Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Puppy, a Train and New Found Friends…

First, let me say that while I thought about giving to you the reader and mega-post over the events of the last week (yes it has been that long since the last new one), I held back and decided that I will try to update you in several smaller posts. Call it the blog equivalent to a mini-series.

Last time I checked in Charity and I were on our way to pick up our puppy. I am happy to say that not only were we able to get that sweet-natured little ball of fur but that she has also become quite comfortable turning our entire apartment into her own patch of terra firma and all that entails.

But we need to get back to Saturday…

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If you take a look at the map I provided, you will notice how far away Pyeongtaek is from Bongcheon. Needless to say, when you have to use the least independent method of travel it also tends to be the most cumbersome. While I was in Toronto I got a taste of how hard it can be to understand train schedules. Now imagine having the complexity of understanding both the express and the regular lines but in Korean.

Well, I wish I could say we traveled from our apartment to Sadang and then to Geumjeong, the train junction and finally to Pyeongtaek. While we were extremely good at making the switch at Sadang and we did make it to Geumjeong, we hit a bit of snag at Geumjeong. I included a map of the basic distances involved:

Between the confusing schedules and our misunderstanding we got on the wrong train and headed away from Pyeongtaek. After our distress became evident to those around us, an extremely nice, English-speaking lady on the train who told us to get off at the next stop and pointed to the right platform. Friend #1.

After waiting for about 10 minutes and being informed…I think…in Korean that the next train was the one we wanted, I stepped onto the train and was rescued by voice saying, “No, no!” It turns out the train I was getting on was the express that wasn’t going to be stopping at Pyeongtaek. Friend #2 or Carol as she told us in very good English. By the way, her Korean name is 서 지영 (pronounced “Seo Ji Young”).

Carol explained the trip schedule to us and stepped onto the correct train with us. She was heading in the same direction to meet her boyfriend and In fact, she wrote out in both English and Korean what train we needed to get back on to head home. To say that we were grateful for her help would be to understate the fact. She basically saved us from wandering aimlessly on the train system for hours.

Also, she gave us some great information about various Korean meals and activities there in and around Seoul.

Therefore, I would like to dedicate this post to 서 지영 and all her help.