Towards Centum City Station: Solving a Blind Map

On 16:30 hours, anxiously sitting under the shade of a small bus stop at Gijang-daero Avenue, my eyes kept turning to the left, waiting for the arrival of bus number 181. A few minutes ago I was sentenced to be lost. An amateur journey just to find Haedong Yonggungsa Temple which was located on the edge of Korea Strait.

Two and a half hours of my time wasted in the eastern streets outside Busan City. Meanwhile, another threat came, i.e delay in catching my bus to Seoul which was leaving that night. In the midst of pale faces, the bus finally arrived. I was already waving when bus still seemed to be running from a distance. “I can’t miss that bus, this is my best chance to catch my bus to Seoul”.

The blinking of bus’s turn signal signaled that driver understood that I was a potential passenger. The bus stopped right in front of me, I swiftly jumped from front door and handed over 1,200 Won in fare box. Then I acquired one of middle seat.

Now my eyes were sweeping bus interior, looking for any destination marker or clues which could monitor bus’s whereabouts. My eyes were keen to see a manual route board on a side of upper compartment, while right behind the driver, there was LCD screens which kept changing its Hangeul characters when bus passed bus stops along Gijang-daero Avenue. “Yes….”, I found it but I couldn’t read it because it was a whole Hangeul script. I kept holding my breath, trying to stay calm. “Once again lost, I will be further, my chances of catching bus to Seoul will be lost”, I lowered my eyes closed. Imagine that horror.

Now I decided to stand right under the manual route board, all passengers were amazed because I stood when the bus was never full. I ignored the stares, I was busy saving my own destiny.

Looking closely the route map. Hangeul characters were so small and I didn’t really understand. “Yes, I find it”, my mind cheered with joy. There was a Humetro logo in that route map. That means that bus stop in question was integrated with Humetro station. While a Humetro map, I always hold it along the way. It was neatly folded in a back pocket of my pants.

That means I just needed to memorize that Hangeul alphabetical sequence which composed the name of bus stop and matched it with the same alphabet sequence which would be displayed in the LCD screen behind driver. If that string of names appeared, then I would get off at the bus stop in question. Ah, it turned out that the remnants of intelligence in my brain were still there.

I continued to observe the LCD screen and continued to match each letter with the manual route board in bus’ upper compartmen. That way I would know how many bus stops again when I have to get off. Perseverance and thorough in doing that, made me manage to get off at one of bus stops located near Humetro station, Centum City Station to be exact.

Alighting at bus stop, I rushed to the basement of Centum City Station to intercept the departure of nearest Humetro. I had to hurry to Kimchee Busan Guesthouse to pick up my backpack which I had left at reception desk since check-out this morning.

I ran down the escalator after a Humetro who had stopped a few seconds ago and prepared to close its door to leave. “Yes….”, I managed to enter its carriage before Humetro’s door actually closed. Now I was a little calm, of course I would quickly arrive at my destination. “Take your backpack and hurry to Busan Central Bus Terminal, Donny!”, I thought confirming an order to myself.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Never Arrived….

I hadn’t even reached Toseong Station yet, when my stomach tone sent a signal. “Oh yeah, I haven’t had lunch yet,” was the quick response in my mind. The last time I ate a Bungeoppang street snack was two hours ago at the same street where I stood now, Kkachigogae-ro Avenue.

Getting to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple took a long time. I paused for a moment at a side of sidewalk. Slowly sweeping my gaze to the row of shophouses along my eyes reach. At far side of road, I saw a restaurant which wasn’t that big, some local residents came out of that tiny restaurant with plastic bags filled with food. Quickly decided, “I’d better eat there, I don’t have much time”. Later, I sat down at a seat in that tiny restaurant.


“Good afternoon, Sir. This is the menu. Enjoy your time here”

“Thank you Sir, give me time to choose the menu!”.

A young man with typical Korean bangs smiled with nodding and returned to his busy in preparing food for several customers who were still queuing near door. Meanwhile I started to busy choosing a food I would eat at menu list. My first filter was, of course, price, considering my budget was running low in my second day in Korea.

“Hello, Sir”, I called him after selecting the cheapest menu.

“Yes, Sir” he prepared to go to my table.

“This, Sir”

“Oh, Kimbap….OK…OK. Oh yes, Where are you come from, Sir?”, He quickly understood my order while opening another topic of conversation.

“Indonesia, Sir”

“Wow, Indonesia. I ever worked there for 3 years. Good afternoon, Sir”

I uncontrollably laughed watching him when recited some words from my country language.Hahaha.

“Do you eat pork?”, he joked again.

“No…No…..Hahahaha. Your Indonesian language is good”, I felt happy, as if I was in my own country.

“Are you moslem?”

“Yup. I am happy to hear Indonesia language in Busan, Sir”

“Yes….Yes….Yes….. I can speak a little Indonesian. Wait, I’ll make Kimbap. Only 10 minutes, Wait!”

“Yes, Sir”

He was busy concocting my order of Kimbap diligently and exactly ten minutes later, he picked up a Kimbap and brought it to me. Now Kimbap was ready to eat. But I ate it with a flat expression. Damn…I miss “Nasi Padang”.

Are you full if you eat lunch with that portion?

Paying after eating it, I chatted for a while until I finally found out that he was the owner of this tiny restaurant.


I sat down in Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) carriage, then changed to Humetro Line 2 (Green Line) at Seomyeon Station. Next I headed to Haeundae Station to continue my journey.

A destination  which made me pale….I didn’t know if there will be enough time until I catched bus to Seoul at half past nine that night. Or would I be left behind by that bus.

My worries which had been going at along underground passages of Busan were stopped when a voice announcer announced that Humetro would soon be arrived in Haeundae Station. At the same time, my decision to going to my next destination was final…..I would visit it. I quickly rushed to station gate in the surface, when I got to the top, I nimbly stepped towards a bus stop located not far from station gate. The name of that bus stop was the same as the station name next to it, namely Haeundae Bus Stop, located on the edge of Haeun-daero Avenue

I carefully looked at some bus numbers at bus stop’s wall. That were the identities of several city buses which passed that bus stop. Yes….There was a number 181 tucked in between, that was a bus number which I was aiming for. I closely looked at every bus which was going to stop at Haeundae Bus Stop. I was agile to find the whereabouts of numbers location at bus’ front window. It took quite a while, several bus with another numbers past me at bus stop until the sixth bus with a number I was looking for arrived. Now I was getting ready to welcome that bus, which from a distance started turning on its turn signal as a sign that that bus would pick up its passengers at Haeundae Bus Stop.

The bus softly screeched in front of me, I immediately jumped in through its front door, entered the fare of 1,200 Won in a fare box next to driver while showing him a picture. “Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Sir. Please drop me here…!.”.

“Hoohhh….hooohh”, a response that I believed that he understood.

All seats were full, made me stand alone in that city bus. Surprised local faces stared at me all the way, of course because I had a different skin color than them.

While in bus, there were no clues that can help to monitoring where I was at all times. I tried to calm myself apart from a fact that a small panic was starting to disturb my concentration. Thirty minutes had passed, countless, bus had stopped to picking up and dropping passengers, but driver seemed to continue to focus on driving the bus.

Finally I got up the courage to approach him and asked again about the picture of temple which I showed at the beginning of trip. “Sir, is this temple still far?”, I briefly asked. Then how did he react?….Amazing, hahaha.

“Hooohhhh….Hooohhhh”, while waving his hand as a sign of not knowing. Either I didn’t know that place or I didn’t know how to speak English. “Oh God, Imy request had be ignored from earlier by him”. Now I had no choice, I had to get off from bus even though I didn’t know where I was. “Sir. Drop me here now!”. And slowly, bus began to slow down towards a small bus stop in front of it.

My hunch from the beginning of trip was clear, I was now really lost in a lonely place. Meanwhile, it was half past five in the afternoon. I would try to find out if Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was still worth to be visited by walking.

Ten minutes of confusion and panic at a bus stop, I finally saw a young man jogging toward me. I mustered up the courage to stop him and ask him where he was going.

“It’s about 10 kilometers from here, you get off from bus but it was too far from this place”

“Ok thanks, Sir”

That means I couldn’t walk and it was also impossible to wait for next bus to get there….It would be too long and time consuming. I decided to immediately cancel and prepared to heading back towards downtown. I would better to secure my bus departure schedule to Seoul. If I was late then I had to prepare to compensate it with additional accommodation costs for a longer night’s stay in Busan.

With a sense of panic and disappointment…. And also a little fear because I was in a very quiet place at the edge of Gijang-daero Avenue, I finally waited for the arrival of bus number 181.

I was so sorry…. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple….It was like unrequited love.

Menuju Stasiun Centum City: Memecahkan Peta Buta

<—Kisah Sebelumnya

Pukul 16:30, terduduk khawatir di bawah naungan halte bus mungil di bilangan Gijang-daero Avenue yang lengang, tatapanku terus menoleh ke kiri, menantikan kedatangan bus bernomor 181. Beberapa menit lalu aku telah tervonis tersesat. Berpetualang amatiran demi sekedar menemukan Haedong Yonggungsa Temple yang terletak di tepian Selat Korea.

Dua setengah jam waktuku terbuang sia-sia di jalanan timur luar Kota Busan. Sementara itu, ancaman lain datang, yaitu keterlambatan mengejar bus menuju Seoul yang akan berangkat malam nanti. Di tengah kepucat pasian mimik muka, bus itu akhirnya datang. Aku sudah melambai tangan ketika bus itu masih tampak lamat dari kejauhan. “Aku tak boleh terlewat dari bus itu, inilah kesempatan terbaikku untuk mengejar bus menuju Seoul”.

Kerlipan lampu sein bus itu mengisyaratkan bahwa sang pengemudi memahami bahwa aku adalah calon penumpangnya. Bus berhenti tepat di hadapan, aku melompat gesit dari pintu depan dan menyerahkan 1.200 Won (Rp. 15.000) di fare box. Lalu mengakuisisi salah satu bangku tengah yang tak bertuan.

Kini pendanganku menyapu seisi interior bus, mencari markah tujuan atau petunjuk apapun yang bisa memantau keberadaan bus. Mataku jeli meilhat sebuah manual route board di salah satu sisi kompartemen atas, sedangkan tepat di belakang sopir tertampil jelas sebaris layar LCD yang terus bergantian aksara Hangeul ketika bus melewati halte-halte di sepanjang Gijang-daero Avenue. “Yes….”, aku menemukannya tetapi aku tak bisa membacanya karena itu adalah aksara Hangeul secara keseluruhan. Aku terus menahan nafas, berusaha tenang. “Sekali lagi tersesat, aku akan lebih jauh, peluangku menangkap bus menuju Seoul akan sirna”, aku menunduk memejamkan mata. Membayangkan kengerian itu.

Kini aku memutuskan berdiri tepat di bawah manual route board, segenap penumpang terheran karena aku berdiri ketika bus tak pernah penuh. Aku tak memperdulikan tatapan-tatapan itu, aku sedang sibuk menyelamatkan nasibku sendiri.

Kutatap lekat-lekat peta jalur itu. Aksara Hangeul yang begitu kecil dan aku tak benar faham. “Yes, aku menemukannya”, batinku bersorak girang. Ada logo Humetro di salah satu markah peta. Itu berarti halte yang dimaksud terintegrasi dengan stasiun Humetro. Sedangkan peta Humetro selalu kupegang sepanjang perjalanan. Terlipat rapi di kantong belakang celanaku.

Berarti aku tinggal menghafal urutan alphabet Hangeul yang menyusun nama halte itu lalu mencocokkannya dengan  rangkaian alphabet yang sama yang akan tertampil di layar baris LCD di belakang pengemudi. Jika rangkaian nama itu muncul, maka aku akan turun di halte yang dimaksud. Ah, ternyata sisa-sisa kecerdasan di otakku masih ada.

Aku terus mengamati layar LCD dan terus mencocokkan setiap huruf dengan manual route board di kompartemen atas bus. Dengan begitu aku akan tahu, berapa halte lagi aku harus turun. Tekun dan teliti melakukan itu, membuatku berhasil turun di salah satu halte yang terletak di dekat stasiun Humetro, Stasiun Centum City tepatnya.

Turun di halte itu, aku segera menuju ruang bawah tanah Stasiun Centum City demi mencegat keberangkatan Humetro terdekat. Aku harus bergegas menuju Kimchee Busan Guesthouse untuk mengambil backpack yang kutitipkan di meja resepsionis semenjak check-out pagi tadi.

Aku berlari menuruni escalator berjalan mengejar Humetro yang telah berhenti beberapa detik lalu dan bersiap menutup pintu untuk pergi. “Yes….”, aku berhasil memasuki gerbong sebelum pintu Humetro itu benar-benar menutup. Kini aku sedikit tenang, tentu aku akan tiba di tujuan dengan cepat. “Ambil backpackmu dan bergegaslah menuju Busan Central Bus Terminal, Donny!”, batinku menegaskan sebuah perintah untuk diriku sendiri.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Tak Pernah Sampai….

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Belum genap langkahku mencapai Stasiun Toseong, nada perut mengirim pertanda. “Oh iya, aku belum makan siang”, respon cepat dalam fikirku. Terakhir aku menyantap snack jalanan Bungeoppang dua jam lalu di jalan yang sama dengan tempat berdiriku sekarang, Kkachigogae-ro Avenue.

Menuju Haedong Yonggungsa Temple perlu waktu yang tak sebentar. Aku berhenti sejenak di satu sisi trotoar. Perlahan menyapukan pandangan ke deretan ruko di sepanjang jangkauan mata. Di seberang jauh jalan, aku melihat rumah makan yang tak begitu besar, beberapa warga lokal keluar dari rumah makan mungil itu dengan membawa kantong plastik berisi makanan. Cepat memutuskan, “lebih baik aku makan disana saja, waktuku tak banyak”. Sewaktu kemudian aku sudah terduduk di salah satu bangku rumah makan mungil itu.


Good afternoon, Sir. This is the menu. Enjoy your time here

Thank you sir, give me time to choose the menu!”.

Pemuda berpotongan khas poni Korea itu tersenyum mengangguk dan kembali sibuk menyiapkan makanan untuk beberapa pelanggan yang masih mengantri di pintu. Sedangkan aku mulai sibuk memilih makanan yang akan kusantap di daftar menu. Filter pertamaku tentulah harga, mengingat amunisi yang makin menipis pada hari keduaku di Korea.

Hello, Sir”, aku memanggil pemuda itu setelah memilih menu termurah.

Yes, Sir”, dia berkesiap menuju mejaku.

This, Sir

Oh, Kimbap….OK…OK. Oh ya, Where are you come from, Sir”, Dia memahami cepat pesananku sembari membuka topik pembicaraan lain.

“Indonesia, Sir”

Wooow, Indonesia. I ever worked there for 3 years. Selamat siang, Pak

Aku tertawa tak terbendung melihatnya melafalkan bahasa tanah air beta….Hahaha.

Tidak makan babi?”, dia kembali berkelakar.

Tidak…Tidak…..Hahahaha. Bahasa Indonesia Anda bagus”, aku merasa bahagia, seolah sedang berada di negeri sendiri.

Moslem ya?

“Yups. Saya senang bisa mendengar bahasa Indonesia di Busan, Pak”

Ya….Ya….Ya….. Saya bisa sedikit Bahasa Indonesia. Tunggu ya, saya buatkan Kimbap. Hanya 10 menit, Tunggu!

“Ok Pak”

Dia sibuk meramu Kimbap pesananku dengan tekun dan tepat sepuluh menit kemudian, Kimbap itu diangkatnya dan dibawa menujuku. Kini Kimbap telah siap kusantap. Tetapi aku menyantapnya dengan mimik datar. Damn…Aku kangen Nasi Padang.

Kenyangkah anda jika makan siang dengan porsi segitu?

Membayar setelah menyantapnya, aku berbincang sebentar hingga akhirnya tahu dia adalah pemilik rumah makan mungil ini.


Aku terduduk tak kenyang dalam gerbong Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line), kemudian berpindah di Humetro Line 2 (Green Line) di Stasiun Seomyeon. Selanjutnya aku menuju ke Stasiun Haeundae demi melanjutkan petualangan.

Destinasi yang membuatku pucat pasi….Entahlah, apakah waktunya akan cukup hingga aku mengejar keberangkatan bus menuju Seoul pada jam setengah sembilan malam nanti. Atau apakah aku akan tertinggal oleh bus itu.

Kekhawatiranku yang berlangsung di sepanjang lorong bawah tanah Busan terhenti ketika voice announcer mengabarkan bahwa Humetro akan segera merapat di Stasiun Haeundae. Bersamaan dengan itu maka keputusanku menuju destinasi terakhir telah bulat…..Aku akan mengunjunginya. Dengan cepat aku bergegas menuju station gate di permukaan, sesampainya di atas, aku melangkah gesit menuju sebuah halte bus yang berlokasi tak jauh dari station gate. Nama halte bus itu sama dengan nama stasiun di sebelahnya, yaitu Halte Bus Haeundae, terletak di tepian Haeun-daero Avenue

Kuperhatikan dengan seksama angka-angka yang merupakan identitas beberapa bus kota yang melewati halte itu. Yes….Ada angka 181 terselip diantaranya, itulah nomor bus yang kusasar. Kuperhatikan lekat-lekat muka setiap bus yang akan berhenti di halte itu. Aku tangkas mencari keberadaan letak angka di bagian depan bus. Cukup lama, bus bernomor lain melewatiku di halte itu hingga datang bus keenam dengan angka yang kucari sedari tadi. Kini aku bersiap diri menyambut bus tersebut yang dari kejauhan mulai menyalakan lampu sein sebagai penanda bahwa bus itu akan mengambil penumpangnya di Halte Haeundae.

Bus berdecit lembut di hadapan, aku segera melompat masuk melalui pintu depan, memasukkan ongkos sebesar 1.200 Won (Rp. 15.000) pada fare box di sebelah sopir sembari menunjukkan sebuah gambar kepadanya. “Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Sir. Please drop me here…!.”.

Hoohhh….hoooohh”, selorohnya kuanggap bahwa dia telah faham.

Seluruh bangku yang telah penuh, membuatku berdiri sendirian dibawa laju bus kota itu. Wajah-wajah lokal yang heran menatapku sepanjang perjalanan, tentu karena aku berbeda warna kulit dari mereka.

Sementara di dalam bus, tak ada petunjuk apapun yang bisa membantu memantau dimana keberadaanku di setiap saat. Aku mencoba menenangkan diri diluar fakta bahwa kepanikan kecil mulai mengganggu konsentrasi. Tiga puluh menit berlalu, sudah tak terhitung bus itu berhenti menaik turunkan penumpang, tetapi pak sopir tampak terus fokus mengemudikan busnya.

Akhirnya aku memberanikan diri menghampirinya dan menanyakan kembali perihal gambar kuil yang kutunjukkan sedari awal perjalanan. “Sir, is this temple still far?”, aku bertanya singkat. Lalu bagaimanakah reaksi dia?….Ruarrrr Biasaaahhhh.

Hooohhhh….Hooohhhh”, sembari melambai-lambaikan tangan pertanda tidak tahu. Entah tak tahu tempatnya atau tak tahu bercakap English. “ Ah alamat, pantesan aku dicuekin sedari tadi”. Kini tak ada pilihan, aku harus turun dari bus walaupun aku tak tahu sedang berada dimana. “Sir. Drop me here now!”. Dan perlahan, bus mulai melambat menuju ke sebuah halte kecil di depan sana.

Firasat sedari awal perjalanan itu jelas, aku kini benar-benar tersesat di sebuah tempat nan sepi. Sementara waktu sudah lewat dari jam setengah lima sore. Aku akan berusaha mencari informasi apakah Haedong Yonggungsa Temple masih layak untuk ditempuh dengan berjalan kaki.

Sepuluh menit dalam kebingunan dan kepanikan dalam sebuah halte, akhirnya tampak seorang lelaki muda sedang berjogging mendekat ke arahku. Kuberanikan diri untuk menghentikannya dan menanyakan tempat tujuan itu kepadanya.

It’s about 10 kilometers from here, you get off from the bus but it’s too far from that place

Ok thanks, Sir

Itu berarti aku tak bisa berjalan kaki dan juga tak mungkin menunggu bus menuju kesana….Akan terlalu lama dan menghabiskan banyak waktu. Kuputuskan untuk membatalkan segera dan bersiap menuju tengah kota kembali. Lebih baik aku mengamankan jadwal keberangkatan bus menuju Seoul. Jika aku terlambat maka aku harus bersiap dengan kompensasi menambah biaya akomodasi untuk menginap semalam lebih lama di Busan.

Dengan rasa penuh panik, sebal dan kecewa….Ditambah sedikit takut karena berada di tempat yang sangat sepi di tepian Gijang-daero Avenue, akhirnya aku menunggu kembali kedatangan bus bernomor 181.

I’m so sorry…. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple….Bak kasih yang tak sampai.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->