My love/hate relationship with Korean buses

Don’t take me wrong.  The 60 minutes I spend on the bus going to and coming from school are, without a doubt, the most 60 minutes of my day.  No pressure to get ready, no one making ridiculous timetable changes, telling you to actually work, no crazy children running around picking their noses and offering the snots to you for a snack. No. It’s 60 minutes of the day where I’m free to do whatever I want.  Usually, my chosen activities are;(in no particular order)

1. Reading– Excellent way to beat in the time.  Get lost in a book and spend the day thinking of how the next part is going to go.

2. Sleeping– If you read my post about the sleepwalking then you already know that if I have a bad night, I can tell by being super tired the next day. 

3. Doing my Korean homework; Yes, TOPIK doesn’t get passed by fluke. I can’t escape on the bus so I’m forced to actually do the homework.

4. Listening to music; Sometimes, when I’m in that singing mood, I do my special “silent singing” where I’m mouthing all the words but there’s no sound escaping.  This causes people to think 1) This girl is crazy or 2) Wow,  that must be great music.  I’m actually improving at the silent singing and feel I sound great.

The buses are reliable, cheap and always seem to drop you within walking distance of wherever it is you want to go. 

But, while that’s all well and good, I do encounter a problem on the bus that actually really bothers me.  Every day, I am the last person Korean people sit beside. In fact some days, people stand up rather than take the last seat beside me.  I’ve given this a lot of thought and have come up with some reasons to explain this peculiar behaviour.

1) I smell bad.  Impossible.  Since the discovery of the bus problem, I’ve made an extra special effort to smell of perfume from a bottle and I’ve been know to take the occasional shower.

2) I smell too good.  Also impossible since the problem arose before I made that extra special effort.

3) People are jealous of my silent singing skills.  Impossible since I’m the only one who can hear it.

4) People don’t want to climb over me to get to the next seat.  Now this one is actually legitimate and something I hate myself.  So I’ve tried (for social research purposes only) sitting in each seat and the effect is the same- no one will sit next to me. 

5) The seat beside me is damaged.  Nope.

6) My seat is in a bad location.  Is this even possible on a bus?

7) I’m foreign.  Well since 1-6 are useless reasons, 7 is the only one that makes sense.   What do people think I’m going to do to them if they sit next to me?????????? Eat them? Kill them? Heaven forbid I might actually talk to them. 

The really interesting thing is that whenever there are brave souls who are willing to sit next to the foreigner they are from one of two groups; 1) Adjummas, who have no choice but to sit down for fear of falling or 2) Young students, who then giggle their way through the journey. 

Everyone in between will never sit next to me.  I actually wonder if this is a problem that affects other foreigners travelling by bus to work or just me????????

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5 thoughts on “My love/hate relationship with Korean buses

  1. I think you may possible be thinking too much about it. perhaps the real reason is the colour of your hair!! Try wearing a hat see if that helps!!

  2. Yeah, I reckon it’s because.you’re foreign. I never sit beside foreigners on the bus either…unless there’s a mirror, but that isn’t the case half as much as you’d think/hope.

  3. I have to say that I experienced the exact same thing in Mexico! Whenever I’d take a bus to work for an hour – whether it was the Metrobus or the little microbuses – I would be the *last* person people would come and sit beside … and sometimes they’d rather stand than sit next to me. It was definitely a foreign thing … Or maybe I do smell. :/

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