iPhone 4, dirty dollars, and more bananas!

Well I thought my body was more adjusted than it actually is, but I woke up around 4 something in the morning and did some reading.  The past two days have been pretty full with stuff.  On Thursday my aunt’s husband took me to the immigration office to ‘register’ myself.  We didn’t realize that would involve them taking away my passport/visa for a week, so now I can’t get a bank account opened until then.  We went to the bank anyway though, so I could exchange some money.  I decided to wait on exchanging all of it and tried my hand at just $500, hoping that the exchange rate would be more in my favor at a later time.  The teller took my money and went away.  Upon his return, he informed me that two of my five $100 bills weren’t being read by the machine.  Basically these weren’t crisp clean bills, had markings on them and a little more beat up.  I was kind of annoyed by that (money is money, right) but just went ahead with the $300.  My uncle told me that when he and my aunt went to Bali for their honeymoon, they tried the same thing with some U.S. dollars and unless they were crisp and of the updated style, they wouldn’t even take them.  I guess people are paranoid their government won’t accept them.  These don’t look too bad, right?

The Korean Won is very easy to convert to dollars for anyone.  Basically if you have 1000₩ that is roughly the equivalent of $1 (depending on the exchange rate, of course).  No complicated formula, just take off 3 zeros!  I actually got a little bit more ₩ for my $ yesterday, which was nice.  I also found out that the exchange rate isn’t the only thing that affects how much you’ll get. Apparently here, it also depends on your credit too!  If you have a well established history in good standing with the bank, they’ll waive their service fees and give you perhaps a tiny break on the exchange rate.  Guess my aunt’s husband has decent credit, ha! 

I believe the denominations for the won are:

Coins- 10₩, 50₩, 100₩, 500₩

Bills- 1000₩, 5000₩, 10,000₩, 50,000₩

The bills are slightly larger as the amounts get larger too.

Compare a 5000₩ to a US $5 bill


After going to the bank, we went to get a phone.  I assumed that when I got here I would save some money and just get whatever generic phone I could get.  But after being with an iPhone since the original one came out, it’s hard for me to change now.  Plus, I can rationalize my purchase saying that my friends and family can call me on skype so I wouldn’t have any international calling charges.  Not to mention if I get lost, the Korean subway/bus apps are pretty handy.  I’ll probably have to do another post on good Korean iPhone apps.  (All of these photos are taken with my iPhone 4, what do you think of the quality?)  Since I bought the iPhone 4 here, some of the items are in Korea, but you can change all of the settings to English.  Not sure if I can change this front screen, but doesn’t matter since I can get by with my minimal Korean:

Yesterday I walked around a lot by myself, did some shopping, and had lunch with my aunt’s husband at a place called Valance Burgers- which has “very delicious and balanced burgers”.  He told me the chili cheese dog was good, and since I haven’t had any American food in the past 4 days, I thought I’d give it a shot.  It was pretty good, the chili was slightly different, no beans like ours. 

When my aunt got home we then went to the E-Mart, which is very similar to a Wal-mart.  Grocery store with a bunch of other crazy stuff you can buy.  Probably bigger than a Wal-mart because this thing had 3 levels and also sold furniture, pets, and had reps from the different companies out trying to sell their products (food, makeup, etc).  My aunt told me that they don’t go shopping here that often because it’s usually crowded, takes forever to find a parking spot in the 4 level garage, and you have to make your own box to take home your groceries.  Here’s my aunt’s husband taping up a box for us-

We were all pretty tired by the time we got home.  After dinner we snacked on these mini bananas, which apparently we have in the U.S. but I never see them in Indiana.

Well, I might try to lay down again since we have a long day of shopping and a 4 year old’s birthday party for today.