As someone who has lived in a city, it has not prepared me for a city like Korea, which is different than Portland, Minneapolis, and Seattle. The fast pace culture is equivalent to New York, where there are constant beeping of cars that will drive extraordinarily close to you as you walking up hills and cracked sidewalks.
My first day in Korea was a mess. I get off of my plane at 6pm and only get to my airbnb at 10pm. The 4 hours in between was not enjoyable. I ended up getting scammed with bad exchange rates because its better to have some cash at hand than no cash. After that I get more scammed as I bought 70$ worth of data that’s only for 30 days (I just realized that I also had a Korean phone number after a month of being in Korea). Everyone says they got data and a number for $40. I get confused on how to get to any of the transits( ie. bus, train, taxi) and just stand in the corner for 30 minutes until I see two police officers. I went up to them and they help me get a ticket to something. Luckily even though they speak to me only in Korean, I can understand that they told me [whatever i bought the ticket for] will take me to Hongdae and I have call a taxi there. I go and then it takes an hour to get to Hongdae. Now here is where it gets even worse: Google maps doesn’t work at all in Korea so you have to use Naver or Kakao maps and I can’t read Korean at all. It’s night time and it’s 33 degrees; I have no idea what I’m doing as I have never caught a taxi in my life since there’s always uber. Luckily I find a Starbucks after trying to catch tabs and they reject me because I speak English, but they also can’t speak English. They also try to help me find a taxi online, but I couldn’t do it on most apps since they require an Alien Registration. After downloading and searching for an app that allows foreigners to get taxis, we find it and it’s 10$ for a 15 minute drive. I also get cussed out by the driver cuz I don’t know how to get into my airbnb and I didn’t get out of his car; which I rented six seats.
I eventually get into my airbnb and pass out for the two days before heading to the dorms.
Since it has been a while, I wanted to post about how challenging navigation is. I do believe the first week is especially challenging, but for me the challenge continues. Especially since it takes a while to load your location and if you taking the right road. This is why I leave it to my other friends to navigate otherwise I would have gotten everyone lost XD.
P.S amist my confusion I managed to take a picture before my luggage went flying into the streets in Hongdae