First I figured out how to get to mok dong, showered, shaved etc. And then headed out on what I was told would be an hour-and-a-half journey by taxi-subway-subway-walk.
I'm totally aclimated now so I just get in the taxi and say "bucheon Yeok" like a boss, dat right, they understand me and all. I totally speak korean.
And then my second time on the subway alone! I knew which platforms to go to but couldn't tell which train so i just asked some guy if the first train that came went to Sindorim. "This... Sindorim... yes?"
Dat Korean langugage skills.
He informed me it would go there by nodding his head, a gesture I've learnt means yes in this land of mystery.
So the train there was easy, I got off at Sindorim and knew I needed to get on the line to "Kachissan", so I followed the signs using my fantastic abilities to read english, hopped on the first train on the platform the signs pointed to and proceeded to ask a young dude in military fatigues "This...Kachissan... yes?"
The guy started freaking out, sweat dripping down his forehead and his head shook from side-to-side. A secret K-pop reference meaning "no". He backed away and moved to the other end of the carriage. That was weird.
Luckily there was an old dude with the grand total of 3 teeth left in his mouth who asked
"where you going?"
This was when I used a great skill of mine, I eliminate my Australian accent and take out all unnecessary words from my sentences so as to make myself sound like an utter moron
Blank stare. "Something in Korean/undecipherable English"
Another undecipherable exchange took place whereupon I decided to pull out the address of the GOM studio and show it to him. He read it up and down, looked confused, and then decided to consult with his own bench of seniors and the adjacent one. It was a bit like watching "question time" in Australian parliament except it made more sense as they were speaking Korean, a language I absolutely understand. For those who aren't Aussies, let me just describe it as a lot of old people yelling about... stuff.
In the midst of all this a middle-aged Korean dude standing next to me tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at his phone. It said:
"Sinjeong" - the station closest to GOM.
"Yes!" I replied, excited to be making progress, "This train go there?"
I got a confused stare and some nodding, shaking of the head and generally undecipherable sign language... maybe it was actually very clear but I can't remember cos this kind old man that was addressing the Seoul Subway Seniors Parliament was SET on helping me out. He was tugging at my sleeve and asking me more questions in garbled English whilst I tried to listen to the middle-aged phone-toting man at the same time.
It was all becoming a little too much for me so I decided to surrender.
"Uh.. thankyou, but, I just get off at next stop and get taxi"
The middle-aged dude nodded and said "cool bro" in Korean. My understanding is good enough to be 100% certain that's what he said. Old-guy looked disappointed but finally accepted and gave back my address.
PHEW, ok I'll just get a taxi, it's all good.
It was at this point I realised that hey, I never got a chance to finish checking the Subway map and this time around I quickly noticed the image of the line I was on and saw that this train was stopping at all stops and was just 2 from Sinjeong! Oh holy cow, all that trouble and I'm on track after all!
Then, out of nowhere.
"No taxi, I take you"
My gods, Old-guy was at it again, I really didn't want to waste this guys entire evening but he couldn't be dissauged.
"No-no, I get off Sinjeong then taxi"
"Awwww, agghhhh, ewwwww, no-no I take. I take!"
"Ahh thankyou you very kind but I not want waste you time"
Ok step back crazyman, fine I'll let you take me.
Long-story short this dude hops off at my stop claiming he lives nearby, not sure if he just made that up to put me at ease. He forces me to get in the lift with him and then go up 20 flights of stairs (Korea has thousands of stairs wherever you go) that didn't even phase the old bro, and then proceeds to walk me the 10 minutes to the GOM studio. All the while stopping every 20 metres to ask a person on the street to look at the address and point us in the right direction.
He took me right to the entrance to GOM shook my hand, I thanked him profusely, and off he went on his merry way, happy just to have been able to help a stranger.
Nicest dude ever and one of the many reasons why I think Koreans are some of the best people in the world.
Hope you enjoyed my story
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