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Trekking Around Seoul Without a Car

I sold my car yesterday, but that doesn’t mean I have no where to go. I am still trying to prepare to go to America. I went out today trying to accomplish several things to prepare for the trip. I had tried calling the medical clinic because I need to check in with my doctor before I leave. However, one number I had didn’t work anymore and the other was a machine. I decided the first thing I needed to do was to connect with the doctor’s office. I hoped if I got there early enough, there would be a spot for me to get in today, and it would all be finished. I began my trek.

I got up early and headed for the closest taxi stand to my house. I was in luck because the taxis were lined up waiting for passengers. I was even in luck with the taxi driver because he wasn’t crazy at all. He seemed ver deliberate and serious about what he was doing. I was impressed until I saw him change lanes without signaling first. I guess not one is perfect. He dropped me in front of Women’s Ewha University Hospital in Mok dong.

I went to the international clinic. The nurse agreed that I really should see a doctor before I go, but she wouldn’t make an appointment for today. She made an appointment for Friday, so I guess I have to go back on Friday. Before I left, I went to the convenience store and bought a bottle of water and a rice ball because I had eaten breakfast really early and was afraid I would be getting hungry soon. I caught another taxi that was sitting in front of the hospital.

The tellers in Korea get to sit down.

This taxi cab driver was easy to get along with too. I headed for the bank. He didn’t know exactly which bank I was talking about, but he was cooperative. He was surprised when we got there. I had had good luck with cab drivers. At the bank, I had to close my account. I sent all the money to my son in law’s account so I could open one in America and let him send it to me there. I had two banks, and the second one was in walking distance, so I walked to it. I walked through a neighborhood that we never go to at night. It is okay in the day, but at night, it is where everyone goes to party and get drunk. One Sunday morning, I had to drive through this neighborhood, and there were drunks still there form the night before. There was a pretty young Korean girl who had gotten drunk,and there were two men helping her walk across the street. The leaders among the students at KCU try to keep the younger students out of this neighborhood. The serious Christian students from KCU don’t like this neighborhood at all, and it is in walking distance from KCU.

An advertisement for a coin singing room in the bad neighborhood. You can see in the background a sign adverting “hof” (German beer) and “soju” (Korean whiskey).
Advertisements for a bar and for a singing room in the bad neighborhood. The singing room is called “The Madonna Nore Bang.”
You can see part of an eel in the fish tank. This was at a restaurant on the bad street. They take it out and cook it directly from the water.
More fish tanks with live fish inside at the restaurant.
There are lots of fish just waiting to be eaten in these tanks.
Strange looking fish waiting to be eaten.
If you are driving, you have to pay this guy to let you park your car. These guys are everywhere in Seoul This guy was down by the bank. If you look on his neck, he has two fans wrapped around his neck blowing n him. These fans run on batteries.
The weather was hot, and lots of ladies were walking with umbrellas. They are scared of the sun. No one wants a tan in Korea. You can see the bank on the right.

I kept walking and got to the second bank. I didn’t have much money in this bank, but I closed my account anyway. The school had made me open it to receive my salary. They don’t give you paychecks in Korea. They place money in a bank for you.

There were police buses lined up down by Gangseogu Office.

Next, I headed for the phone place. The bank was behind Ganseogu chang, the city office. There was a line of police buses by the office.

A policeman directing traffic n the main street.
I had to cross to the other side to get a taxi. You can see another lady with an umbrella. No, it isn’t raining. They don’t like the sun.
I found a taxi.
Inside the taxi.
On a bus that was next to the taxi

I walked to the main road where the city office was. The phone place was down by Hwagok Station. When I first came to Seoul, I used to walk to Hwagok Station from where I was, but it is about a thirty to forty minute walk. The day is hot, and I am not as young as I used to be, and I didn’t want to walk that far. If I wanted a taxi, I had to cross the road. Taxi cabs only take people who are going the way they go. I went to the cross walk and crossed. I found a taxi to talk me to the station. It was a lot quicker and easier than walking. It had been a long time since I had taken a taxi to Hwgok Station, and when I told the taxi cab driver where to go, he didn’t understand. I had to back up and remember the crazy way I used to say Hwgok Station to get the taxi cab drivers to understand. I said, “Hwagong yong,” and he got it right away. It is spelled “Hwagok yok,” but that is not how it is said.

This little woman had her shop spread all over the sidewalk at the subway station.
I had to cross the street again. Here is another lady with an umbrella.
I see the phoe place in front on the right hand side.
They couldn’t open my phone so I could use it in America.
They had Kentucky Friend Chicken down by the station, but this is not the Kentucky Friend Chicken you are used to. The fried chicken is downright spicy!

Down at the station, I had to cross back to the to other side of the street to go to the phone place. My daughter said had to get them to open the phone so I could use it in America. However, the people at the phone place said they couldn’t open the phone, and they would have to open it in America.

I decided to go home by subway.
There is a Korea Christian University sign at the subway station because you can catch a free shuttle bus from here to KCU if you are a KCU student or professor.
When I used to use this subway station a lot, there was no escalator, only stairs, but they have put an escalator in.
You have to go through here to ride the subway. You scan your ticket. However, I have a credit card, so I can just scan my credit card to ride.
Once I went through the turn styles, on the other side there wee signs saying to ride the subway, I have to go down the stairs. You look for subway names on the signs to make sure you are taking the right subway.
They were coming up the stairs as I was going down. If you look at the top of the picture, you can see the names of subways tops along the line. It is line 5, the purple line, and since I want to go to Bangwha (all the way to the right on the sign), then I have to ride on the left side of the platform because this sign is on the left side of the stairway.
The sign says the people who want to go to bangwha or Gimpo should go to the subway on the left, and the ones wanting to go to Sandil dong and Machon must right the subway on the right side of the platform.
Once you are down n the platform, you can see up over the door which way that subway is going. In the middle is the name of the station where you are, and it has the name of the station both directions.
There is a map on the wall telling all the subway stops on that line.

I decided that since I was at the station anyway that I would take the subway home. I used to use this subway all the time before I got a car. It only had stairs then, but they had new escalators,so I took the escalators. One of the reasons I stayed with a car was because the doctors had told me that I shouldn’t be catching buses and subways, but needed to go in a car because of my health.

When I got in the subway, I was lucky. There were hardly any people inside, so a seat was easy to get. During rush hour, this place would be full of people with hardly room to even stand.
Before we got to my stop, the subway was almost completely empty. There was just me and another lady.
When I got out of the subway at Bangwha, I went upstairs and then through the turnstiles again where I had to scan my card again.
It is hard to get lost in the subways because there are maps everywhere.
I decided to take the elevator out. There were no escalators at this station, only stairs or the elevator.

There weren’t many people on the subway at all today, and it was easy to get a seat. I took the subway to Bangwha Station, the last station on the line. I was getting pretty tired, so when it was time to come out of the subway, I came up the elevator. There was a lady in the elevator, and I made a comment about how hot it was out, and she insisted I needed to get an umbrella to use, and it would seem cooler to me.

This lady told me to get an umbrella to protect myself from the sun.
When I came out of the elevator at the station, there were lots of bikes chained up.
This is the elevator that comes up from underground into the street. There is a lady under a big umbrella selling traditional Korean snacks in front of the elevator.
There is a coffee shop down at Bangwha station.
There were teddy bears at the coffee shop.
There was a store where you could get cold drinks and ice cream.
There is a shop with rice cakes down at the station. You can find these int he States, but only at import shops. They are delicious.
The road toward home/ Hey, there is another lady with an umbrella.
I bought tape for packing from a guy with an outdoor shop on the way home.
I finally see my apartment building.
The gardener must have left his hat on the fence.

I headed down the road toward my house. I walked home from the subway station. I passed an outdoor shop and saw some tape. I bought it because I had used all the tape we had packing. I walked on home. It was hot, and I was tired. I was so happy to get in the air conditioning in the apartment! My trek for the day was finished, and I had accomplished some good things.

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