Lost in Seoul

You may think that with all the travelling I had in the past, I would be good in reading maps, but no. Only a map can leave you both feeling triumphant and defeated at the same time. How many trips have been so frustrating because I misread a maps. This map thing isn’t really working. I tried putting my thang down, flipped it and reversed it… still didn’t work.

We got lost for hours searching for our BnB. But we learned a thing instantly, Koreans are so polite with lost tourists. Though they are having a hard time understanding English, they still tried their best to help us. Plus, the ambiance of Incheon is so relaxing. Endless lines of buildings and cars can be gazed upon with your peripheral vision.

We circled the vicinity for a solid two hours before we realized the funniest, stupidest thing ever – the BnB we were looking for was at the block where we started. Thank goodness for the cold weather or it could’ve gotten worse… a lot, lot worse.

We found ourselves standing in an old infrastructure. It was old but well-kept. On the ground floor, there’s a busy arcade room with lots of teenagers inside. Then it hit me — Incheon is a laid-back town where fashionable and playful youths flock. Arcade machines were just outside every alley and it looked so good. It was like a cut-out scene straight from a manga.

They settled their baggage while I stood in front of the window with a rather amazing view  full on 180-degree view of Incheon with the calmest sunset I have ever seen. Bursts of pastel orange and blues graced the pale skies that matched the faint shadows painted on the buildings’ facades. Now I know why it is called “the land of the morning calm.” Everything seemed like a filtered Instagram post. Every single angle felt like there is a preset placed on it to make it look more dreamy and surreal.

We went down at around 6PM. The air seemed a lot colder this time. Though it’s said on the weather app that its just 8 degrees but tit felt so much colder. Autumn is just starting to take over but it felt like the first day of winter. I glanced around and saw the foliage right before my very eyes. It was my first time to witness such and it couldn’t get any better. The way the winds shook the leaves and made it dance through its rhythm was so movie-like.

We ordered something to nibble on before heading towards the subway. Our first meal in Korea is a barbecue. It was not just an ordinary barbecue. The succulent meat was marinated  and was burned ’til it was cooked. I thought it was weird at first until I munched on it. It was so flavorful. The sweetness and spiciness were tugging inside my mouth.

Fortunately, we didn’t lose our way to the subway. We’re off to Seoul for the international fireworks festival and it’s frigging scary to get lost in a bigger metropolis. Funny enough, we have found ourselves going the wrong way again. With just a few minutes before the festival starts, the operator announced that the best way to the event is to alight from the next station, since the main station nearest to the festival was closed. Thank you, Seoul. We might be frighteningly lost but you have never failed us.

We joined a sea of frantic people as went off the station. Luckily, we dizzied our way out of it. Nameless faces walked alongside and against us. It was kind of a euphoric and defining moment to me. Yes, I might be frightened about the situation but I can’t think of a better way to be welcomed in a foreign country. It was the kind of rush I was honestly wishing for.

Just in the nick of time, we arrived when the fireworks were just about to light up the barren night skies. It was such a surreal moment. “woahs” and “aahs” filled the once silent air. In that exact moment, I was breathing the same air they’re breathing and I have never felt so belonged in my life.

After the pyromusical numbers, we met a local who volunteered for the event. He was such a nice guy who even took a photo with us. Can Koreans get any more charming than this? Everyone seemed so nice and cordial. I have never felt any prejudice from the moment we stepped on the airport.

Watchers started to flock out of the area. It was like this massive zombie apocalypse since thousands of people walked directionless in front of me. I also remember getting hit by the KBS camera that was taking footages for the festival. I just hope that I made a good tv appearance.

We then walked clueless of where to actually go. We just went on with the people not even knowing how are we going to reach the station. I guess time was on our side because we reached the station just before it closed.

That night seemed so long. Sudden twists and turns of events led us to the most amazing experiences we could ever imagine for a first day in a foreign land. It’s funny how one moment we felt like the world would crumble down on us, then after it creates this out-of-body experience that makes up for all the paranoia it caused.

Seoul used to be just a dream and now that it has become a reality, I could never ever be any happier. And I am glad that my lost soul brought me to this soulful place.