The subway is a great place, filled with great people, great potential and a nice mix of stories that will keep you talking over lunch. Most of the time you think the journey will be great craic, but sometimes it turns out to something a little different. Here are some things that can go wrong on your beloved subway ride;
1. The machine eats your money; You try to top up your T Money card and the machine just eats your 10,000w. Then you press the help button, to talk to a Korean adjussi who totally has no idea what you’re saying and now you have hope of getting you 10,000w back. You look around asking for help with your eyes and everyone pretends they can’t see you. And you haven’t even gotten on the subway.
2. You get the subway in the wrong direction; You’re in downtown Seoul and you hop on the subway you think is your subway. You find a seat, pull out your Kindle and settle into your book. After about oh 10 stops or so you begin to wonder why you haven’t reached yours. So you look for the next station name on your Jihachul to realise that you’re not even going in the wrong direction. So now, not only did you waste the last 15 minutes going in the wrong direction but you’re going to have to get out, swap over, wait for the correct subway, waste 15 more minutes going back and then start going in the right direction.
3. You miss your stop; In the situation that you get the subway in the right direction, there is always a possibility that you will miss your stop. Sometimes this is because the subway is overcrowded and exiting would mean certain death. Sometimes it’s because you aren’t paying attention to which stop you’re at because you’re reading, tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming etc
4. You sit beside a drunk; It’s ok to have enjoyed a few drinks and to responsible enough to take public transport home but don’t bring your new-found enthusiasm near me. Sleeping on my shoulder, trying to mutter something, spitting next to me, vomiting next to me, taking off your clothes is totally not ok. Go home, you’re drunk!
5. You’re surrounded by the church people; Being a foreigner on the subway makes you a magnet for the church people. No amount of listening to music and not speaking Korean can get you out of having to spend your subway ride watching the latest version of the Testament Part 2 on DVD.
6. You leave your bag on the subway; Although Korea is a safe country, leaving your bag on the subway is never a good idea. I’ve known people to get their bags back after leaving them on the subway but I know more who didn’t. And think about the people on that subway. There they are all sitting around, wondering who left their bag unattended. They wait a while and eventually everyone is getting a little nervous when nobody comes to claim it. Actually, that’s just me. Koreans on the subway rarely notice these things so while I’m fleeing for the carriage furthest away, everyone else is like 왜?
7. You fall asleep; Possibly the worst thing that can go wrong. Imagine this. You live in say…..Paju. It’s 6am on a Sunday morning. You’ve spent the entire night partying and you’re now ready to go home. You hop on the near deserted subway. You take off your shoes and lie across the seats for a little nap. Except this nap turns into a long sleep and when you wake up you are;
1. Surrounded by Koreans in their Sunday best who have to stand because they don’t want to wake the foreigner who’s taking over the entire row.
2. On your way back to Seoul. You have no idea how many time you did the round trip, but you’re on your way back to Seoul.
Imagine if all the above happened in one journey. Never a dull moment. Leave your subway adventure stories below!