Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adventures in Seoul Part 1

I label this Part 1 because I am almost certain there will be many more adventures in the next 48 hours.

So I, Amy, had the task of getting Allison and myself to Seoul and to our hotel with absolutely no hiccups.  If this was New York I could probably manage that without any major problems, however, this is not New York.  This is the size and population of New York but in a whole other world. And I’m hugely intimidated by Seoul… but I didn’t tell Allison that.  I called the Hilton in Seoul in advance of our trip to find out the best way to get there from Seoul Station and I felt very comfortable with the directions I was given.  Tuesday morning we dropped Charlie off at Camp Lee Ann and headed off to the train station.

We arrived at the station at 12:35 and purchased tickets to leave at 12:50.  Perfect.  Just enough time to grab a snack and catch the train.  Well, in the ten steps that I took to buy us drinks for the trip, I lost our tickets.  Like lost, lost.  They completely vanished.  After spending about ten minutes searching for them we decided we had two options – 1) buy new tickets for a later train since ours was pulling into the station or 2) risk it.  (Editor’s note: At the time of posting tickets have still not been located.)

While I only had the tickets in my possession for slightly over one minute I, thankfully, have a short-term photographic memory when it comes to numbers.  I could easily recall that we were on train 1210, leaving from track 4 at 12:48.  We were seated in car 1, seats 3 & 4 and would be pulling into Seoul at precisely 14:45.  (It’s a gift.)  Also, incredible thanks to the Korean railway system for never checking tickets before allowing passengers to board. Your reliability in that area is greatly appreciated.  Needless to say, Allison was less than pleased with this plan but she was willing to roll with it and off we went.

There was a bit of hesitancy in the beginning of the train ride, but I was confident that we were on the right train going in the correct direction.  Allison, I think, was a bit less confident as she had a minor panic attack every time an attendant passed us.  Nevertheless, at 14:45 we saw Seoul Tower off in the distance and were pulling into the station. Hooray! Crisis adverted!

The concierge at the hotel told me we should avoid the subway and pick up the 7021 bus in front of the YTN building.  As we were walking through Seoul Station I located the building through the front windows and it was across the street.  Awesome.  Only this was a big (BIG) street.  How precisely does one cross such a ginormous road?  With a bit of searching  we were able to locate an unnecessarily obscure underground walkway and make our way over to the bus stop. 

Despite being from Chicago, Allison has little experience (or interest in) public transportation so she spent much of this time trying to convince me to get a taxi.  I have become quite comfortable utilizing public transportation in the last seven months (it’s much cleaner here than it is at home) so I was comfortable with the bus option. We caught the bus as it was pulling away from the curb but the driver was polite and waited for us.  About 35 minutes (and a very antsy Allison) later we were dropped off right in front of the hotel. Just as the concierge said we would be. 

Allison would like to thank the Korean man who helped her carry her suitcase up 30 stairs from the underground walkway in the sweltering heat and a full three piece suit.  Your kindness was very appreciated.

We hope you enjoyed this story as much as we did! 

1 comment: