Subway is by far my preferred method of transport in Korea. It’s always quite a novelty because apart from the Luas line we have nothing of the sort in Ireland. I’m super lucky that I live a short walk from Geumneung Station on the Gyeonggi Line. Up here in Paju, we’re slightly special. We have our own line connecting us with central Seoul but its not a subway so much as a train. But not a KTX so don’t get confused. It’s quite new, only having started in 2009 so in the winter it’s toasty warm and in the summer the air conditioning actually works.
according to some Seoul subway is the best in the world; http://jalopnik.com/5958482/the-best-subway-systems-in-the-world I can see why. When it comes to directions and getting places, I’m not exactly Einstein but this subway is idiot proof. You can figure it out in no time and the transfer are clearly marked at each station.
It isn’t without its faults, however. At peak hours it’s a case of; (substitute bus for subway)
Seriously though, I’ve been on the subway where I thought I was in an episode of “how many people can we fit in this subway car without anyone dying?”
Most weekends, I usually spend so much time on the subway, that I almost consider it home. From Geumneung, it takes 33 minutes to get to DMC where I then transfer, sometimes several times, to get to my final destination. The following entertainment is usually available on the subway;
1. Great characters; You find these people everywhere. The ones who talk to themselves are the best. The people who have had slightly too much soju and are having difficulty in maintaining correct conduct. The randomers who speak enough English to have a chat to you. The church people who are always more than happy to talk to you about the Bible. Sometimes the adjussis like to shout at each other. The list goes on.
2. The sellers; On some of the subway lines, you can buy things. I fairly sure it’s illegal but who wouldn’t want a singing top thing or a cheap packet of plasters? Once I bought a pair of fleecy tights and seriously they were the business, I practically lived in them my first winter. Anyway, it’s always entertaining to watch their sales pitch and see how much they manage to sell.
3. The foreigners; There’s always that “what to do, what to do?” moment when you see other foreigners on the subway. It’s like “didn’t you get the memo that I was taking this subway?” Then of course you must just ignore them because that’s clearly what normal people do. Heaven forbid two foreigners would talk to each other.
4. The nut man; I love the nut man. He should be in the post with the “Great characters” but he’s so great I gave him one for himself. It’s a shame I don’t have a picture because he is such a legend. I’ve only ever seen him on the special Gyeonggi Line ( we’re so cool we have our own nut man). He always has a doctors white coat on with pants and white trainers and sometimes has one of the white hair nets on. All he sells are peanuts. He just goes from cart to cart rattling his steel cups together and selling his snacks.
5. The sleepers; No matter what time of the day you take the subway, there are always sleepers. Sometimes they snore, sometimes they fall off the seat slightly and sometimes they take up the entire row. This is especially the case on a Sunday morning when the revellers from the night before are struggling to make it home.
And if you don’t like all of the above entertainment, you could always pass the time reading a book………..