On May 16, 2006, I bid (temporary) goodbye to Irina and also Seoul, and then headed for Jeonju. My strongest reason for visiting that capital city of North Jeolla Province was no others than its food. It was fascinating enough to know that Jeonju was chosen as a Creative Cities for Gastronomy. I expected more experience of Korean food later, especially bibimbap (비빔밥). Jeonju bibimbap (전주비빔밥) is the most famous kind of bibimbap in entire Korea Peninsula, so that was why, during my days in Seoul, I had avoided and rejected any offering and invitation to have bibimbap (비빔밥) anywhere in the metropolis. I un-wavering wanted to taste it for the first time in Jeonju. Yes, now I realize that was a weird reason. 😀 😀
There was at intersection in front of Irina’s university, where Irina and I were hugging each another tightly, saying our goodbye words few times, hugging again, changing words, as though we would have never met again (a little bit drama scene). Since Irina warned me not to post her no-make-up face on my blog, I will post the place instead.
There are few options how to reach Jeonju from Seoul, and I chose the cheapest one; by bus. I took the train which hauled me to Express Bus Terminal that later, I surprisingly found out it was a massive building. So much different with the bus terminal that I already familiar like what we have in East Borneo. The terminal was cozy and connected to shopping complex. It made my bus waiting was quite pleasant and enjoyable. What’s more, when I hopped in to the bus, I was content by the feeling that my ₩ 12,800 for the bus fare was well spent.
However, it didn’t last long. My smile fade away after I beautifully positioning myself and saw all information inside the bus was written in Hangul (except the numbers). Panic attacked. As though it wasn’t enough, the conversation that I had with my next host popped up and worsened my situation. He told me before that I need to stop at this one terminal, not the another one, which I had no idea how to tell the different. The entire basic Hangul lesson that I had briefly learned before arriving in South Korea suddenly disappeared. I couldn’t read anything, but (전주) Jeonju. Even if I could read it, my google didn’t help translating. I was done.
The bus started leaving Seoul. I did communicate with my host. He convinced me that I would be arrived safely but I didn’t get convince at all.
My approximately 2.5 hours ride was quite comfort, but my mind couldn’t stop worrying about how to handle all this Korean language thing. I didn’t find anyone to ask because the other passengers were sleeping right after hopping in to the bus, and I didn’t have the nerve to bother them.
Along the way, if I wasn’t enjoying the shiny day, the blue sky, and the glimpse of nice scenery from my window, or enjoying the cityscapes that we passed, I would be busy worrying my ignorance.
Thanked God, when the bus was getting closer to the shelter, my host texted me and asked whether I had hit the terminal or not because he was free and wanted to pick me up. YEASSH!!! I was saved and overly pleased. That kind of text, at the right time and right place was able to make someone felt like the most lucky or blessed person in the world. Suddenly the thought of being out of the hectic metropolis and arriving in a city which was surrounded by greenery and hilly terrain became so refreshing and relaxing.
And there I was in Jeonju Bus Terminal, battling the chilling spring breeze of Jeonju, waiting for my host while seeing blankly at the city attractions’ map which was entirely written (again) in Hangul, and re-thinking; my Hangul problem WAS NOT over. You better learn your lessons, Yuna!!!
Have you ever been to Jeonju? Was it dramatic as mine?