A little known secret

“Public transportation is one of the best places for naps in Korea.”

This was a piece of advice I received from Brandon when I first arrived. As I recall, it was about 10 hours before boarding my first Korean bus from Chungju to Seoul. Be that as it may, I took him at his word and tested out the advice. I managed to get a full night’s sleep and didn’t sleep on the bus the following day.

After meeting Linda for drinks and girl talk, Ray called around 1 a.m.

I wasn’t too pleased about this seeing as I had an 8 a.m. bus to catch to Seoul. But then I hear James in the background explaining that I must come to Da Soju. It’s Ray’s going away party and I have to come.

It was, in fact, Ray’s third going away party, but the boss was present and if you want good jeong you better show up to a gathering when your boss is present. So I turned around and headed back to the area of Yeonsu-dong with the bars.

Thankfully it was ESL’s second stop for the night. (Have I explained yet that Koreans typically stop three places in one night? First, dinner at a restaurant. Second, drinks and food at a bar. Third, noraebang or other entertainment.) So I knew I would be up for a couple more hours, but I figured if I got in at least a few hours sleep I could make the bus.

I arrived wet from the rain because I keep forgetting to always carry my umbrella with me even though it rains ever freakin’ day. But everyone seemed pleased to see me and my boss’ husband immediately poured me a shot. “One shot,” he shouted. Our glasses clinked and it was back to the business of talking in Korenglih, drinking and eating. Most of the food was gone as I’d arrived late, but Jamie ordered a plate of french fries, chicken strips and fruit. A couple glasses of beer later, it was time for noraebang.

It was about 3 a.m. and James decided we really needed to add noraebang to the night’s events. So we headed around the corner for singing at the Sheraton Hotel. (And no, it’s not that Sheraton, just one example of many copies.) After a few songs, I started falling asleep despite the singing. My co-teachers had a great time waking me up just as I was drifting off by singing in my ear.

Finally around 5 a.m. I insisted on going home. I’m pretty sure the second I closed my eyes Vandertramp called to wake me up.

It was 7:15 and time to get on the bus for Seoul.

Time to find out if Korean public transportation truly is a great place for naps.

Our bus left promptly at 8:05. I was sitting next to Naomi and we spent the next two hours chatting about Joss Whedon, Korea and life-ness. We also noted with some surprise how quiet and calm people are on buses and subways in Korea. People talk quietly to their neighbors if they talk at all and it seems most people listen to music, read or sleep on the bus. Noise is not a problem. But since we were talking, I didn’t learn if public transportation is the best place for napping.

What do you think?


About kristamaesmith

I'm a writer living with my boyfriend in Salt Lake City, Utah where I cheer for the Jazz, walk my dog, and spend too much money in local restaurants. I work in marketing for higher education and blog about food, travel, television, and whatever shiny moment catches my fancy.
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