On the weekend, we decided I needed to get an international driver’s license because I am the only one in the family who drives and when we go to America, I will be the one driving. We pulled my driver’s license out of my purse and realized it had expired. Korean driver’s licenses are good for a long, long time, much longer than an American license. I was surprised because the last time I looked at it I had a lot of time left. However, that meant I needed to go get my driver’s license updated before I could get an international driver’s license. My daughter told my Korean son in law that she wished he would go and help me, and he consented. This morning, we got up and put ourselves together and went to take care of my driver’s license.
Ever since I figured out that my driver’s license is expired, I have refused to drive, so we weren’t going to be able to take my car unless my son in law would consent to drive, but I knew he wouldn’t. He hates to drive even though he has a driver’s license. He didn’t want to take a taxi either. He likes riding the bus, so I consented to going the way he likes to go even thought my doctors have told me to stay out of the buses. He says he is afraid of taxis. He thinks they drive recklessly, and actually I am the only person he trusts to drive. There is actually not anything wrong with riding the bus, but I have leg problems sometimes, and the doctors have warned me against them to try to protect my legs.
We headed out of the house toward the license bureau. We began by walking down the road to the bus station. There was someone selling fruit on the corner. It looked really good, and if I wouldn’t have had to carry it all day, I might have bought some. We crossed the street and headed for the bus station. Almost as soon as we got there, the bus came, and we got on right away.
Walking to the Bus Stop and the Bus Stop
When you get on a Korean bus, there is a place at the entrance of the bus where you swipe your transportation card as you get on. However, I rarely ride a bus, so I don’t have a transportation card, but I could use my credit card, so I swiped my credit card. When I talked about swiping cards, my Korean son in law didn’t understand, so you may not either. You pass your card over the place, and it beeps to show that you have paid. We went and sat down. The windows were huge, and we were sitting up high, so we could see a lot out the window. This is why riding in busses is my son in law’s favorite mode of transportation–because he likes to look out the windows as he goes. There was also an air conditioner going. The ride itself was actually pleasant. I took some pictures out the window for you.
I took pictures out the bus window for you of things we passed. The first two at the top are Lotte Mall. After that, it is of Gimpo Airport, then a park, and the last picture is a picture of Jeju Airlines, the Korean airlines that takes you either to Jeju Island or to Japan. We finally had to press the button to get off the bus because the bus didn’t stop at the stop where we wanted to get off.
We finally got off the bus. We had to walk back down the street, and then cross the cross walk of a large busy street. Then, we had to walk down the street some more to get to the driver’s license bureau. Once we got in the parking lot, there were also gazebos where people were sitting and resting, probably people who had used public transportation. We had to walk across the parking lot, and on the way, I had an allergy attack and began coughing like crazy. There were lots of flowers blooming, and we thought perhaps it was the flowers. By the time we got in the building where we were going, I was sweating like crazy and still coughing. We had to find a place I could get a drink, and I calmed down.
We got a number to wait our turn, and our number came up right away. When we got up there, we found out that I couldn’t renew my driver’s license unless we went over to Mok Dong to Immigration and got me a special foreigner’s number. You see, I am considered retired in Korea, and I used to have a foreigner’s number and I.D. card when I was working, but now, because my university retired me, I no longer have those things, just a stamp in my passport to say I am legal.
My son in law said, “This is going to me more complicated than I thought. Should we take a bus to Mok Dong?” It takes patience to take buses, and taking a bus was complicating getting our task done, so I told him we should take a taxi to Mok dong. He agreed. We went back out of the parking lot and went back across the street. He thought we should wait for a taxi there and flag one down, but no taxis were coming. I saw a taxi stand across the way where several taxis were lined up, but he thought that they were going the wrong way, but I insisted that we ride one from there anyway, and he consented, so we walked back across the street and down the street to get a taxi.
I tried to take pictures out the window along the way for you to see the city, but it was harder than in the bus because the windows were smaller, and I was sitting lower. I saw several crosses signifying church buildings, but they were up so high I couldn’t get the pictures.
My son in law has taken a taxi so seldom that he didn’t know the system. He wanted to take the last taxi in the line, but I knew the taxi drivers would get mad if we tried that. I told him we had to take the first taxi in the line. He was right about taxis wanting to be going the way you are going, though. At times, if you flag a taxi down pointing the opposite direction of the way you want to go, they won’t take you. However, the first taxi was parked in such a way he could easily turn and take us to Mok Dong. We got in the taxi and headed for Mok Dong. I tried to get pictures along the way for you, but it wasn’t quite as easy because the windows were smaller and we were sitting lower than when we were in the bus.
We got to the office and were shown right in. We were told to go into the office that was marked “Global Talent.” When I was a professor, that is where I got my visas. They showed up up to the counter right away and issued me a special number to use to get my driver’s license renewed. It went really quickly. We went back outside and saw another taxi stand across the way, so we went there, to the first taxi, and they were pointed the way we needed to go too.
Before we got in, my son in law pointed out a place where several languages were written and suggested I take a picture. Next, he suggested I take a picture of a double decker bus that was sitting there, and I saw it was a church bus. There are many church buses in Korea. Since I was taking pictures, I decided to take a picture of a government building I had always liked because it made me think of a Japanese anime movie, “Spirited Away”. My Korean son in law didn’t understand why I wanted a picture of it because it was just a building to him.
We got into the first taxi. This taxi driver seemed scared to drive. He was constantly pumping his brake and shaking his steering wheel back and forth. When we got out, my son in law said, “Wow! That guy is really jittery! He says he has been driving for nine years. You would think he would calm down.” I suggested that maybe he had been in a wreck or something.
We got in the taxi and went back to the License Bureau. We realized it was already 1:30, past lunch, but we were okay, so we just kept going. We got our number and were shown up to the desk quickly. There was no problem, I renewed my driver’s license. Next, we got another number to go to a different desk to get my International Driver’s license. There was no problem, and we got it right away. We got it all done!
We headed out of the building and realized we were hot, tired, thirsty, and hungry. We decided not to take the bus home, but just get in another taxi because it was 3:00 already. It wasn’t an easy day. We got in the taxi and headed home to cold drinks, a late lunch, an air conditioner, and rest. I had to take Tylenol when I got home because I hadn’t protected my legs enough. After I ate, I fell asleep, and my son in law went to work. When I woke up, my legs were fine. When My daughter got home, the first thing she said was, “Did you get it? I want to see it!” She headed for my purse to see my international driver’s license.