One of the main reasons why I am here in the first place is because of my good high school friend Kelly. She has been living in Korea for one year now and plans to stay for another year. She really encouraged me and gave me all the information I needed to get here in one piece. Without her, I would not be here right now. After a few weeks of me being in Korea we finally decided to meet up.
Unfortunately she does not live directly in Seoul. She lives in another city about 20 minutes away from me, relatively speaking, called Bucheon. We planned to meet at around 8:00 for dinner and she assured me that I could easily take a 20 minute cab ride. It was my first taxi ride. I have been purposely avoiding the taxi because A.) I don’t know my surroundings that well yet. B.) Taxi drivers will take advantage of foreigners. and C.) It’s expensive. I like to be on time for everything so I left my apartment at 7:00 P.M. leaving plenty of time for finding a cab,language barrier issues, etc. It was pouring rain and there were luckily cabs lined up and down my street waiting for people like me. The cabs are extremely nice. They are brand new with leather seats and high tech. GPS systems. I thought this would be a breeze. Little did the cab driver know what he was in for.
Asking him to take me outside of Seoul was a lot to ask as it was. With Seoul being the most populated city in the world and the fact that it was a Friday night, I should have put two and two together. We immediately hit traffic and were dead stopped for twenty minutes. I watched the meter as it climbed to almost 10 dollars and we had barely moved. For the next hour, it was stop and go and then we would get going, make a turn, and hit more traffic. Absolute insanity. As I watched the GPS go from 20 KM to 1KM, I started to get excited. Then, I my cab driver opened his window and started screaming in Korean to the driver next to him. He was lost. We ended up going past the destination because he put the wrong destination in his GPS. So much for technology. At this point I knew I was being taken advantage of so I called Kelly and she talked me through it and told me to pay only a certain amount and not what was on the meter. Luckily, I soon realized I had the nicest cab driver in the world. He put his daughter on his cell phone and gave the phone to me. His daughter spoke fluent English, and told me not to worry. She told me how sorry her father was and that he would bring me there very soon. So we were all laughing and the cab driver screamed, “Thank You Very Much, I’m Sorry” at me and started laughing because those were probably the first English words he had ever spoken.
So an hour and half later and a $30 cab ride finally got me to reunite with my friend. We had an amazing night of Korean BBQ, beer, and soju. I rekindled an old friendship and made some new friends. Needless to say, I took the bus back home. Now that I know I can take the bus outside of Seoul, I will stick to buses and subways from now on.