“Getting lost is just another way of saying ‘going exploring.” — Justina Chen Headley
The power adapater cord on my computer died and I had to find a new one in order to preserve my sanity (watching movies on my phone just isn’t the same!). John told me about a place called Yongsun where there is a huge electronics mall and they were bound to have the cord I needed. Since John, Taylor, and Jules all refused to go for various reasons such as: they were too tired, they were afraid they would spend too much money in such a glorious place, and they had a roller derby injury, I had to make the journey on my own.
I felt pretty confident about riding the subway since I had my handy dandy subway map and route finder on my phone so I wasn’t worried. It turns out that getting there wasn’t a problem at all! I got on the correct subway and even made the one transfer to travel the last stop to my destination. On the last leg of the journey there were three teenage girls that couldn’t stop giggling and looking over at me. This is behavior I have gotten used to here and tend to ignore it and fantasy in my head that everyone who stares at me thinks I am a movie star or something. Eventually one of them caught my eye and asked, “where are you from?” to which I replied, “America”. And as one voice the three of them sighed, “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Yes, America, that far off and exotic place. 🙂
So I got off the train at Yongsan and stepped into a HUGE station. Apparently this is also a KTX stop and it was super busy. I started wandering around looking for something that would tell me where the electronics mall was and couldn’t see anything. I finally did what I usually do and picked a direction and started walking confidently that way hoping it would be the right one. This time it didn’t work and I ended up on the second floor where there wasn’t anything. I did see a sign that stated the directions for information in English so I headed that way. On the way down the escalator I caught out of the corner of my eye a sign with electronics mall written on it. Woo hoo! I walked down that way and went through an exit in order to enter and fully see the sign and quickly took a picture of it so I had the Korean name for it as well. With the Korean name as reference I was able to see signs everywhere for it and was able to find the mall right away.
The electronics mall is HUGE. The whole thing is like seven floors, with the top floor for a IMAX and tons of eating places and the sixth floor had some wedding reception hall or something, but the other five were all electronics. Cameras (a whole floor for just cameras), computers, videogames, appliances, and electronic bits and pieces. I found one place that actually had my exact ACER cord in a box in the back but wanted to ask around a bit to see if I could find it cheaper. I found another adapter that wasn’t ACER brand, but worked (I had brought my computer with me in order to test out the cord) and told her I wanted to look around a bit more. After walking a bit I decided to go back to the second one. When I got there I told her I wanted to get it and she refused to sell it to me. What? Yes, she said no and even though I asked why and pointed at it (it was sitting right there on the rack next to her) she kept saying she wouldn’t see it and kept turning away to ignore me. That was so freaking random and weird! Initially she was super nice but when I came back she wasn’t. Oh well, so I went back to the first one and bought that one. SO now I have a computer cord! Woo hoo!
So my journey back was a bit more interesting. For some reason I had trouble figuring out which train I needed to take first. Usually I just look at the stop and can figure out the direction, but since this was a hub of sorts there were tons of choices. Finally I ran into a man as I was staring at my phone trying to figure it out and he stopped and asked if he could help me. By the way, when I say people ask or say things to me, usually they say it in Korean and I am just guessing what I think they are saying. But he asked where I was going and I told him the general direction and he pointed me toward the subway he said I should take. I thanked him and happily went on my way.
When they train pulled up and everyone got off I stepped on and three teenage girls (they must always travel in packs of three) turned around in shock and said NO! NO! I was like “what, what?” “What’s going on” and they said, “the end” or something like that. I figured out when I looked around the empty car that the train must be at the end. Sigh. Wrong train.
So these nice young girls tried to help me out but they didn’t speak any English. I pointed out the stop I needed on my phone and we all four huddled over it trying to figure it out. While we were doing this an English speaking couple came up to me and asked if I knew how to get to “bippidpy bippidy bop” (I forgot what station they asked) and I explained that I was trying to find out where to go to. But when they said where they were going one of the girls got excited and pointed at herself. I figured out that the girls were going the same way as the couple and told the couple they were all going the same direction and they should follow them. I said this with confidence like I understood exactly every Korean word the girls were saying. So I sent them on their way and went back up stairs. I stared at the signs a bit more and for some reason this time it made sense and I found the exact train I needed. I hopped on it, got to the next stop to change trains and got on the train I needed to get home.
But that wasn’t it! About four stops later, as I was busy watching a movie on my phone anticipating that I had about eight more stops to go, a man next to me tapped me on the shoulder and said that this was the last stop. I said thanks and stood up and looked around. I then asked him what station I was at. He said the name and then asked where I was going. When I said Beomgye he said that when the train stopped I just needed to cross to the other side and get back on and it would continue in the direction I needed. By the way, this man spoke perfect English and I didn’t need to make up anything he was saying or speak in charades. So I got on the other train and it went straight home. How awesome that, that man just spoke up and helped me out even though I was being oblivious with headphones on and didn’t ask for help.
All in all it was a great adventure. After going home and taking a short nap I went out for BBQ and shopping at Skin Food with Jules in Sanbon. One of my favorite things in Korea is the word “service”. Service means tons of free stuff. I bought a few items at Skin Food and they ended up giving me TONS of samples. I am saving up the ones I don’t use to send home to Susie and mom so they can check them out. After having some ice cream I then walked home through a typhoon. CRAZY weather we are having here in Korea. Apparently a typhoon named Meari did hit Korea, and is expected to fully hit Seoul this week.