Waiting….and waiting….and waiting (Day 219)
A lot of waiting....and waiting....and waiting today. Being a traveller, you definitely need to have patience, go with the flow and a good sense of humour.
A lazy morning and then we finally got out. Today we aimed to buy a sim, go to see the Namsan Seoul Tower (known as N. Seoul Tower – yes it is on the Lonely Planet’s top 500) and then have a stroll along Cheong-gye-cheon. It took us a bit longer to get out as in our little ensuite, the tap for the shower and for the sink is the same and unfortunately, when I went to clean my teeth, I’d forgotten to change the valve. Yes, I got covered with water! We caught the bus to where Tim had found a KT Telecom shop. According to his research, their sims are the cheapest. After some time of using Google translate to converse, we were told that the only place to buy a sim is at the Airport. How weird? Why? We were in there for quite a while trying to determine what we could do rather than travel all the way back to the airport and finally, we decided to go and try another place. Further down the road was SK Telecom. We nonchalantly walked in and asked for the sim, again google translate was a great help. These Apps are amazing, how did people travel before the internet? How did I manage to travel 30 years ago? The young lady serving us looked scared as a rabbit. She asked for Tim’s passport, took a copy then processed the information into the computer. She took ages trying to decipher where she needed to put what. We waiting patiently, I sat and read a book whilst Tim was people watching. We didn’t even know the price or how much data we could buy, so were slightly perturbed that she had Tim’s ID. Eventually, she asked a colleague to assist her. Cut a very long story short and a lot of waiting, we finally received the sim with 5GB and telephone number (we didn’t need that but she would have had to start all over again – no worries, we’ll have the phone number). Phew, that took a very long time. Grateful that we managed to get a sim though. Next was to buy a travel card – luckily that was fairly quick, still not totally straightforward. Being a traveller, you definitely need to have patience, go with the flow and a good sense of humour. We knew which train to catch, platform 1, but when we got there, it was saying a different place. We must have looked confused – good job I have one of those faces which people can easily read! A man came up and asked if we needed help. “Yes please” we cried. Apparently, we needed zone 1, and then platform 5. Ah – it makes perfect sense when you know how! We thanked him with our best Komap Sumnadi – he laughed and we went on our way. Next was a bus and then a walk to the N. Seoul Tower which is located in the middle of the Namsan Park on the top of Mount Namsan. Our google map showed a straight line from the bus stop to the top. Mmm….no pathway going straight up. We, eventually, found the correct path, a long 1km climb with steps all the way. Great…my favourite…steps….not. However, I was thrilled that when we reached the top, I was fine and passed quite a few (younger) people struggling. Hurrah! I must be getting fitter. At the top was an area with loads of colourful padlocks or lovelocks adorning some railings. This craze is believed to have started in China! We queued for our tickets to the 360-degree viewing platform and noticed that for another 2,000 Won we could get a drink each and some popcorn. Yay! (It’s 1,474 Won to £1). Bargain! Plus the trip up to the viewing deck was only 10,000 Won each (£6.78). We picked up our popcorn and drink – a massive bucket of caramel popcorn and a huge cup of Sprite later, we reached the top to see magnificent views. We sat to eat some of the popcorn and got chatting to Almaz and her 17-year-old girl daughter Hairmon from Texas. Hairmon wants to study in the medical field here in South Korea. How inspiring is that! She has been learning Korean and is visiting 3 Universities in the next week. Sadly their luggage got lost and after two weeks it has only just been returned to them. We shared how we travel with carry-on only. They looked quite shocked! Hairmon was such a lovely spritely girl, confident, full of life and wanting to learn. We so enjoyed chatting with them and I can imagine that Almaz is very proud of her daughter. It was going to be sunset in 45 minutes, the best time to be up on the viewing deck so we decided to wait…and wait….and wait. Sadly the sun decided to hide behind some clouds that had suddenly appeared so the sunset wasn’t anything to write home about. I’d finished the book I was reading though. We made our way down the lift, down the 1km of stairs to the bus stop, two buses later we were back home. Cheong-gye-cheon will have to be for another day.