Cultural Musings

The peak of frustration…

Mondays, are they anybody’s favorite? I would love to meet someone who actually likes Mondays, I will take their temperature and check their psychological medical records.

There are days when living in another country excites me to no end and then there are days when I say to myself, “Have Koreans been living under a rock all these years…”

Among a few nuisances today here are the two that topped the charts:

1) I went to the Songtan train station to buy tickets to Busan for Joe and me for our Memorial Day Weekend trip to Jeju-do. After trying, unsuccessfully, to communicate with the ticket agent for 3 min. I called Ally and asked her why I couldn’t purchase a ticket to Busan at the Songtan train station. She said they don’t sell train tickets at the subway stations. I could understand if I was attempting to purchase a train ticket at, say, a grocery store but where is the logic behind not being able to buy a train ticket at a freakin’ train station? The train stations are all connected. I know I need to take a subway train to Pyeongtaek and transfer to a KTX Speed train to Busan but I can’t purchase the KTX ticket at the Songtan station. I have to physically go to Pyeongtaek (30 min. away without traffic) to buy tickets to Busan. Can Korea not figure out how to hook up their train systems so that all their stations can sell tickets to other stations? Now, I have to either drive to Pyeongtaek or take the train there tomorrow just to buy tickets to Busan for 2 weeks from now. For a country that is “supposedly” technologically advanced, I have yet to understand the outdated ways of some of their business systems.

2) As I was sitting behind 5 cars at a stoplight today, a man collapsed in an intersection. A young man, merely walking across the road, fell down for no visible reason. Not one person walked over or got out of their cars at the red light to see if he was ok. All the cars at all 4 stops just sat there. Had I been closer I would have gotten out to check on him but I was at the top of a hill about 60 yards away. I picked up my cell phone to call 119 (Korea’s 911) as I realized I had no way to explain where I was. There are no real street names and the only deciphering landmark I could explain was the Songtan bus terminal. But there are many streets and intersections around the bus station. Just then, someone finally got out of their car and helped the man to his feet. They then walked him to the side of the road and stayed there with him as the rest of the cars sat, trying to figure out how to maneuver around the car parked at the intersection. Taking turns was not an obvious option to these people. Honking, swerving and cutting others off seemed a much better idea to the drivers. The man seemed ok as I drove by but I was, indeed, shocked that it took that long for anyone to see what happened. If he had had a heart attack he would have died before anyone did anything.

There is only one logical thing to do when you feel this frustrated – go home and take a nap and that’s exactly what I did!

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2 thoughts on “The peak of frustration…

  1. I just wanted to let you know that I think the train you need to get to Pusan leaves from Cheonan not Pyeongtaek.

  2. Unbelievable, the whole thing, unbelievable!!! Not only the way you tell the story, but the story to be told. Can anyone put a price on logic?? I think at this point, my dear daughter, you’d pay a buck twenty five for the smallest bit of it!!!!

    Love You Much,
    Momma & Dad

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