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OPINION

Heart and Seoul

While the city of Goyang is a mere 25 kilometers from the capital of Seoul, it felt as though it was 100 kilometers away.

It wasn’t exactly located in the countryside since there were lots of high-rises and is the home of a massive complex that includes an arena, a gymnasium and sprawling exhibition halls.

It was where Manny Pacquiao and DK Yoo fought in a special exhibition match a few days ago.

Other than its world-class facilities, Goyang practically had nothing to offer in terms of attractions.

Sure, the eateries scattered around the city were fabulous but to remain there the rest of your visit will be an utter waste of time.

So, you had to find ways to go to Seoul.

And that’s exactly what I did.

On the eve of the event, I attempted to go to Seoul for a change in scenery.

I tried to test my navigational skills and use public transport instead of the more convenient taxi ride that cost an arm and a leg.

Armed with instructions from the hotel’s front desk, I stepped out of the hotel dressed appropriately.

I wore a warmer, long-sleeved cotton shirt, a blazer and a bubble jacket as the temperature had dropped to -1 Celsius when the sun went down.

I have been to Korea many times and I knew its winter is bone-chilling.

But there’s simply no way you can endure it.

Anyway, I got inside a bus in the hopes of seeing myself in Hongdae, a trendy district in Seoul.

You know what?

I didn’t even get to Seoul.

Sensing that the clock was ticking and I was in unfamiliar territory, I decided to return by using the same numbered bus on the other side of the road.

Mission failed.

But I was determined to see Seoul as I could not tire of experiencing its vibrancy, sample its street food, window-shop and wander around like it was the old days.

So after filing my stories, I headed out again.

Knowing that I had a morning flight the following day, I swallowed my pride and found myself inside a cozy cab en route to Seoul.

Enough of tricky bus rides.

Spent around four hours in Myeongdong and as I was famished, I had to take something to keep my energy going.

Had bulgogi japchae, gamja hotdog and dakkochi and pretty soon, I was bouncing around, going in and out of stores energized.

Before I knew it, it was close to midnight and it was time to return to Goyang so I could start packing my stuff.

I hailed a taxi but the driver was asking for too much.

“80,000 (Korean won),” he said, knowing I was desperate to get back.

From Goyang to Seoul earlier, I only paid almost 30,000 won so I thought it would be 50,000 for the return trip since it was late in the day.

What I did next was ask for help from a hotel’s front desk.

“Hi there Mr. Park, I am not staying here but I was hoping if you could help me get a taxi (going to Goyang) because some guy was attempting to screw me.”

Mr. Park, dressed somehow like James Bond, got his phone and began exploring other options.

“Mister, I have got you a driver and he’ll be here in five minutes.”

“You are going to pay between 45,000 to 48,000,” he said.

A few moments later, his phone rang.

And it was the driver on the line.

“Follow me, please.”

He led me to the cab, opened the door for me and gently pushed it.

Gamsahamnida (Thank you).

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