A Better Evening: Thursday in Korea

Earlier today, I was quite fed up. I'm still not happy with how much time I feel I've wasted in Korea, trying to get to places and getting turned away. Bad weather will do that, I suppose. And today's holiday was completely unknown to me until I searched online. But that totally messed up my morning plans. 

I'm on the train back from Gwangju. After lunch, I caught a train to Daejeon, where I had been last night for baseball. There's an amusement park just south of town, and while I wish I had tried there first on Wednesday morning (I don't think it was raining in Daejeon yesterday morning when I passed through) it made for a decent stop on the way to Gwangju.

I pulled into Daejeon Station around 2 pm, and after enquiring about how to get to the park and back by bus, I found said mode of transportation and in less than an hour I was at the park. 

I-World has a bunch of children's rides an carnival rides, a free fall ride, and two coasters. There's also a safari and a flower park. 

Time was very short so I headed toward the coasters, shooting pictures along the way. When I came to the free fall ride, I noticed it had both sitting and standing seats! Unfortunately the standing seats were closed. 

I bought my two ride tickets and tried the spinning mouse, which was fun enough, and the kids airplane coaster, which was really short and boring even for a kids coaster, but went around the track three times in one cycle. 

The park was fairly crowded and it took me a while to get on the rides, so from there I bought a souvenir towel map (yep, a souvenir map printed on a hand towel) and went to pick up my bus. 

I had to "return" to Seodaejeon Station, another station that serves the KTX line heading south. I knew which bus to take thanks to the information desk at O-World, but I had to pay close attention to the road and that's the only way I knew to get off at my stop. It's not a very busy station and it's about a quarter mile from the bus stop! Luckily I had noticed road signs, the tracks under the bridge, and the sign on the side of the bus stop (which luckily had English letters). 

I had more drama at the station thanks to some silliness on the part of KoRail. I have a KR-Pass, which gives me unlimited rides for three days, including the high speed line. I can reserve seats, an the computer system seems to know when I have reservations for a line and won't let me double-reserve. But I didn't have my reservation tickets today (yes, my fault) and my change of plans meant that I wanted to cancel and make new reservations. Well, they apparently can't cancel a reservation without the paper slip, nor could they even tell me my reserved seat for the trip I'm on now. 

You don't need a reservation, and in the end there were plenty of seats to take. But during peak times, this is really inconvenient. Again, I realize it's my fault I lost my ticket (actually, forgot it at home) but in this day and age, shouldn't it be possible to reprint the ticket? Or at least locate the reservation information? I had my KR Pass which is used to make the reservations. 

Anyway, I didn't leave Daejeon until about six in the evening so I arrived in Gwangju around 8PM. I should note that there are two Gwangju stations too, one located pretty close to the ballpark (on a spur that serves as the end of the line for now) and one on the southwest side of town near the airport (which continues south). The timing ended up that I had to use the farther one, but an 11,000 won ($11), 25 minute taxi ride later I reached the park. In the fifth inning. 

I had 45 minutes before needing to leave to catch this train, the last one to Seoul where I can still use the subway. So I got inside and took a walk around the park, snapping photos as usual. It's the biggest and most energetic park I've visited so far in Korea, and the Tigers were up by six runs when I got there. 

I wanted some food, and as I walked around I noticed a distinct lack of food. Most Koreans bring in chicken or other food sold outside of the ballpark, or prepare their own. So food selection is very limited. I noticed lots of people buying instant cup ramen inside the park, then using water from hot water dispensers to make the ramen. I probably should have done that but I didn't have the time to waste making my own dinner. I grabbed some spicy chicken on a stick and my first Korean beer. 

The chicken was surprisingly good for what it was, though if I was served it in a restaurant I would be disappointed. The beer was as average as you can get. I tried Cass Fresh, and it was just like Asahi or Bud Lite. 

Anyway, I quickly finished my food and my photo/exploring loop and had all of 10 minutes to enjoy my seat. I watched the Tigers go from 6-1 to 17-2 in 45 minutes, including three errors between the shortstop and second baseman for the Wyrvens in the 10 minutes I was at my seat. When I left, the Tigers had a dozen hits, and the Wyrvens had given up six walks and committed seven errors. 

Getting to nearby Gwangju Station is a straight shot on a main street and ran me exactly 4000 won. I started on the wrong side of the station so that's the most you should have to pay. And now, at 10PM, my day is done. 

After the past four days of setbacks on my trip, I am hoping that tomorrow goes off without a hitch. But I have a dilemma - do I try Lotte World again, which is at the top of my list, or go to Everland, also a good park but not as important to me?

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