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Health & Safety

Korea is very safe, for both men and women. Women occasionally have problems with drunken men catcalling, but it very rarely goes beyond that.

Please look both ways wherever you go, sidewalks, alleys, parks or mountain paths. People do get hit, frequently, by buses, cars, motorbikes, old women and packs of children running at your heals screeching:

“Oh! Okay! Hello foreigner, welcome to Korea! Hey! Hey buddy! Do you like Kimchi buddy?”

Koreans emphasize brotherhood and sharing. When they get sloppy drunk they like you to drink from their glasses, to signify your mutual love and brotherhood. They might feed you from their plate or shove food in you mouth. The problem with this is that hepatitis is common. Get your shots.

Also, the Korean cold and sore throat are tough and mean. They will knock you down and take you out for weeks, so wash your hands a lot. Pharmacies have pharmaceutical masks that will help you avoid toxins from smog and children sneezing on you. These little masks also come in handy as a means for dampening your dry throat if it’s sore.

Korean doctors of western medicine are clueless. If you have a sore throat they’ll give you one day’s worth of antibiotics. If you question this they will feed you a line that the cold virus might change its structure so tomorrow you’ll need a different prescription. Arguing with a pharmacist or doctor over this will get you nowhere, although you may convince the doctor you need more than a day’s worth of antibiotics. Try begging for seven day’s medicine, explaining that you’ll be out of town, and see where this gets you. Then go to another clinic and beg seven more day’s medicine with the same line. After about three or four doctors you’ll have a full prescription of antibiotics.

Korean doctor of eastern medicine, or Han Ee Wan doctors, can cure ailments western doctors can’t. These doctors are legendary for their skills in helping women with personal issues. They can help you with digestive problems like heartburn, gas or diarrhea. My Han Ee doctor cured a case of Bali Belly that the antibiotics had failed to cure after months of debilitating pain. Aches and pains associated with rheumatism, stress related health issues, gall bladder and liver ailments, and even diabetes and hepatitis are all treatable in the Han Ee Wan clinic with impressive results minus the side affects of western treatment.

Whilst visiting one of these doctors in Toronto I learned that AIDS patients also frequent these clinics. Most Koreans visit this doctor once a year for a checkup and month’s worth of all-round health tonic. Check one out. It’s worth it – these doctors really can help you with your stamina.

Mike Best