Train to Busan

I left Seoul today but will return.

My friend from Hong Kong told me that there’s a film about a train to Busan that features zombies. I left the Seoul hostel on time to catch one of several buses for the 10-minute journey to the station. However, there was a lot of traffic, and no buses were due. So, I hailed a taxi. In theory, the journey was a straight path to the station — a ten-minute journey. My taxi driver decided to bypass the traffic and take a roundabout route. This detour had just as much traffic. What should have been a comfortable journey with plenty of time turned into a 25-minute journey with just minutes to spare when I got to the station. I was lucky a helpful Korean pointed me to the exact location for the express train. Normally, I’ve found, stations in East Asia are huge and it’s at least a 15-minute walk getting to the required track.

So, unlike the film Train to Busan, there were no zombies, but it was a nightmare to get to the station.

The train journey to Busan was smooth and fast. On arriving, I had another 45-minute journey on the metro to Haeundae Beach, which is where I was staying.

After dropping my luggage at the hostel, I went for a walk along the beach.

Having had an early start, I was a bit zonked and decided to go to the local library, which perked me up! For a while, I sat on the roof terrace with a view of the mountains.

The study room was packed with people. Even when I left at 8.30, there were still many people beavering away. It seems to be a common trait in East Asia that people study hard and libraries’ study rooms stay open until late, well after the main library has shut.

On the way back, I saw a small restaurant. I went inside and showed them my bookmarked translation of what I could and couldn’t eat. The owner said that was fine, adding that I could have the bibimbap without the egg. The meal came with soup, kimchi, and some other pickled vegetable I didn’t recognise.

As I was eating, a man turned around and said to me that in Korea the bibimbap is all mixed together before eating. The owner nodded. At least, I think that’s what he said/meant. Shortly afterwards, the same man asked if I liked the soup and I said “yes”. On hearing this, he called the owner (which may have been his wife) and she gave me another helping!

I returned to the hostel, passing the adjacent all-day market.

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