sucked. We had more we wanted to talk about! Like…food ordering culture! Not that big a deal, we know, but we were reminded of what it’s like to get food in Canada. You go to a burger place in Canada, for example, and you stand in front of the list of stuff you can add to the burger, like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, etc. You customize your food. You’re often asked “how would you like that” and you get to choose and dictate. Make the coffee with half syrup and soy milk.

Here in Korea, though, food customization isn’t that prevalent. Sure, it’s available in some places. They have Subway sandwiches. Coco Curry (aka CRACK COCAINE CURRY CUZ IT’S SO ADDICTIVE) lets you add this and that to the curry you get, but those are for non-Korean foods. Go to a Korean food place, and you mostly get big bowl of stuff. Eat it! It’s delicious! Which, yes, it is, but it’s not really something you customize all too much.

I’m assuming maybe because there are so many things on the menu that makes up for the lack of customization. For example: order a kimbap roll at a Kim Bap Chon Guk and you’l have 12 different rolls to choose from. Maybe in Canada it’s more like you’d order a kimbap roll, and they’d ask you how you want it. Korea has already pre-determined a lot of these options. Go to our favourite Sundubu Jjigae restaurant and you’ll see 20 different kinds to choose from. Is that lack of customization, or just a plethora of choices that compensate for the lack? I don’t know.

It’s when we try to ask the waiters for something different that we run into trouble. At our favourite burger place, if we ask for extra bacon, they look confused and have to ask the manager, and then they come back in a panic and say “that…that’ll be 500 won more,” to which we agree, of course. Or if we go to a restaurant which we know serves purple rice for some dishes and white rice for others, if we ask for the purple rice instead they’ll say “oh, that’s not for this dish.” Yes, we know, but we’d like to swap. Is that possible?

So, long story short, switching things around in Korean restaurants results in more confusion here than it does for us in Canada. There! It only took four convoluted paragraphs to somewhat explain. Yeesh!

Anyhoodledoodlepoodle: another basic difference we noticed between Toronto and Seoul – whoa! We totally appreciate the Seoul Metro as opposed to the Toronto subway system. We took the TTC in Toronto a few times, and every time we were on we were quite…umm…surprised? The floors were really dusty and dirty. Some subway stops smelled of urine. You grab a handle when you’re standing and it squeaks and screeches. The whole subway just seems really old and dusty. You so much as LOOK at a tunnel and your signal cuts out. Not so in Korea. The subway is always meticulously clean. Screens all over the subway tell you what stop is coming up next and what side the doors will open on. On the TTC, some guy on the mic goes “nfft stfftn is Lwffffndwwwnnn” and you can barely understand what he’s saying over the crackle. Hell! We were at Keele station on the weekend, stuck at the front doors of the station for 20 minutes because the machine wouldn’t accept our freaking money at all! Just kept on spitting out our $10s over and over again. And the TTC costs $3. Seoul Subway costs $1.10. Sure, Toronto has lots of reasons for it being more expensive. There are less people in Toronto than in Seoul, so that means less customers, which means less money, and upkeep is expensive, or whatever. I don’t know. There are a bagillion excuses for it. Without digging into them, you can easily say that the TTC sucks royally compared to Seoul’s subway. I can’t think of a single thing the TTC does better. Sorry people of Toronto who love your city. Toronto’s got a lot of great things going for it. Transportation isn’t one of them.

Ok! That’s it for now. If there’s anything we missed out on, we’d love to talk about it in the comment section with you all. I’m sure someone will mention something and we’ll be like “OH SNAP HOW DID WE FORGET?!?!?” Oh. One I forgot to mention: Toronto has scarier Ice Storms.



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