Stepping into a crowded train car in Seoul with my cousin, I hear ‘psst..psst’ behind me. I didn’t think much of it and continued chatting.
Only to feel a tap on my my shoulder soon after.
I turned and faced an old man, grinning toothily at me.
“Where are you from?” He asked in English.
I pointed to myself in question. He nodded.
And thus commenced the weirdest conversation that I’ve ever had with anyone on the street.
“Singapore!! Very good country!! Not like Korea!” He wasn’t exactly being very quiet, mind you.
I could feel people around me shuffling on their feet so I smiled and hoped that I reached my stop. FAST.
He continued firing questions at me.
“Friend?” He pointed to my cousin.
I explained who she is.
“Oh hoho….very good!!”
And I reached my stop. I bowed slightly in farewell and the two of us escaped as fast as we could.
Only to hear from behind….
“Where are you going?”
He was now walking abreast with us. We told him that we needed to get to the Brown line.
“Ah!! This way is correct!”
He then walked so fast and ahead of us we thought that we had lost him.
We laughed it off and thought that was the last we would hear from him.
Reaching the correct platform, the train doors were opened so we rushed to make it in before it closed.
Only to turn around and see him weaving his way through the crowded train cars, headed directly towards us.
We kept quiet and hoped he didn’t see us.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“Where you going?” His loud booming voice was clearly intended for us.
We ended up talking to him for the next few stops….and was relieved when our stop came.
Waiting for the doors to open, he told us this.
“Ah…you are heading to Itaewon! Itaewon is good for this!!” He was slapping one fist against his other palm repeatedly.
That action totally rendered both of us so speechless, we could just stare at him in embarrassment since he did it in full view of everyone in the train.
(For the clueless ones, slapping his fist against the palm repeatedly imitates a sexual act)
At that point, we just said farewell and rushed to exit.
The moment the door closed, we both burst out laughing uncontrollably.
While we definitely had not thought of Itaewon with that intention, he certainly gave us a very memorable day at Itaewon for it is forever etched in our mind as the place good for *ehemehem*.
Thanks Haraboji (grandfather)!!