Phones do everything in South Korea.
On a recent reporting trip to the country, I made a point of asking people about interesting ways they use their smartphones.
Some answers weren't too shocking. Lots of people know Koreans use their phones to make purchases (that's a new-ish idea here in the U.S., and one that Google is pushing) and in place of public-transit tickets.
Cab drivers in Seoul give you weird looks if you try to pay with a credit card instead of with a tap of your phone.
But one answer surprised me:
People now use their phones to buy groceries in the subway.
Read "In Seoul, a virtual grocery store in the subway" on CNN's What's Next blog.
I love innovation. Way to go South Korea! You guys are awesome.
In Seoul, it's best to stay far away from the cab drivers. Most of them are ex-cons and will rip you off blind or in some cases rape the customers (if you're a young blond woman). They give you odd looks because
a) you're a foreigner
b) You're paying with a traceable card rather than easy money "cash".
c) Most cabbies aren't set up for the pay by phone option yet.
d) Many Cabbies can't see straight anyways. I have more than a few drive into on coming traffic, miss turns, or drive completely through red lights nearly causing an accident. Several were more than likely DUI.
My advice, stay the hell away from cabbies in Korea unless you're travelling with a Korean.
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