Ever since I knew what airplanes are, I was terrified of flying in them. I vowed internally I’d never fly. Why? Because there are like a million parts in each of them, and if some of them fail, you will start crashing, panic immensely, and die, and... I don’t want these things to happen. The panic would be off the charts. I mean, I cannot even go to one of those slightly faster rides in Gardaland. That feeling of rapid descent is just something I hate, basically. Also, the terrororists and guerilla groups firing missiles from the ground aren’t a reassuring thought.
But I did it. I flew, and I fucking loved it. That feeling of take-off is the shit, and I wish I could just do that for a whole day. I was, and am, still terrified of flying, though. My itinerary was as following: Zagreb (Croatia) -> Ataturk (Turkey) -> Seoul (S. Korea). Both flights were peaceful and turbulence-free, which was very good, since I was 100% sure I was gonna crash in either of those flights. If there were any, even slightly turbulent movements during those flights, I’d immediately thought that’s it.
I hate both cold and expensive, so one might wonder - why are you going to South Korea then, friend? Well...that’s a story for itself .Let’s just say I was in a really bad place, and my female ex-employer, then-friend, wanted to meet me there. I already had the plane tickets to Chiang Mai, Thailand (which was supposed to be my first and last destination), but, when one needs a friend, one will accept a friendly invitation, right?
Anyway, I arrived to Korea, and even though I planned to stay only for a month, got a free 3 months Visa on arrival without any hustle (I’m a resident of EU country, so you might wanna check what international policies your country has with S. Korea if you’re planning a trip there), and, my friend whom I was supposed to meet at the airport wasn’t there, cause her flight got super delayed, and instead of arriving on 28th, the same day as me, she was about to come on the 30th. So, I’m in a country I’ve never been to, I’m on a continent I’ve never been to, and I know exactly 0 people in the whole country. Sweet. Fortunately, she has proven to be capable, and reached out to her brother who lives in Suwon (about hour and a half drive away from the airport), so he came to pick me up, and I stayed with her parents’. Her parents don’t speak English. I don’t speak Korean. They’re her parents. Fuck.
The car drive, courtesy of her brother, from the airport to her parents’ was amazing, as it was during the night, and I was able to see Seoul and some other city’s flashy animated lights on the skyscraper. Her parents turned out to be amazing, anyway, too, as they were really nice to me, and greeted me with a big smile when her brother dropped me off at their place, which was very reassuring. They put me to a room, which was not very pretty, and was really cold, so that made me kinnda wish I went to Chiang Mai instead, as my initial plan was. I got a fever from the stress and coldness, and I was like semi-functioning in the next 2 days. The next day, on the 29th, her brother took me to see some of Suwon’s old city walls, which was really nice of him, and the place was vaguely interesting.
The meetup, New Year’s and funny business
I finally met the woman on the 30th at Incheon Int’l Airport (the #1 Airport in the world in the last 10 years, according to banners in the airport area). Yes, we’ve never met before, and yes, I did agree to meet someone I’ve never met before, in Korea. Things got from bad to worse that night. She turned out to be someone completely different in person. That night, I thought I was gonna leave for Thailand in 2-3 days. It was a terrible experience. The next day, on the last day of 2015, December 31st, she was another person again, but this time more like the version I knew from before, so that was a good change. We had a dinner at her friend’s place, and then we headed out to some club in some hotel in Seoul for New Year’s eve. We got off the cab at 23:59, which was kinnda lame. The atmosphere in the club was absolute crap. Cheap live european house music, some female dancers dressed in gray metallic suits from Eastern Europe, the coat check-in was $16, and the cheapest drink, 0.3L Heineken, was $8. Fuck. that. shit. Thankfully, some guy, the best friend of her friend’s boyfriend (something something, like anyone cares), invited us to his place, so we went there rather soon. Great success.
On the night of January 1st, me and the woman I met in person two days ago, had our first fight. Why? Because i added her friend, the one that hosted us for December 31st, made us dinner, paid for club entry tickets, paid taxi fare to and back from there, on Facebook. I know, I should’ve known better. How can I possibly add someone like that as a friend on Facebook, someone who has been so awesome to us? It’s obviously treason, and I obviously must have had hidden intentions. Right? Maybe I even came to Korea to meet her friend, and not her, who knows? All thoroughly planned, naturally.
Anyway, that was weird, and it lasted for days, and I’ve seen what a serious case of jealousy looks like, first hand. The second, much worse incident, happened cause of jealousy too. That one was off the hook. It was literally scary. It was like someone possessed the woman. She told me she’s gonna go to the police and accuse me of raping her, and that she won’t pay me back $800 I loaned her (which I did so so she can afford the plane tickets to Korea). That’s right, I helped her come to Korea, and the condition was she’s gonna reimburse me within a couple of days. But during the rage, she thought I’d leave as soon as she pays me back, and I wouldn’t do any work on her site, which is something I’ve volunteered, being a nice guy and all. Here comes the funny bit: her brother(who’s married and has 3 kids), the owner of the apartment where we are staying, is a detective, straight up. So what do I do? I go talk to him. He talks to her, she calls me many nice names again, and I get reimbursed in about two days. It’s all very romantic in a way (not really).
While it was terrible while it was happening, in retrospective, I think I've learnt a lot from that incident.
Departure and aftermath
I left Korea on January 29th, and went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. My route was thus: Incheon, S. Korea -> Kunming, China -> Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Both flights were terrible, due to constant turbulence, and I had a solid 14 hour layover in China. That wasn’t very much fun. China is very militaristic and strict, which is actually a good thing on the airport, I’d say, but the problem was, I was trying to sleep in the waiting floor, but it was cold, so I rented a sleeping cover/pillow (I dunno how it’s called, but it’s the thing one uses to cover oneself when one is cold), and the security guard took it away from me at like 6am. I was like, wat? Why you do this, friend? I only had it for like 2 hours. Of course, he knew no English. Why would he do that? I was pretty much unable to sleep after it so I just wandered the airport for 10 hours or so, after sleeping only for 2 hours. What a cock.
Do I want to come back to Korea? Sure, but during summer time, and that’s what I am going to do. My Chiang Mai flight returns to Korea at the end of June, so I’ll be staying in Korea for about 2 or 3 days. Even though it’s not my type of country, it’s got some nice sides. I most definitely reminisce on my Korea time sometimes.
Stuff I did in Korea
- Played football with the locals (who on average are fucking good)
- Went to Starbucks for the first time, and was like meh. Super expensive (at least in Korea, I’ve yet to go on in Thailand) and the coffees are like so-so. But the white chocolate was amazing
- Seen SW VII, which was so fucking shite. The main bad guy looks like young Snape (no wonder the actor who played real Snape died in real life shortly thereafter; jk; rip). Only action, no story, and the only bright part was that black guy who rarely really funny
- Cooked for my Korean hosts
- Ate shitloads of Sushi (called Kimbap in Korea), which is cheap as fuark in Korea. For 3000 Won, or like $2.5, I got 2 Sushies, a nice soup and Kimchi. Kimchi is spicy cabbage, which I thought was garbage at first, but then I started loving it like hell
Visited the Seoul tower or whatever (wasn’t my idea obviously)
- Spent a good part of the night at Gecko’s in Seoul, an imitation of American’s oldschool restaurant/bar. I really liked that place
- Spent a tiny part of the night at some salsa bar in Seoul
Spent a night out in Seoul, which was like 2/5 or whatever
Stuff I hadn’t done in Korea
- Seen The Hateful Eight
- Had a lot of fun
- Enjoyed weather
- Enjoyed censored Internet or super annoying ads on YouTube
At the moment, I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I made this site at CAMP, Maya.
I like Chiang Mai very much so far, and it's going to serve as the basis for my next article. So far I tried living in a co-working house, got robbed, moved out, etc. Stay tuned.