Chinese New Year

February 6, 2011

Fair warning: this blog will be a bit of a rant, as I really didn’t enjoy my five-day holiday. If you value your upbeat attitude and smiley face, I suggest you pass on this entry and wait until the next one.

The Lunar New Year is to Korea what the Calendar New Year is to Japan and many other nations: a time for families to return to their countryside homes and gather for food and celebration. Fortunately, this year the three holidays were attached to a weekend, making it the perfect opportunity to travel around the country.

But I didn’t.

I’m letting my frustration build and built over here, for no good reason. I decided to stay in Bugu for a few days to catch up on some writing, sleep late, and generally just be by myself. But, of course, I planned to get out of town for the weekend, and go to Seoul for a friend’s going away party. A good idea… in theory.

Rant: buses in Korea. Most of the time, not a problem. But they should be more reliable. I’ve already had a bus to Seoul take 8 HOURS for what should have been a 4-hour ride. I guess I can’t blame it on the snow, or the driver, but, with recent events, I wish the bus service had at least given notice that routes would be rerouted and delayed. Foot-and-mouth disease is still a big problem in South Korea, and it can be spread via the soil caught in tire treads. I can only assume certain motorways were closed during the holiday to prevent major traffic from potentially spreading the disease, because the next thing I knew, my bus was routed through Chuncheon (좘천). Six hours on a bus with no food or water. No explanation. I was not happy.

But, I tried to make the best of things in Seoul. I found myself in a dance club called Monkey Beach for the night. Things were going rather well: cheap tequila, fire dancers, good ambiance… until the girl whose departure we were celebrating had to leave, along with a few others. Not only that, but I didn’t really have a good escape plan to get back to the hostel for the night, short of paying 20,000 Won on a taxi. Instead, I waited for the trains to start up at 5:30, killed a little time playing blackjack (down 200,000), and crashed around 8 AM.

The root of my problem with this situation isn’t so much what happened; let’s face it, I’ve made the best out of far worse scenarios. It’s the fact that I don’t find traveling by myself as satisfying anymore. Even a platonic friend would have been preferable to walking solo… like every little thing called attention to the fact I didn’t have a pretty lady by my side. Keep in mind this is the week BEFORE Valentine’s Day. I strolled past cat cafes, Okonomiyaki restaurants (nice Hiroshima-style one, by the way), and the usual clubs offering the world to any ladies who might stop inside for a drink. My experiences, my perception of events is just starting to blend together. I see one club, I’ve seen them all. Like I need someone with a fresh set of eyes to remind me why I’m out here, why it is that I choose to travel the world.

Six months in Korea. Halfway there.

One Response to Chinese New Year

  1. Angela on February 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I understand your feeling about traveling solo, I’ve been traveling alone for quite a long time and I admit sometimes can be very hard. I still like it though πŸ˜‰
    Maybe Korea is not the best place for traveling by yourself?
    Happy Chinese New Year, may the rabbit bring more joy and prosperity than the tiger!

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