The cab driver pointed to my mouth and said something in Korean. I stared blankly. “Gum!” The sudden, recognizable English pushed me into automatic obedience the way only shock does. I handed him a stick, just then realizing that I was, in fact, chewing gum.
He nodded, looked at my phone with the hostel’s information and typed it into the GPS. It calculated. The cab driver swiveled back at me and pointed: 150 kilometers.
(His English was better than my (non-existent) Korean, but only by about six words: gum, America, money, and “I don’t know!”)
“Although, the most surprising thing about this, really, was that it took me six days to even get lost at all…”
The cab driver, it seemed, was VERY concerned with making sure I knew I had goofed. Every five minutes or so, he would peek at me in the rearview mirror. Once he would catch my eye, he would exclaim, “America! Jinju? NO! Jeonju! I don’t know.” Then he would mock slap his forehead and chuckle to himself. Just to vary it up, sometimes he would include a stern “JEE-on-ju” and give me a single nod.
By day’s end (or in this case, 6:30pm), I made it to my hostel. What was supposed to have been a $16, 3-hour bus ride ended up costing $173 and taking 6.5 hours. But, I got over my first hiccup AND learned valuable lessons in Korean pronunciation and triple checking transportation tickets.
Although, the most surprising thing about this, really, was that it took me six days to even get lost at all…