August 7th, 2010
Although the previous day I’d searched realtors in the general 이태원2동/ 중앙경리단 (Itaewon 2 dong/ Jungang Gyeongri dan) neighborhood until offices were closing after seven p.m. I’d only found two acceptable places, one was dirty and probably would come with a ton of stuff the owner wouldn’t want me to throw out (like grimy plastic shelves and a disgusting couch) but was 600,000 per month and did have a refrigerator, washing machine and stove. The problem with that place, besides the initial cleaning when moving in was that the realtor was a total drip, with no sense of humor and a personality that seemed like a drowned rat all moan and groan and woe is me (not a usual personality type in Korea). Since the realtor takes a hefty commission, paid by the home-searcher, I just didn’t want to take that place if I could avoid it. The other acceptable place was a tiny bit small, and up a very steep hill, but freshly remodeled with new wallpaper, flooring, kitchen shelves and so on. It had a breathtaking view of the city (not necessarily the most interesting view, because it mostly overlooked the US military base, but I could see for miles and a nice breeze blew through the apartment. It was also over the budget I’d set, 800,000 per month.
In the morning I first went to 버티고개 (Beotigogae) area and looked, seeing one place that was almost not a hovel. Then I headed on to 삼각지 (Samgakji) determined to find a place somewhere other than 중앙경리단 (Jungang Gyeongridan). Unfortunately eleven realtors in that area were only able to net me two home views, both unacceptably dark, but a total of five realtors tried to show me those same two places at which time I just gave up and decided there must not be anything to see. The realtors have told me this is the wrong time to look- since it’s too hot for sweaty labor now people try to move in the fall, not the summer. In addition, the rates seem to have really risen a lot. I started to worry that the nice place I’d seen on the hill would be taken and headed back in half defeat to Jungang Gyeongridan. I tried to see several more places, but only ended up seeing two more, both unacceptable, and finally met the owner of the hillside place and signed the paperwork, I can move in on Monday after I get the rest of the money from Daegu Bank. I am dubbing the apartment “The Eyrie.”
Photos: All three taken on the same day with the crazy weather we've been having. All from the same window. The one with the frame (which is only warped because of the wide angle) should be your point of reference for the other two.