Napping in Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon

Forgot to take a photo while staying…. Hihihi.

I was still standing motionless in north of square to enjoying the majesty of Gwanghwamun Gate , the six-century gate belonging to Gyeongbok Palace. Gwanghwamun Square with its andesite rock floor and a mix of green garden grass seemed to be starting to fill up with the flow of tourists visiting.

Apart from the statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin, the golden statue of King Sejong, the Great-the fourth king of Joseon Dynasty was an important destination for travelers. They were too fascinated by that statues when I preferred to pay attention to the bustle of United States Embassy in the edge of Sejong-daero Avenue next to National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

It didn’t feel like time had passed since midday, the rest of sleepiness after spending the night in Seoul Express Bus Terminal made me unable to hide the sleepiness in my eyelids. My body which hadn’t been soaked in water since 30 hours ago also made me not feel comfortable.

“It’s better to just go back to the inn”, so excited, my mind aborted my enthusiasm to continue exploration. “Damn….I give up this time”, I was groaning in annoyance, I entered the gates of Gwanghwamun Station.

“Goodbye Jongno District”, I quietly thought as I jumped into Seoul Metro Line 5 carriage. Without noticing commotion inside the carriage, I immediately headed to an empty seat near carriage’s connection. Without further ado, I immediately closed my eyes because of sleepiness.

Now, I was heading to Hongik University Station with one stop at Chungjeongno Station because to get to Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon in Seodaemun District I had to take Seoul Metro Line 2.

24 minutes later I arrived at my destination. Before actually leaving Hongik University Station, I took time to go to T-Money card vending machine at the corner of corridor to refill my T-Money which was almost out of balance. That time I filled my Seoul city travel card with 10,000 Won, more than enough for the end of my adventure in Seoul.

My back and forth at Hongik University Station ended up at a G-25 minimarket for a simple lunch. I managed to get a piece of packaged Kimbab for just 1,300 Won. Enough or not, that was the only lunch that I had to accept.

After eating it in convenience store table, I immediately climbed the escalator which rose to surface, passed Sinchon-ro 2-gil alley, crossed Sinchon-ro Avenue, then rushed to the inn.

“Hooohh….You, Donny. Welcome, your room is ready”, said the same receptionist who greeted me this morning.

“Hi, Sir….Thank you. I think I should go to bed soon….Hahaha”, I lihgtly answered while clutching my blue backpack which I had put in the corner of front room since this morning.

“Oh yeah, you look tired”

“Yes, I spent my last night at Seoul Express Bus Terminal”, I agreed.

After receptionist scanned my passport which I gave to him, the room key was given. Not waiting long, I immediately went upstairs, entered the room, took off my winter jacket and shoes, then immediately jumped into bunk bed to daub myself until afternoon.

Hunting T-Money with Mr. Park

Brushing the teeth….

That was my main problem that morning. There wasn’t proper place to do it. In contrast to airports, which generally have five-star hotel class toilets. This was ta bus station, man!

Not having time to think about having breakfast, I immediately got up, carried my blue backpack back, continuing my identity as a backpacker. Now I was going to downtown.

Being at Seoul Express Bus Terminal meant I was at southern end of the city, stucked all night in Seocho District, waiting for the first train to operated. I rushed to Express Bus Terminal Station….Yupz, that was the station which was integrated with bus terminal where I spent the night.

Meanwhile, the residue of frozen air still lingered on my epidermis as soon as I took half a step out of terminal gate. “Crazy…”, I thought to myself. I hastened my steps by increasing the tempo of my feet towards station gate.

“Damn…”, the gate was still blocked by standing barrier.

“I can’t enter yet…”, I thought to a conclusion.

Hurry back to bus terminal. I decided to wait for an hour, more than half an hour from fist train which operated.

A hour that I took advantage of by re-opening Seoul Metro line map sheet. It had one line more than Singapore’s MRT lines.

Even sixty minutes of waiting, now I was repeating my trail before towards the gate of Express Bus Terminal Station. The standing barrier had disappeared, a sign that the station had opened itself to every guest.

Entering station building, Christmas trees were still welcoming even though it was already third day of January, the statue of Santa Claus with his nine favorite reindeer greeted me and right in the corner there was a fat security guard who always smiling. He swiftly grabbed his hat and white T-Stick and jogged toward me. It seemed that he understood that I wasn’t a resident of “Ginseng Country”, therefore, he intended to help. Although actually, I was more challenged to find for the platform in my own way. But, It was OK.

Security: “Hellooo, where wil you go?”

Me: “Hongik University Station, Sir”.

Security: “Oh, OK. Where are you coming from?”

I was Indonesian”

Security: “Hmmh, Malaysia?”

Me: “No, Sir, Indonesia. A country at the south of Malaysia”.

Security: “Oh really, follow me!…follow me!”

I stalked him from behind

“This way”, he pointed to a passageway towards one of platforms”.

“Thank you, Sir”, I ended the conversation before he returned to his post.

Down the hall to the end, I started looking for ticket vending machine. The machine was on a side. The hallway was still quiet, allowing me to exploring the machine’s screen. Diligently browsing the screen, not a single word could lead me to get One Day Pass.

I came up with an initiative to confront the station attendant. The room was clearly over there. Two uniformed staff seemed to start the day at their desk. I was already knocking at glass door and their gazes in unison headed towards me then accompanied by a wave of one of them as a sign that they invited me to enter to face him.

Me: “Good morning, Sir?”

Staff: “Yes, can I help you?”

Me: “Does Seoul Metro sell One Day Pass for passenger?”

Staff: “No No No, you must buy a regular card”

Me: “What is that?”

Having trouble to speaking English, he got up from the chair and headed for the door. He waved at me to follow him. “There!”, he pointed to a machine box.

Feeling the chances of getting a One Day Pass was running low, I gave up and closed the conversation. “Oh, Ok”

My footsteps quickly headed for the machine box. Was curious about what this tech-filled machine could sell. I paused for a moment, observing closely the appearance. I haven’t pressed anything yet until a man stood beside me, he was 40s but still looked fit, smiling and looked educated.

He: “Helloo…..Can I help you? Where are you coming from?”

Me: “Hi, Indonesia, Sirir. Yeaa, I am looking for One Day Pass in this machine, Sir”.

He: “Oh, there isn’t One Day Pass in Seoul Metro. You must buy T-Money for your journey using Metro”

Me: “Oh, yeah”

He: “OK, I will help you to get it”. He started to get closer to the screen, then nimbly pressed buttons until he arrived at the end of execution menu. “You need to insert 3,000 Won into this machine!”

Me: “Oh , Ok, I see”….I put it in and he started to press the final execute button.

The T-Money came out of the machine in neatly white packaged. The man took it and handed it to me.

T-Money packaging.
This is the form of T-Money.

“So now, you can explore Seoul by this. Come on we go to platform!. Where is your destination?”, he started to walk me

“Hongik University Station, Sir”, I tried to keep up with his pace.

“Oh, do you study there?”.

“Oh, No Sir, I am just traveling now. What is your name, Sir?”

“In Chul Park. Call me Park”, he reached out his hand

“Donny, Sir”, I shook his hand.

Now I have a friend to talk during my trip to Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon.

Thank you very much Mr. Park….

Tidur Siang di Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Lupa ambil foto pas nginep….Hihihi.

Aku masih saja bediri termangu di utara alun-alun untuk menikmati kegagahan Gwanghwamun Gate , gerbang enam abad milik Istana Gyeongbok. Alun-alun Gwanghwamun dengan dasar batuan andesit serta paduan hijaunya rumput taman tampak mulai dipenuhi oleh arus kunjungan para pelancong.

Selain patung Admiral Yi Sunshin, patung emas Raja Sejong yang Agung-sang raja keempat Dinasti Joseon adalah tujuan penting para pelancong. Mereka terlalu terpesona dengan patung-patung itu ketika aku lebih memilih memperhatikan kesibukan Kedutaan Besar Amerika Serikat di tepian Sejong-daero Avenue yang bersebelahan dengan National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

Tak terasa waktu telah bergulir lewat dari tengah hari, sisa kantuk usai bermalam di Seoul Express Bus Terminal membuatku tak mampu menyembunyikan rasa kantuk di pelupuk mata. Badan yang belum terguyur air semenjak 30 jam yang lalu juga membuat tubuh tak merasa nyaman.

Lebih baik pulang ke penginapan saja”, begitu seru batin menggugurkan semangatku untuk melanjutkan eksplorasi. “Sial….Aku menyerah kali ini”, dengan bersungut-sungut kesal, aku memasuki gerbang Stasiun Gwanghwamun.

Selamat tingga Distrik Jongno”, lirih batinku ketika melompat masuk ke gerbong Seoul Metro Line 5. Tanpa memperhatikan keriuhan di dalam gerbong, aku segera mengarah ke tempat duduk kosong di dekat sambungan. Tanpa basa-basi aku segera memejamkan mata saking kantuknya.

Aku kini menuju ke Stasiun Hongik University dengan sekali transit di Stasiun Chungjeongno karena untuk menuju Kimchee Guesthoouse Sinchon di Distrik Seodaemun aku harus menunggang Seoul Metro Line 2.

24 menit kemudian aku tiba di tujuan. Sebelum benar-benar meninggalkan Stasiun Hongik University, aku menyempatkan diri menuju T-Money card vending machine di pojok koridor untuk mengisi T-Moneyku yang hampir kehabisan saldo. Kali ini aku memenuhi kartu perjalanan kota Seoul itu dengan 10.000 Won, angka yang lebih dari cukup hingga akhir petualanganku di Seoul.

Hilir mudikku di Stasiun Hongik berakhir di sebuah G-25 minimarket untuk sekedar makan siang seadanya. Sepotong Kimbab kemasan berhasil kudapatkan dengan harga 1.300 Won saja. Kenyang atau tidak, hanya itu jatah makan siang yang harus kuterima.

Usai menyantapnya di meja minimarket, aku segera menaiki escalator yang menjulang menuju permukaan, melewati gang Sinchon-ro 2-gil, menyeberangi Sinchon-ro Avenue, lalu bergegas menuju penginapan.

Hooohh….You, Donny. Welcome, your room is ready”, begitu sosok resepsionis yang sama sejak pagi tadi menyambut kedatanganku.

Hi, Sir….Thank you. I think I should go to bed soon….Hahaha”, aku menjawabnya ringan sambil merengkung backpack biru yang sedari pagi kutaruh di pojok ruangan depan.

Oh yeah, you look tired

Yes, I spent my last night at Seoul Express Bus Terminal”, aku mengiyakan.

Usai resepsionis itu me-scan passport yang kuberikan, kunci kamar pun diberikan. Tak menunggu lama, aku segera naik ke lantai atas, memasuki kamar, melepas winter jacket dan sepatu, kemudian segera melompat ke bunk bed untuk memulaskan diri hingga sore nanti.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Berburu T-Money bersama Mr. Park

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Gosok Gigi….

Itulah problema utama pagi itu. Tak ada tempat layak  untuk menunaikannya. Berbeda dengan bandara yang umumnya memiliki toilet kelas hotel berbintang. Ini terminal bus, man!

Tak sempat berfikir untuk sarapan, aku segera bangkit, memanggul kembali backpack biruku, melanjutkan identitas sebagai seorang backpacker. Kini aku akan menuju ke tengah kota.

Berada di Seoul Express Bus Terminal berarti aku berada di ujung selatan kota, tertahan semalaman di Distrik Seocho demi menunggu kereta pertama beroperasi. Aku bergegas menuju Stasiun Express Bus Terminal….Yupz, stasiun itulah yang terintegrasi dengan terminal dimana aku bermalam.

Sementara residu udara beku masih terasa lekat di kulit ari begitu setengah langkahku terjulur keluar dari gerbang terminal. “Gilaaa….”, batinku yang membatin. Kusegerakan langkah dengan menaikkan tempo kaki menuju gerbang stasiun.

Damn….”, gerbang itu masih terhalang oleh standing barrier.

Belum boleh masuk….”, batinku membuat kesimpulan.

Tergopohlah diri kembali menuju terminal. Kuputuskan menunggu hingga genap satu jam, melebihi setengah jam dari rit pertama kereta beroperasi.

Satu jam yang kumanfaatkan dengan membuka kembali lembaran peta dasa jalur Seoul Metro. Jumlah jalur yang satu lebih banyak dari jalur MRT-LRT milik Negeri Singa. Kapankah Jakarta akan mengejarnya?

Genap enam puluh menit menanti, kini aku merepetisi jejak menuju gerbang Stasiun Express Bus Terminal. Standing barrier itu telah sirna, penanda bahwa stasiun telah membuka diri bagi setiap tamunya.

Memasuki bangunan stasiun, pohon-pohon natal masih saja menyambut walau ini sudah hari ketiga bulan Januari, patung Santa Claus dengan sembilan rusa kutub kesayangannya menyapa dan tepat di pojokan sana security berbadan tambun dengan kelebihan bentuk perut melempar senyum. Dengan sigap dia menyambar topi dan Tongkat-T putihnya lalu berlari kecil menujuku. Sepertinya dia faham bahwa aku bukanlah penduduk Negeri Ginseng, oleh karenanya, dia berniat membantu. Walaupun sebetulnya, aku lebih tertantang menemukan untuk platform dengan caraku sendiri. But, It’s OK, lah.

Security tambun: “Hellooo, where wil you go?

Aku: “Hongik University Station, Sir”.

Security tambun: “Oh, OK. Where are you come from?

Aku: “Indonesia

Security tambun: “Hmmh, Malaysia?

Aku: “No Sir. Indonesia. A country at south of Malaysia”.

Security tambun: “Oh really, follow me!…follow me!”

Aku pun menguntitnya dari belakang

This way”, dia menunjuk sebuah lorong menuju salah satu platform”.

Thank you, Sir”, aku menutup percakapan sebelum dia kembali menempati posnya.

Menyusuri lorong hingga ujung, aku mulai mencari keberadaan ticket vending machine. Mesin itu ada di salah satu sisi. Lorong masih sepi, memungkinkanku untuk mengeksplorasi layar mesin itu. Tekun menjelajah layar, tak ada satu kata pun yang bisa menuntunku untuk mendapatkan One Day Pass.

Aku memunculkan sebuah inisiatif untuk menghadap ke petugas stasiun. Ruangan itu jelas ada di samping sana. Dua orang staff berseragam tampak memulai hari di meja kerjanya. Aku terlanjur mengetuk pintu kaca dan tatapan mereka serempak menuju ke arahku lalu diiringi lambaian salah satu diantara mereka sebagai tengara bahwa mereka mempersilahkan aku untuk masuk menghadapnya.

Aku: “Good morning, Sir?

Staff: “Yes, Can I help you?

Aku: “Does Seoul Metro sell One Day Pass for passenger?

Staff: “No No No, you must buy a regular card

Aku: “What is that?

Merasa kerepotan berbahasa Inggris, dia beranjak dari bangku dan menuju pintu. Dia melambaikan tangan kepadaku untuk mengikutinya. “there!”, dia menunjuk kepada sebuah kotak mesin.

Merasa peluang untuk mendapatkan One Day Pass menipis, aku pun menyerah dan menutup percakapan. “Oh, OK

Langkah kakiku cepat menuju kotak mesin itu. Merasa penasaran dengan apa yang bisa dijual oleh benda penuh teknologi itu. Aku berhenti sejenak, mengamati lekat penampakannya. Belum juga aku memencet apapun maka berdirilah di sampingku seorang lelaki, umurnya 40-an tetapi masih terlihat segar bugar, murah senyum dan tampak berpendidikan.

Dia: “Helloo…..Can I help you? Where are you come from?

Aku: “Hi, Indonesia Sir. Yeaa, I looking for the One Day Pass in this machine, Sir”.

Dia: “Oh, there isn’t One Day Pass in Seoul Metro. You must buy T-Money for your journey using Metro

Aku: “Oh, ya

Dia: “OK, I will help you to get it”. Dia mulai mendekat ke layar, kemudian gesit memencet-mencet tombol hingga tiba pada menu akhir ekseskusi. “You need to insert 3.000 Won to this machine!

Aku: “Oh , Ok, I see”….aku memasukkannya dan dia mulai memencet tombol eksekusi terakhir.

T-Money itu keluar dari mesin dengan packingan rapi  berwarna putih. Lelaki itu mengambilnya dan menyerahkan kepadaku.

Kemasan T-Money.
Ini dia wujud T-Money.

So now, you can explore Seoul by this. Come on we go to platform. Where is your destination?”, dia mulai megajakku melangkah

Hongik University Station, Sir”, aku mencoba mengimbangi kecepatan langkahnya.

Oh, do you study there?”.

Oh, No Sir, I am just traveling now. What is your name, Sir?

In Chul Park. Call me Park”, dia mengulurkan tangan

Donny, Sir”, aku menjabat tangannya.

Kini aku memiliki teman berbincang selama perjalanan menuju Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon.

Thank you very much Mr. Park….