The Most Wretched Night

Tonight was definitely the worst night I’ve had since arriving in Korea, which is disappointing, since it was a night I was looking forward to.

First, I was supposed to meet up with a friend of a friend of mine. I have a certain Korean friend in the US who told me to contact her friend in Korea when I arrived, and we’ve just now gotten our schedules lined up. So as we agreed on, I waited for her outside the Bupyeong station at 11pm. About an hour passed and I sent her a text message, hoping to sort out what was going on. There was a misunderstanding. When she said she was going out on Friday, she meant next friday. She wasn’t an hour late, I was a week early. 

So I thought, “That’s fine, I was invited to a party with Culcom, I’ll go there,”

It was wrapping up when I arrived. They guy at the door said it was already over when I arrived. But I didn’t want to make my trip completely worthless, so I navigated my way to 피쉬&그릴, a somewhat expensive place, but I had been there a couple times before and I liked eating and drinking there. Tonight, it didn’t taste as good as the last time I was there, but I got a couple beers in my system, which I definitely wanted at this time. But if I knew what was coming up, I would have probably drank much, much more. After leaving 피쉬&그릴, I went to the street and got in a taxi.

I was rejected. He didn’t know where I live. I explained it to him in two different languages, gave him directions there, listed alternate places he could drop me off, showed him my written address and told him to put it in his navigation. He just told me to get out. So I got in a different cab. I did the same thing. This driver eventually pulled out his phone and shook it at me while shouting in Korean until I eventually just got out of his cab. The third driver was the same. The four driver actually spoke English. For a bit he acted like he understood, and then he said things like he was going to get me there, and then he said he didn’t know where it was, and told me I should try a different cab. I told him he was my fourth cab, and if I left his cab I would probably die in the street in the cold and the rain. He said I would probably get lucky on my next cab.

So there I was, stranded a good distance from my home, downtown, with temperature around -3 degrees celsius, in the freaking rain. And now I needed to use the bathroom since I had drank some beer earlier. So I went underground, where I was sure I could find a toilet and I would be able to walk through the underground mall back towards the subway station, where I might be able to find a cab home. 

The underground mall was chained up and I couldn’t use it for navigation like usual and the toilets where chained up and off-limits. So I thought I had two basic options. Head to McDonalds, buy food and sleep in a booth until the buses started running again or attempt to walk an unknown distance home in the rain and cold, risking becoming more lost and stranded, which would result in me either arriving at my warm bed, or sleeping under a bench somewhere trying not to die. I picked that last option. I walked to the bus stop I usually got on, and then navigated backwards towards my apartment based off of my recollection of the bus route. There were several times that I got pretty worried and nervous while walking home, and at some point I went into a dark alleyway and peed behind a building somewhere, but I managed to navigate all the way home without any major errors. 

As soon as I got home I thought I’d run a hot bath and thaw myself out. Naturally, the hot water refused to cooperate in anyway, and this also became an exercise in frustration. So I’m saying “fuck it” at this point and going to bed. While I was originally looking forward to the weekend, I’m now already looking forward to going back to work. 

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~ by James on March 24, 2012.

9 Responses to “The Most Wretched Night”

  1. Oh my gosh, James! You need a friend to call in an emergency that could come and help you out! Yikes, I bet that was more than scary! I wasn’t even there but it scared me to read it. The weekend can only get better!

    • Well, my big problem is I don’t really have anyone to call. My roommates couldn’t have done anything, in fact, Shannon has given me a list of things to say to a taxi driver to get home, but I ran down the whole list and got nothing. Of my Korean friends, they would just say the same thing to the cab driver as me, so I’d be waking them up at 3am for nothing. Owning a car isn’t terribly common here, and the only person I know who has one is The Boss. I don’t have her number in my phone, and even if I did, I would have to be near death to wake her up in the middle of the night. Haven’t her upset with me would be terrible. I’ll tell Sunny what happened when I see her Sunday, and see what she says.

      Really, if the weather was nice, this wouldn’t have been nearly so bad.

  2. A number in your wallet maybe-just in case?

  3. Aw wow! Hopefully you’re feeling better this morning :-/ That really is a rough night.
    I’ve been refused cabs here too…twice. I was at the hospital and heading back to my school after my health checkup and (even with a written address) they wouldn’t take me.

    I’m glad you’re alright though. Keep your chin up, you’re much braver than most people. I probably would have camped out at the McDonalds and cried, lol.

    • I am feeling better. I’m pretty much guaranteed a better day now, hahaha. On the bright side, I did feel like the most awesome person in the entire world when I set foot on my complex, since I actually made it and navigated my way home.

      And I hope you’re feeling better, I read that you got sick, which really sucks. The same thing happened to me. I highly recommend going to the pharmacy if you haven’t. I was hesitant to do that because of the language barrier and the cost, since medicine is so expensive in the US, but I just gestured about what was wrong and I got medicine for less than 10,000w.

      • Yeah, I could definitely imagine that feeling, haha. Making your way home…on your own…in the dark…in a foreign country. Pretty badass, if I do say so myself, haha

        I’m feeling better, just the remains of a sore throat/swollen glands :-/ It’s worse when I first wake up and then gets better the longer I’m upright. Thanks for asking 🙂

  4. Aww that sounds terrible. You should of called one of your room mates.

  5. I’d say that qualifies as an adventure! Good thing you went easy on the beer though, because exploration is harder when you’re buzzed. How far did you end up walking?

    • Not sure, I’m pretty bad at distances. Walking in the freezing rain it felt like 10,000 miles, but it takes about 15-20 minutes or so by bus to cover the same amount of ground. I didn’t stop to pick up passengers, but I did travel a similar route.

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