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