On half past nine in the morning, I was arrived at Hongik University Station, down the long corridor of station and went up a long-high escalator to surface. Station’s architecture greeted me with a garden decorated with beautiful flowers combined with several iconic sculptures.
I started down the main alley towards Sinchon-ro Avenue at north of station. As far as I know, the guesthouse which I booked was in an alley across the street. I crossed a single zebra cross at the road in front. Seoul Bus Rapid Transit was dominantly blue and white, with an outdoor AC compartment which extended on its top, complementing its long body, which seemed to be passing by, taking local residents who were starting their activities to appreciating the dawn.
I decided not to ask anyone about the location of guesthouse which I was staying at, I was sure in the middle of a super busy Capital City, it would be very rare for anyone to know where a small guesthouse was located in the middle of an alley in the middle of nowhere.
I picked up a map and quickly figured out which side of the alley to enter. I started entering Sinchon –ro 3-gil Alley and turned right at the first fork. As expected, I would find it easy.
Entering its unlocked door, I found the reception desk which dark and empty. Stairwell, kitchen and dining room equally dim. The guesthouse guests still seemed lazy in their blankets, as if they were reluctant to struggle with cold air outside.
With no choice, I entered the shared lounge which was equally dim, took a seat, put my backpack and cupped my face in my arms to fall asleep sitting down. At least the shared lounge was not as cold as Seoul Express Bus Terminal building that morning.
My sleep was awakened by the noise of someone who seemed to tidy up the reception room. Apparently I had been asleep for an hour. The young Korean man seemed to be looking at me expressionlessly. I rubbed my eyes to make my face immediately refreshed. Getting up from chair and rushedh towards him.
Me: “Hello, I’m Donny from Indonesia. I had booked a room in this guesthouse. This is my booking confirmation”.
He: “Let me see”, he carefully read the details of my sheet. “I think you will get your room on 1 pm, so I’m sorry”, I was amazed by British accent of his English pronunciation.
Me: “Oh, it’s OK. I know that. I just want to put my backpack here and I will go to sightseeing the city”.
Him: “Yeah, It will be better. Just put your backpack there”, he pointed to a corner of room which full of backpacks.
Me: “Ok, thanks, Sir”.
After successfully putting a backpack which started to make my back feel heavy. I immediately left the guesthouse. I had to find some breakfast before heading to my first destination in Seoul. Since talking to Mr. In Chul Park in Seoul Metro that morning, I started to hold back the hunger that attacked my stomach.
Crossing back Sinchon-ro Avenue I entered the alley leading to Hongik University Station. In the alley I slowly walked to find a minimarket. Yups….Finally I found a CU minimarket.
Browsing the shelves which filled with food, I found cup noodles and white rice packets, without hesitation I picked them up and took them to cashier. Like CU minimarket in Busan, CU minimarket Seoul also provides a dining corner, complete with a microwave and hot water. Customers are required to be able to operate that heating equipment and serve themselves to eat the food which they buy.
I, who was really hungry, ate the cup noodles and packaged rice quickly. Then immediately rushed to the first tourist destination.