Incheon

p10000861

The other day I asked my co-workers if there was anything to do or see around Incheon, since I’m only about 10 stops away on the subway and had only been in the city when I flew into Korea at the Incheon International Airport. They did not seem really impressed with Incheon and the area, but it’s the closest I can get to the ocean in a hurry and with the weather starting to warm up, Josh and I headed out there to see if there was, in fact, anything to be seen. 

As soon as we walked out from the subway platform we found ourselves directly across from the only “official” (there are others?) Chinatown in Korea. It’s really just a small hill with some shops and restaurants lining each side. The trinket shops were fun and interesting and filled with all sorts of useless stuff, which is exactly what a souvenir shop should be. There were stuffed tigers, jade Buddhas and embroidered slippers- everything I would never need, but it will all still a find a way in my suitcase. 

the General

Once we reached the top of the hill, it opened up into “Freedom Park,” a pretty green area meant to celebrate and commemorate the Korea-U.S. relationship and to honor General McArthur who designed the Incheon landing that helped turn the tide in the Korean War. (After reading The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam I’m not really this man’s biggest fan, but it was interesting to see anyway.) Josh was pumped because there was a man selling cotton candy off the back of his mo-ped.

From there, we decided that we definitely wanted to check out the beaches since we were so close and headed back towards the subway station where there’s a tourist information center. They helped us into a cab ( about $5) to get to Wolmido. Wolmido is a fun little area with a small carnival with really impressive Viking ship rides and you can catch a ferry if you want over to the islands. We didn’t really know what we were doing so we just found a line and got in it. It was about $3/person I think for the ferry ride over to Yongyu Island which is actually where Incheon Airport is located.  

p1000107

 

After Josh’s first ferry ride (exciting!) we made it to…well, at first glance a whole lot of nothing. A bus stop, basically. After finding out the bus we wanted would be about an hour, we wasted time by wandering into…a…shantytown. This country never ceases to amaze me.

Finally, we made it to the beach! It was really pretty, but absolutely freezing, so after getting a good look and some photos, we got back on a bus headed to the airport subway station and trained it back home. 

It was a fun daytrip. My favorite part was when a girl was trying to explain why our bus was stopping by miming eating rice with chopsticks and then pretending to drive crazily. Turns out she was trying to let us know “the bus needed to eat,” or as her friend bluntly said, “fuel injection.”

 p1000112 p1000110 yongyu island

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Rapid Trains (Seoul Station)

 

Seoul Station Express (Down)

Seoul Station-Siheung-Anyang-Gunpo-Uiwang-Suwon-Byeongjeon-Osan-Seojoeng-ri-Pyeongtaek-Seonghwan-Dujeong-Cheonan

Seoul Station→Cheonan

 

Week

Saturdays

Holidays

7

14 14

19

14 12

20

03 03

Rapid Trains (Seojong-ri)

 

Seojeong-ri Express (Up)

Seoul Station←Seojeong-ri

Seojeong-ri Express (Down)

Seojeong-ri→Cheonan

Seoul Station-Yongsan-Guro-Gasan Digital Complex -Anyang-Suwon-Byeongjeon-Osan-Seojeong-ri-Pyeongtaek-Seonghwan-Dujeong-Cheonan

 

Weekdays

Saturdays

Holidays

Weekdays

Saturdays

Holidays

5

6

28, 59 28, 59

7

49 49 19 19 19

8

49 (Yongsan) 49 (Yongsan) 49 (Yongsan) 08 08

9

59 59 59

10

00 (Yongsan) 00 (Yongsan) 00 (Yongsan)

11

09 (Yongsan) 09 (Yongsan) 09 (Yongsan) 06 06 06

12

05 (Yongsan) 05 (Yongsan) 05 (Yongsan) 38 38 38

13

31 (Yongsan) 31 (Yongsan) 31 (Yongsan) 46 46 46

14

49 (Yongsan) 49 (Yongsan) 49 (Yongsan) 19 19 19

15

46 46 46

16

13 (Yongsan) 13 (Yongsan) 13 (Yongsan) 49 49 49

17

14 (Yongsan) 14 (Yongsan) 14 (Yongsan) 47 47 47

18

04 (Yongsan) 04 (Yongsan) 04 (Yongsan) 52 52 52

19

47 (Yongsan) 47 (Yongsan) 47 (Yongsan)

20

46 (Yongsan) 46 (Yongsan) 46 (Yongsan) 09, 57 07, 57

21

24 (Yongsan) 24 (Yongsan) 24 (Yongsan) 46 46 46

22

45 45 45

23

24

 

 

 

thanks, wikipedia!

Rapid Trains (Noryangjin)

 

 

Noryangjin Express (Down)

Yongsan-Noryangjin-Daebang-Singil-Yeongdeungpo-Sindorim-Guro-Yeokgok-Bucheon-Songnae-Bupyeong-Dongam-Juan-Dongincheon

Noryangjin→Dongincheon

 

Week

Saturdays

Holidays

5

51, 59 (Dongincheon) 53 (Dongincheon)

6

19 (Cheonan), 11, 25, 36, 49, 57 (Dongincheon) 19 (Cheonan), 03, 16, 26, 42, 49 (Dongincheon) 19 (Cheonan), 15, 43 (Dongincheon)

7

03, 10, 18, 28, 34, 40, 45, 52, 56 (Dongincheon) 01, 10, 17, 28, 34, 40, 46, 53, 59 (Dongincheon) 00, 21, 43 (Dongincheon)

8

01 (Bupyeong), 59  (Cheonan), 05, 11, 18, 24, 32, 41, 50 (Dongincheon) 28, 37, 46, 54 (Guro) 34 (Bupyeong), 59 (Cheonan), 05, 11, 19, 27, 41, 49 (Dongincheon) , 54 (Guro)     

 

59 (Cheonan), 03, 23, 41 (Dongincheon), 55 (Guro)     

 

9

02, 13, 29, 47 (Dongincheon) 06, 16, 21, 39, 50, 58 (Guro) 03, 16, 28, 42, 57 (Dongincheon) 09, 32 (Guro) 03, 21, 23 (Dongincheon), 36 43 (Guro)

10

06 (Cheonan), 11, 33, 55 (Dongincheon) 06 (Cheonan), 10, 19, 29, 40, 52 (Dongincheon) 06 (Cheonan), 01, 20, 39 (Dongincheon)

11

38 (Cheonan), 14, 31, 56 (Dongincheon) 38 (Cheonan), 04, 16, 28, 42, 52 (Dongincheon) 38 (Cheonan), 02, 24, 43 (Dongincheon)

12

46 (Cheonan), 19, 38 (Dongincheon) 08 (Bupyeong), 46 (Cheonan), 02, 17, 28, 38, 51 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 02, 22, 38 (Dongincheon)

13

19 (Cheonan), 00, 22, 44 (Dongincheon) 56 (Bupyeong), 19 (Cheonan), 03, 15, 29, 40, 51 (Dongincheon) 19 (Cheonan), 00, 22, 43 (Dongincheon)

14

46 (Cheonan), 05, 26, 50 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 05, 18, 28, 39, 51 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 03, 25, 42 (Dongincheon)

15

49 (Cheonan), 08, 27, 44 (Dongincheon) 49 (Cheonan), 04, 17, 29, 41, 53 (Dongincheon) 49 (Cheonan), 02, 20, 42 (Dongincheon)

16

47 (Cheonan), 04, 20, 37(Dongincheon) 47 (Cheonan), 04, 16, 28, 39, 52 (Dongincheon) 47 (Cheonan), 03, 20, 40 (Dongincheon)

17

52 (Cheonan), 00, 10, 22, 28, 33, 42, 48, 56 (Dongincheon) 52 (Cheonan), 04, 17, 29, 42, 49 (Dongincheon) 52 (Cheonan), 01, 21, 43 (Dongincheon)

18

01, 09, 16, 23, 31, 38, 44, 50, 57 (Dongincheon) 01, 14, 26, 38, 50 (Dongincheon) 32 (Guro) 01, 20, 38 (Dongincheon) 31 (Guro)

19

03, 10, 16, 26, 35, 42, 50, 59 (Dongincheon), 06, 20, 55 (Guro) 00 , 13, 27, 40, 51(Dongincheon) 35 (Guro) 02, 27, 43 (Dongincheon), 19 (Guro)

20

46 (Cheonan), 08, 15, 21, 30, 39, 50 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 01, 15, 27, 39, 51 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 01, 22, 42 (Dongincheon)

21

45 (Cheonan), 03, 15, 26, 38, 51(Dongincheon), 09 (Guro) 45 (Cheonan), 04, 17, 29, 40, 51 (Dongincheon) 45 (Cheonan), 03, 24, 41 (Dongincheon)

22

04, 16, 31, 47 (Dongincheon) 09, 42 (Guro) 06, 20, 34, 47 (Dongincheon), 01, 39 (Guro) 43 (Bupyeong), 03, 23 (Dongincheon) 09 (Guro)

23

17 (Bucheon), 01 (Bupyeong)     

 

17 (Bucheon), 01 (Bupyeong) 03 (Bucheon)

24

thanks, wikipedia!

thanks, wikipedia!

Rapid Trains (Yongsan)

 

Yongsan Express (Down)

Yongsan-Noryangjin-Daebang-Singil-Yeongdeungpo-Sindorim-Guro-Yeokgok-Bucheon-Songnae-Bupyeong-Dongam-Juan-Dongincheon

 

Weekdays

Saturdays

Holidays

5

48, 56 (Dongincheon) 50 (Dongincheon)  

6

16 (Cheonan), 08, 22, 33, 46, 54 (Dongincheon) 16 (Cheonan), 00, 13, 23, 39, 46, 58 (Dongincheon) 16 (Cheonan), 12, 40, 57 (Dongincheon)

7

58 (Bupyeong), 00, 07, 15, 25,  31, 37, 42, 49, 53, (Dongincheon) 07, 14, 25, 31, 37, 43, 50, 56 (Dongincheon) 18, 40 (Dongincheon)

8

56 (Cheonan), 02, 08, 15, 21, 29, 38, 47, 59 (Dongincheon), 25, 34, 42, 51 (Guro) 31 (Bupyeong), 56 (Cheonan), 02, 08, 16, 24, 38, 46, (Dongincheon), 51 (Guro) 56 (Cheonan), 00, 20, 38 (Dongincheon), 52 (Guro)

9

10, 26, 44 (Dongincheon) 03, 13, 18, 36, 47, 55 (Guro) 00, 13, 25, 39, 54 (Dongincheon) 06, 29 (Guro) 00, 18, 40, 58 (Dongincheon) 33 (Guro)

10

03 (Cheonan), 08, 30, 52 (Dongincheon) 03 (Cheonan), 07, 16, 26, 37, 49 (Dongincheon) 03 (Cheonan), 17, 36, 59 (Dongincheon)

11

35 (Cheonan), 11, 28, 53 (Dongincheon) 35 (Cheonan), 01, 13, 25, 39, 49, 59 (Dongincheon) 35 (Cheonan), 21, 40, 59 (Dongincheon)

12

43 (Cheonan), 16, 35, 57 (Dongincheon) 05 (Bupyeong), 43 (Cheonan), 14, 25, 35, 48 (Dongincheon) 43 (Cheonan), 19, 35, 57 (Dongincheon)

13

16 (Cheonan), 19, 41 (Dongincheon) 53 (Bupyeong), 16 (Cheonan), 00, 12, 26, 37, 48, (Dongincheon) 16 (Cheonan), 19, 40 (Dongincheon)

14

43 (Cheonan), 02, 23, 47 (Dongincheon) 43 (Cheonan), 02, 15, 25, 36, 48 (Dongincheon) 43 (Cheonan), 00, 22, 39, 59 (Dongincheon)

15

46 (Cheonan), 05, 24, 41 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 01, 14, 26, 38, 50 (Dongincheon) 46 (Cheonan), 17, 39 (Dongincheon)

16

44 (Cheonan), 01, 17, 34, 57 (Dongincheon) 44 (Cheonan), 01, 13, 25, 36, 49 (Dongincheon) 44 (Cheonan), 00, 17, 37, 58 (Dongincheon)

17

49 (Cheonan), 07, 19, 25, 30, 39, 45, 53, 58 (Dongincheon) 49 (Cheonan), 01, 14, 26, 39, 46, 58 (Dongincheon) 49 (Cheonan), 18, 40, 58 (Dongincheon)

18

06, 13, 20, 28, 35, 41, 47, 54 (Dongincheon) 11, 23, 35, 47, 57 (Dongincheon), 29 (Guro) 17, 35, 59 (Dongincheon) 28 (Guro)

19

00, 07, 13, 23, 32, 39, 47, 56 (Dongincheon) 03, 17, 52 (Guro) 10, 24, 37, 48, 58 (Dongincheon) 32 (Guro) 24, 40, 58 (Dongincheon), 16 (Guro)

20

43 (Cheonan), 05, 12, 18, 27, 36, 47 (Dongincheon) 43 (Cheonan), 12, 24, 36, 48 (Dongincheon) 43 (Cheonan), 19, 39 (Dongincheon)

21

42 (Cheonan), 00, 12, 23, 35, 48 (Dongincheon) 06 (Guro) 42 (Cheonan), 01, 14, 26, 37, 48  (Dongincheon), 58 (Guro) 42 (Cheonan), 00, 21, 38 (Dongincheon)

22

58 (Bupyeong), 01, 13, 28, 44, (Dongincheon) 06, 39 (Guro) 58 (Bupyeong), 03, 17, 31, 44 (Dongincheon), 36 (Guro) 40 (Bupyeong), 00, 20 (Dongincheon) 06 (Guro)

23

14 (Bucheon) 14 (Bucheon) 00 (Bucheon)

24

 

thanks, wikipedia!

thanks, wikipedia!

Teaching

The littlest

I’m so glad I’m at a point in life where I get to be somebody’s “crazy foreign teacher.” I always thought that would be such a good time, and it has turned out even better than I thought.

First, being a teacher at a hagwon, or private English academy, I don’t have to roll into work until 2pm. I then have maybe 5 classes at about 45 minutes each, and the rest of the time I’m correcting work or preparing for class. As a rule, we generally try to leave the building at about 8pm each night unless we have our once-a-week meeting. This meeting is between the 2 Korean  teachers, the director and the vice-director, and me. They conduct the hour-long meeting in Korean, and I have blatantly told them that since I don’t really speak enough of the language to understand, I make up my own storyline and pretend I’m watching a drama. They actually think that’s hilarious, and we get along swimmingly.

Teacher's Office

Also, built into my year-long contract is a studio apartment, a plane ticket both ways, and supposedly 50% of my health care, but we’ve never really discussed that one. I know I’m not paying my 50%, so I’ll assume they’re not paying it either. Eh, it’s totally fine. Oh, and my director got me a toaster oven.

While all of the above is fantastic, the best part of my job is absolutely the kids. They are sweet, generous, sometimes hellish, but generally always hysterically funny. I teach them about syllables, intonation, and trashy pop culture. Now everytime I ask my 5B class how they’re doing, they always yell, “Fabahlus!” while 7A has been forced to translate and then discuss Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ “. Important. 

At first, I think they may have been a little nervous around me. Korean teachers are known to be much stricter than their Western counterparts-in fact, I’ve seen a ruler used to slap a few kids for not doing homework. (It was really just the lightest tap, but it still kind of shocked me.) However, once we took a time out because no one had appropriately taught them how to whistle yet, they’re completely comfortable.

"Fahbalus" with a finger snap.

Songtan-Hotels

 

Songtan, Line 1After work on Friday night, I decided to head into Songtan. I haven’t seen my boyfriend in a couple weeks since they started their “peninsula-wide military exercise”, and we were planning to get together Saturday morning since that would be the only time in the foreseeable future that he would have any time off. I’m not really the morning type, so opting to go get a hotel was really the only choice.

I know most of the military guys, or actually most people in general, don’t really like “the ville,” the town otherwise known as Songtan that seems to have cropped up right outside the gates of Osan Air Base solely to provide a seedy area for army and air force to spend their money. I guess the best way to describe is to go to google- type in Songtan. The first recommended option that comes up in that little box is “songtan korea”, and the next is “songtan sally”. Songtan Sally is a local prostitute whose soliciting pick-up line (“Wanna go?”) has become so famous they now have t-shirts selling with the slogan. She’s a heavy woman, we believe Korean, bad jeans, bad hair, and is usually eating some kind of meat on a stick. Songtan Sally is the ville’s local mascot. 

The good thing is, since there are so many…ladies of the night, there are a lot of hotels in the area for me to choose from. My first choice, hands down, is the Capital Hotel. A 2,000 taxi ride from the train station, it is clean, close to the main gates, the rooms are large and well laid-out with a large TV, refrigerator, hair-dryer, and they provide toiletries and snacks-free! Generally it’s about W55,000 per night. 

Unfortunately, I did not realize that during these military exercises, they don’t house the people they bring in on the base. While there is a hotel on Osan Air Base (http://www.51services.com/turumi.html), I’m assuming it must have been booked solid. So, at 11:23 when I arrived and was greeted by my favorite hotel staff, they told me there were no rooms at the Capital. Which then must have caused a severe look of panic to have crossed my face, because he then offered to call around to other hotels to see if there were any available.

Garden Hotel

The only place was the Garden Hotel with a room for W60,000, fortunately right down the hill. After thanking him, I decided to check in with the World Hotel (a stone’s throw away), just in case. I also like the World Hotel. A lot of the same amenities, the only reason I don’t usually stay there anymore is because they had a little trouble with their credit card machine or something and ended up charging W5oo,ooo instead of W55,000 for one night. They had nothing, so ended up going down to the Garden.

I’ll let you guess on which bed I found stains in the bed clothes.

Ok, I’m not usually one to bring my complaints to the World Wide Web, so just a note of caution: if you have a choice, choose not to stay at the Garden Hotel. Not only did it have a strange smell when you walk in (I can’t place it, but something with ginseng and kind of old-lady) but I knew it was a class establishment when I closed the bedroom door and saw a very important, and apparently needed, sign. 

Class

 

Other than that, it had two beds, a small TV, a very dirty vanity with missing drawer handles, and I hate to say it, but an atrociously ugly bathroom design scheme. 

There are a  bunch of hotels in the area though that aren’t seedy, there are a couple that are recommended by the base:

http://osanguide.com/hotels.html

 

Update: F* all that. Go to the Crown Hotel, right off the main strip. At about $30/night, it’s fantastic.

bedbath

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