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Friday
Mar202009

Korea: In Search Of Adventure

My sense of time while I was in Seoul was distinctly screwed up, due to both the time zone difference and to working the night shift. By the time I left the customer facility on Tuesday morning, I had come to terms with the idiosyncrasies of my schedule. Working nights meant that I would be able to do touristy stuff until the early afternoon, provided I was willing to push myself a little. Encouraged by my initial foray the previous day, I decided to give the subway a try.

I'd heard and read that Seoul's subway system was very friendly to English speakers, but I hadn't anticipated how friendly. All of the signs were in both hangeul and Roman characters, and the pre-recorded announcements on the trains were in both Korean and English. The stations were incredibly well-signed, and there were maps everywhere. I can't say for certain that it was the easiest public transportation system I've every used, but I can't come up with a better one right now.

I did manage to have two misadventures getting onto the subway. I first had a little trouble buying a T-money card, caused by my inability to speak Korean and the price being listed incorrectly in my guidebook. The cashier kept trying to get me to do something I didn't understand, but I eventually realized that the problem could be solved by handing over more cash. (T-money, by the way, is totally from the future.) Then, as I was rushing to catch the subway train that was just about to depart the station, I didn't quite look at the sign and ended up on a train going the opposite direction from where I had intended.  I had been planning on taking a short jaunt over to the COEX Mall as an exploratory mission, but I was now headed the wrong way. Undaunted, I looked up at the system map, pulled out my guidebook, and decided to take the leap and head further afield.

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