Mrs Joy’s boot was goosed. (Once again, that’s trunk for those of you who speak American.) The crash had fucked up the mechanism for popping it open.
I had to drag our bags out through the lowered back seat from the front of the car. A lovely, awkward, sweaty endeavour. At least, I thought, I wouldn’t be doing this again for another while!
It took a couple of trips to carry all our gear up the three flights of stairs. The lift was conveniently out of order. Mrs Joy smoked a cigarette in the stairwell and watched me with interest. Probably was thinking of a way that my strength could be used for Christ. Beat the Jesus in to people, or something. I dunno. She was looking at me anyway. Made me uncomfortable.
Herself stood opposite her, giving me the occasional apologetic glance. She wanted to be able to help. I knew this, but I was happy enough to be the cart horse until her back healed. I’m fierce sound like that.
When all the gear was finally brought up, and Mrs Joy finished her fags, we were beckoned to the front door of our new home. Our first Korean home. Hopefully our only Korean home!
Mrs Joy opened the door and walked in, followed by herself. I was doing that lazy man action of trying to drag all the bags at once, so I didn’t really get the first glance at the interior. Herself had that honour.
I dropped the bags on the floor, had a look around, and left my jaw on the floor with the bags. This wasn’t an apartment. It was a crime scene. A crime scene from a Cronenberg movie.
The first thing that hit me was the smell of human shit. Not the smell of human possessions – actual human shit. Shit from an arse.
There was a fucking bag of human shit, from a human arse, in the middle of the fucking floor.
Now, we’ll take a brief segue in to toilet etiquette in Korea. Hooray!
People generally don’t flush their toilet roll in Korea. Something to do with the width of the pipes, I think. They have similar toilets to the ones we have in Ireland. Some places even have those electronic Japanese toilets that warm your arse, have USB ports to charge your phone, and best of all – play music to mask that “throwing a handful of gravel on a corrugated iron roof” sound that you’ll make after a heavy night on the Guinness. Most bathrooms are equipped with bins beside the toilet that you are supposed to place your used wipes in. Many of these in public bathrooms were overflowing with other people’s dirty leavings. I never once did this in my entire time in Korea. I flushed everything. I’d say I was personally responsible for 97% of toilet clogs in Seoul during the latter part of 2015. Fuck it, the alternative was fucking disgusting.
Anyway, that was the general Korean attitude to bum wiping. The previous occupants of our new home, well looking at this bag it was evident that they flushed no solids at all down their toilet. It looked like all the waste was binned instead. They must have been environmental engineers.
The second thing to hit me was the heat. It was fucking roasting in here. Between the heat and the stink, I was beginning to feel faint.
The third thing to hit me was the complete lack of furniture. No bed, no tables, no tv – nothing.
Oh wait; there was one thing – a bible. That solved one problem for us.
Mrs Joy handed us keys. “This is your apartment. Please move in and I will take you to dinner.”
Move in to what? This was a shell! A shell that stank of shit!
Next time: We gotta go now!