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Just Getting There: Night One in Seoul

SOUTH KOREA | Thursday, 20 May 2010 | Views [1773]

So this past Friday May 21st was Buddha’s Birthday, a national holiday in Korea. So I had been planning to shoot up to Seoul for the long weekend and check out some sites.  My co-teacher let me leave school a bit early so could pack and catch the 6:40pm express bus to Seoul with Lizzie.  She was meeting up with people but I told her I wanted to do my own thing for the most part.  I really didn’t want to make too many plans and I wanted to go along the way the day would take me.  It turned out to be an award winning weekend in my book for many reasons but of course, nothing can be too easy.

Thursday night we caught the bus with the idea that we would be to Seoul in 4, maybe four and a half hours.  There was traffic just outside the city and so we didn’t get to the bus terminal until 11:30pm.  Trouble with that is, the subway closes at midnight. So we were heading in the same direction, her stop would have been only one after mine, if we could take the subway.  Instead we caught the subway to the place where we would have transferred lines but we couldn’t so we meandered out to the street in hopes of grabbing a cab.  First thing we saw was a real drunk woman in too high of heels who was sitting in the street, obviously fallen over from too much heel and too much liquor.

It took a long time and then the first cab we grabbed, what ended up being a local taxi, refused to take us to our destination. So we found a bigger street and waited and no one stopped.  A drunkenly couple made their way over to us and helped give us directions and helped us to grab a cab.  I mean this young man and his girlfriend refused to leave our sides until we were safely in a cab and heading in the right direction.  Oh Korean hospitality, you got to love it. 

My friend Laura suggested that I stay at this guesthouse when I went to Seoul.  So I emailed the guy and he emailed me back to say that he no longer has a guesthouse but that I could do a homestay.  He has a two bedroom apartment and rented his spare room to me for 20,000krw a night, so about 20 dollars  This meant I didn’t have to jump from hostel to hostel and that I would have a safe place to keep my backpack so I said yes and I am glad I did.  Hongjing met me at the subway station to walk me to his apartment. Hongjing was a very welcoming. He is very much into the art scene by Hongik University area which is famous for the young alternative artist crowd that gathers here.  Often referred to as Hongdae area, it is one of the most popular places to party as well but his place was a ways away from the craziness and the old small streets were littered with polite coffee shops and small shops and restaurants.  It was so quiet that one could hardly believe they were in one of the world’s most densely populated cities.              

Tags: korean hospitality, seoul, south korea

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