Daily Image of Korea


Taking a bus can be a hit and miss completely dependent on the ride of the bus and the skills of the drive. Both can vary widely. My first observation is that there are few automatic transmission buses. So this is where the skill of the driver plays a significant role in the quality of ride, not to mention my accuracy of typing while entering this post!  Some of these guys have ZERO finesse while driving….absolutely ZERO.

When things go wrong…

Y`know, no matter how hard you try, things can get pretty fucked up quickly.  Yeah I`m a little pissed.

I decided to try out my new toy (Galaxy Tab) and test plotting my trip home from a friend’s place on Seoul.  I have been going there for quite a number of months and have an established route for getting there and home using the subway system.  My mild annoyance has been trying to understand Seoul`s vast mass transit system.  The subway system took a little getting used to but once you understand it, it’s very logical.

Their bus system seems harder to master.

My Tab has a great app for getting around on the subway, even learned a new shortcut for one of our travels.  There is no obvious app for an equivalent bus route planning.  At least not one that I understand.  Google Maps does allow for a seemingly nice integration of both systems so I opted for this.  I have used it back in Canada as well as the route it planned out for me tonight looked good and was 10mins shorter.  Ok, off I go.

Everything was going good.  I had gotten on a bus that I had never tried before and even made the first of two transfers. I was monitoring my trip on Google Maps and the GPS feature with my Tab.  So the second leg of the journey was a bit long (38mins) I decided to watch a video while occasionally checking the map.

Here`s where it gets fun.

When it was getting close to the second transfer I went to check the map.  It was saying I was in a town I know I passed already.  Huh?  Ok so the GPS needs to update it position.  Fine I wait, and wait, and wait  and wait.  Well, this is getting stupid because I know I am damn close to where I should be getting off. Dammit, now the whole Tab is slow.  None of the other apps are opening up and the map is still stuck.  Crap.  So i did a hard boot and check.

Great, map shows I missed my damn stop.  Shit.  Well I get  off the bus as I am at least now in an area that is somewhat familiar (the city`s bus terminal) and I know that at least one of my regular buses goes by here.

Wait, now I am confused.  I am not sure which side of the road I should be on.  Well, good thing I have an app that can look up bus stop info, all in Korean of course bit I can muddle my way through that. I get to the stop that I think is the right one and of course, the lighting sucks as the nearest street light is out.  Well good thing my screen provides an OK amount of light.  While I`m trying to read the bus label to find out if it goes the right direction(while seemingly making a Korean woman uncomfortable as she moved away from me a few feet) a Korean guy came over and with my broken Korean and his non-existent English, he tells me that I need to be on the other side of the street.  Ok, that`s fine.  I cross the street and I`ll find the other bus stop and look up that stop up on my tab.

Well I end up walking by a bunch of city bus drivers and I ask them where to get bus #23 back to my section of town. (literally `bus 23 Milak-dong where`)  Guess what, he points back to the stop where I just came from.  Dammit! And my map wont update with my right location.  Seriously this is really pissing me off.  Damn clouds must be screwing with the GPS, or maybe that big-ass radio-looking tower is screwing with the signal.  Regardless, I had to just wait for the bus and ask the driver.

Back I go.  The uncomfortable woman is still standing there but now there is a couple more people waiting as well.  I double-check the bus times and it should be here in 8mins.  That is because as I was walking back one went by. . . Figures.  Bus shows up and its the right one.

Well, eventually made it back home to finish this posting as I had started it while on the bus here.