Monday, March 30, 2009

Seoul - Summary Of Day 11

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After more than a week in Seoul, I am finally back. Taken at the floor of Niigata station.
  • It was my final day in Seoul and I didn't plan to go anywhere already as I got to catch a flight later that evening. Woke up pretty late as usual and started to pack my stuff; me being someone who often leave behind his things whenever he visits a new place, I didn't want to take any chance and I'm quite proud of myself as I didn't leave behind anything this time.
  • One of their senior who had dinner with us the previous night, Juan Lin joined the other six of us for lunch. Had gamjatang at a nearby restaurant. Gamjatang or pork bone soup is a spicy Korean soup made with pork spine, vegetables, green onions, hot peppers and ground wild sesame seeds. Too bad not many gamja or potatoes where put inside the soup as I love potatoes very much. Nevertheless, it taste marvelous and it's one of the best dish I had in Seoul. The rice, which was cooked using the gravy from our gamjatang that they ordered after that was really nice too.
  • Soon enough, it was time for me to take the bus to the airport; had a group pictures with all eight of them before leaving. Heng Chiang and Wei Guang sent me at the Korea University bus stop and the bus arrived about ten minutes later. It could be years from now before we get to meet with each other again and we bid farewell there.
  • I got to say that city limousine bus driver had a super scary driving skills. He practically just pulled his hand break and stepped on the break pedal so many times and all the times it's done out of a sudden which made the ride an unpleasant one. It was as if we were riding on a roller coaster. It stopped at Gimpo International Airport first and by the time I reached Inchon International Airport, it was already five; my flight was scheduled to depart at six. I could have missed my flight if I missed the bus earlier. Without wasting much time, I headed to the check-in counter queue and was given a tag to proceed to the counter straight away when the staff saw my flight's time. So, I didn't have to queue behind the long line.
  • The departing hall was just nearby and it wasn't as rush as I had feared initially; in fact, I still had time to grab some Korean seaweed and Toblerone chocolates at the duty-free shop after I went passed the security checks. Was among the last to go through the boarding gate and before anything, the flight began to move already.
  • It was just a short two-hour journey but it was during this flight that I got to know someone of the opposite sex. However, I think it shouldn't worry Michelle as that lady was almost three times my age. I had a window sit and the two seats to my right were empty. Halfway through the journey, a lady in a green shirt came and sat down on one of the seats and I saw she was holding a yellow paper. It was the immigration declaration form which we had to hand in upon arrival. She looked a bit lost but I didn't say anything yet.
  • I stood up to take out my spare camera battery and I nodded at her before I got back to my seat. Not long after that, she approached me and asked for my help on filling that form. Too bad it was in Korean and I couldn't read a single word; so I suggested her to get a Japanese version. She was still struggling when she filled the form and I offered to help her out, as in telling her what are the information needed. As the address section was a bit long, she asked me to write it for her because her eyesight wasn't that good.
  • From her address, I got to know that she is staying in Fukushima prefecture, located south of Niigata prefecture. It was from then that we started to chat and I found out that she was a Korean, married to a Japanese guy. She changed her nationality as she has been living in Japan for ten years and she went back to South Korea to visit her family in Inchon, about twenty minutes away from the airport. She make a trip back to her hometown about once a year, usually during the spring break in March.
  • Though she now holds a Japanese passport, Korea is still in her heart. She asked me if if I find it good living in Japan but I replied her honesty by saying not everything in Japan is good, which she agreed.
  • Then came one point that she found out that I wasn't a Japanese and she was taken aback with that. Her expressions when I said I'm a Malaysian was so funny, her eyes were opened so widely. I asked her if I look like a Japanese; she looked at me and said I look more like an American, though haha.
  • Her Japanese still has Korean slang and there were a few times I couldn't get what she said. She can speak and write the Japanese characters (hiragana and katakana) but not kanji. I learned that she studied Japanese by her own and through daily conversations with the people around her.
  • There was a section for occupation and she said she does nothing at home but just cooked for her husband, who is a bus driver. So, I assume she's a housewife. Then came one funny part when I asked her if she brings anything into Japan. Instantly, she waved like so kan cheong and quickly said that she brought nothing lol.
  • We were chatting so happily and without realising it, the pilot instructed us to get ready for landing already. Nevertheless, it was my first time talking to a total stranger in a plane. I still remember my first time taking a plane when I came to Japan two years ago; a middle-aged Japanese guy was sitting next to me and he looked so scary lol. Before the plan landed, we even camwhore no less than five tries, and the fun part is she layan me haha. Before we parted, she gave me a packet of chocolate and kept on telling me to study hard, grow up and become someone in the future.
  • Reached Niigata International Airport slightly earlier than scheduled. The feeling was just different once I stepped out from the plane, just like what the lady told me. It's the same whenever I am back home; you will just feel that there is something different and yet, it's somehow unexplainable.
  • The immigration procedure was so much simpler and it within ten minutes, I was at the arrival hall already. I felt so much easier once I returned because it felt like I'm back home; maybe because of the language spoken. The immigration guy asked my whether I'm currently studying here and before he returned my passport, he said "ganbatte kudasai" to me with a friendly smile without going through my stuff.
  • Relieved that there were still two rounds of shuttle bus to the train station; otherwise, I would have to take the taxi there and it definitely will cost a bomb. Went to the toilet to do my business; just small business anyway. Since I still got some time, I called baby whom I know she was waiting for my call and also made a call to my mom. I forgot to prepare my yen and luckily the bus driver had change as I only got 10,000 yen notes; all my coins were somewhere deep inside my backpack.
  • Grab some bread and snacks at the convenience store before I took the train back to Nagaoka. The ride was roughly seventy minutes and Muazam fetched me upon reaching the train station back to the hostel. Managed to sent off two of my seniors who had graduated to the station at midnight. Slept early out of exhaustion and started to tidy up my new room as I'm moving into a new one once the school reopen.
  • This is the last entry of the daily summary of my Seoul's trip and detailed entries will follow after this, although I'm not sure how soon is that. Just wanna extend a simple thank you to all of them - Heng Chiang, Wei Guang, Adrian, Kuan Xin, Xiang Xing, Hoong Shin, Khek Hun, Chan Hang and Lionel, who had been a great host during my time there.

4 comments:

specialhuman said...

so syok make new fren on the plane

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
it's something you don't get everyday =)

ven said...

Geez, read through all your 11 days of journey. I guess if I were in Korea I will surely visit one of the many bars/pubs and at least their karaoke once.

Anyway, this caught my eyes

"She asked me if if I find it good living in Japan but I replied her honesty by saying not everything in Japan is good, which she agreed."

It's because it's not home.

calvin said...

@ ven:
we almost went for some karaoke after the birthday celebration but it was called off at the last minute. anyway, i'm not a fan of drinking, so bars and pubs aren't the place that will top my places-to-visit list.

by the way, i love your last line =)