After beating the odds of seedy cab ride roulette, our next destination was the Naju Image Theme Park – a popular set for filming historical Korean movies and television shows. Potato and Sugar debated bus numbers and we searched for the right bus stop.
“Are you sure? We could take 106.”
106 became the winning number. We relaxed for a half-hour trek through outside villages.
Soon our stop was nigh. Sugar pressed the ever-essential STOP button. Yet stop the bus did not.
“What the fuck,” Sugar contested. “I pressed the button.”
“Yeah, I saw you.”
“Yeo-gi-yo,” one of us said.
The bus driver noticed, said something in Korean that reeked of disparagement and contempt, stopped the bus, and let us off. It took ten minutes to walk back to the stop he skipped.
The Naju Theme Park was well worth its 2,000-won admission. Set in a rural field beside the YYongsanRiver, the castle-like park appeared frozen in time. While a foreboding concrete hostel and ubiquitous toilets provided anachronistic snaps back to reality, pictures proliferated.
After about an hour, we tired ourselves out and began our plans to return home. It would evolve into a surprisingly difficult multi-step process.
Step One: Board a local bus and return to the Naju Bus Terminal.
This wasn’t as difficult as it was time-consuming. Fortunately, we could pass the time playing with Junior’s cards. After about 30 minutes, Junior decided to ask the ticket attendant for help.
“The next bus comes at 6:05.”
“That’s about 45 minutes.”
“Maybe we should call a cab.”
Potato and I tried our Kakao Taxi apps.
There are no available taxis in your area. Please try again later.
Fortunately, the bus arrived on-time (not a guarantee in any country). The bus driver asked us where we wanted to go.
“Naju bu-se teo-me-neol” (Naju bus terminal).
“Yong-San change bus.”
So we boarded the bus and we waited. 30 minutes later, the bus pulled into what looked like a terminal. However, a red flag echoed in my mind.
“There are only local buses here. Why else would the bus driver tell us we had to change buses.”
Fortunately, Sugar mentioned earlier that we had to take the 160 bus to the Naju Terminal. We were on the 106. This was a local terminal (aside from a few sporadic inter-city routes).
However, I don’t think we all agreed on this fact. As Sugar and I bounded for the now-departing 160 bus, Potato, Alphaville, and Junior entered the terminal.
It all happened so fast. I didn’t get to say goodbye. Yet it was too late. The 160 bus pulled into the Naju streets and Sugar and I had to move on. Namak was our final destination. The others would have to fend for themselves.
Sugar thankfully had a new-ish phone with a far superior charge to me. Mine dwindled near 1%. We exited the bus at the correct stop and began power-walking-jogging to the terminal. We had ten minutes to board the 7:00 bus to Mokpo.
We entered what looked like the terminal.
“Yes. We made it.”
But wait. Where were the ticket machines? Where was the fleet of KIA Granbirds (the intercity buses)?
We tried using the ticket machine just to confirm our fears.
This is another local bus terminal.
My heart sank. I knew that 7:00 bus was our only chance of returning home at a decent time. Now I wouldn’t make it home until 10:00 at the earliest.
Just then, an angel descended in the form of an adjushi (older Korean man).
“Uh-dee-ga?” (Where are you going?”)
“Naju bu-se teo-me-neol.”
He pointed to the building next door.
We ambled across an asphalt courtyard into the proper terminal. I purchased the tickets while Sugar purchased water. Of course, our rushing was in vain. The bus was ten minutes late.
Our bus let us off in Namak, which was extremely fortunate. I removed my shoes and mentally kissed the floor at 8:18 P.M. – just in time to enjoy some dinner and pass out.
As Potato informed me the next day, her trip home was a bit more adventurous.
Despite Korea’s enviable public transportation system, no system is perfect. Sometimes confusion, human error, or system error will create mishaps. One must laugh through absurdities and difficulties. It’s the best prescription to maintain sanity.
Photo Corner – Hampyeong History Exhibit
Part of the Butterfly Festival consisted of a mannequin museum depicting Hampyeong’s history. The combination of creepy facial expressions and strange poses proved irresistible. I went crazy with the camera.
I don’t know why this guy is so happy, and I am okay with that. I’m sure the truth would give me nightmares.
I don’t know the rules of this game, but I feel like fraternities could incorporate this into their hazing curricula.
“Hello, little one. Why don’t you come to my shop? I have toys and cookies for you. You like candy, don’t you?”
“Come on, Jimmy! Whoop his ass!”
“Kick him in the nuts! Kick him in the nuts!”
The tearful faces and raised hands do not scream schoolhouse to me. Rather it suggests the (thankfully) fictional Hampyeong Massacre.
“Hey man, you got some stuff on your upper lip. I think it might be glue or cake icing or maybe some heavy cream?”
“Stupid Ipods. Stupid smartphones. Stupid Bluetooth headphones. It’s like no one has a need for boomboxes anymore.”
“I’ll give you 5,000 fon for those mittens.”
“The price is 10,000.”
“Who the hell taught you how to haggle?”
“What is haggle?”
That looks like a straitjacket hanging on the wall. I’m just going to assume this is a mental asylum and that woman is not allowed to have needles in the common areas.
“Open a bookstore, they said. Paper books are making a comeback they said.”
“Why are you smiling like that?”
“I’m not smiling.”
“You’re cheating, aren’t you?”
“Just admit it.”
“You can’t prove shit!”
When you plan a whole day of PPT lessons and find out the projector is broken.
“Do you like bread?
“Am I a police officer?”
“Is cake delicious?”
“Did you kill your husband?”
“Yeah- I mean…”
“Got you! You’re going to jail.”
My neighbor’s so smug with his perfect hair, perfect smile, and the perfect government job. If only I didn’t plow his perfect wife every Saturday when he goes to Gangjin on business. Then his life would really be perfect.
Not sure if this is a child or a midget. Either way, he is pooping which made it worth the picture.
“Oh no. Tom the town drunk is at it again – pissing on telephone poles and shit.”
When a bold hair decision makes you reevaluate your whole life in five minutes.
“You said you were taller on your Tinder profile.”
“And you said you were looking to have fun. Why don’t we just skip dinner and hit up a motel down the road?”
Judging by the wand in his hand, I can only assume that Hogwarts revamped their adult education program.