Friday, March 19, 2010

A new car :P

I have ineptly stumbled into car ownership (or stewardship, I should say more accurately). After my friend Carlos decided he didn't want to re-contract, he offered to let me borrow his Ssangyong Musso SUV. I've been contemplating getting a vehicle for awhile now, and now one has fallen into my lap.

The arrangement is great, and everybody wins. As Carlos plans on returning to Korea in a few months, he doesn't have to go through the headache of selling his car, and buying a new one (and all the annoying things that entails). With this, he can just add me as a driver on his insurance, and I get to use a car for a few months on my Intl. licence. (just long enough to go some places and do some things I've been meaning to do for awhile now.
Trouble is: Korea is not a great place to drive. On those few moments when traffic actually moves forward, people cut you off and invade your space to the point that your blood boils. (city buses, taxis, and motor scooter delivery-persons are the worst offenders). I've often beaten traffic on my bicycle in this city (but that isn't usually the norm).

Any small amount of time you do save over the bus or bicycle is negated by the time it takes to hunt for and pay for parking (which negates any savings as well). Its almost useless when I travel within a 6 kilometer radius of my home and I really only use it on weekends for day trips and stuff.

I'm not a huge fan of the Ssangyong Musso either. When I first arrived in Korea, I saw Ssangyong cars everywhere. Then someone told me they were going through the process of bankruptcy (apparently having only built SUVs and luxury town cars, the fuel crisis in the summer of 2008 pretty much destroyed them). I could never figure out why they didn't export them to the US. Carlos had raved about how great his truck was and how much he liked it. It was a diesel and sipped gas, and was super reliable. Why wouldn't they sell in the US?

Now I know why they don't sell them in the US. Ssangyong SUVs look alright, but they drive and handle like a 30 foot flatbed! I seriously feel like I'm driving an aircraft carrier on steroids down these obscenely narrow roads.

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