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So, I finally get to take off more than 12 hours of time from work for the first time in 4-5 months. I’m really looking forward to getting away. I decide to go to Kangwon land in the Northeast part of the country. It’s in the middle of nowhere from what I’ve heard and the train to get there is actually a transfer & definitely not a high speed train so it will take a minimum 5 hours to get there, but I’d rather do this than take a bus since either route up or down is at risk of a lot of traffic due to the Chuseok holiday. I’ve seen 5 hour drives turn into 14 hour rides.
Arriving in … was a shock to my expectations. After getting off the train, I knew we were arriving in a small town and thus, incredibly small train station, but walking out to find there wasn’t a single taxi blew my mind. Typically, at most train stations, there are cabs waiting in line to take people to wherever the destination may be.
After asking the train station attendant, and after 3 phone numbers to call taxi services that wouldn’t even come to our location, we decided to just walk across the street and wait it out. A cab came barreling at us, but stopped despite having it’s “available” light off. He asked where we were going and we told him “Kangwon land.” He already had a passenger, but told us to get in after I asked how much it would be. He said about 30,000 won which is what the hotel estimated the fee would come out to. We possibly could of took some other buses and an alternative route, but it was dark and honestly, taking a risk on that route probably would of taken us for a ride for another 3 hours and it was already almost 8p. We could of maybe saved 10 to 20,000 won, but come on…$30 for a ride 30 minutes away was nothing compared to many destinations throughout the world.
On the drive away from the train station, the drunk passenger he had in his car started to complain to the cab driver that he was the original customer and shouldn’t be picking up additional customers. The taxi driver retorted with “come on buddy, you’re my friend and I don’t these kind of fairs regularly. I get them once a month and I got to make a living.” The guy replies back constantly saying it’s disrepectful to him and the cab driver in a guilty voice keeps on saying “come on buddy…” since he really did sound like they were friends. The driver said he would buy the guy dinner or drinks next month when he gets his cut after he pays his taxi company. He eventually drops the guy off at the top of a windy road and the guy doesn’t even pay him the 5900 won cab fare which is one of the higher total fares you get even in a big city like Busan. Ouch… On top of that, the guy calls the driver on our way down to give him more of his mind…and this is on top of not paying him? Interesting relationships up here, I see.
The entire drive up to the hotel felt like Seattle. I felt like I was driving on I-90 going to Issaquah. It was so northwest like that I almost felt like I was back home. The drive up to the actual hotel felt like I was driving up the entrance of a lodge in the northwest. It was incredible….
We check in and grab a bite to eat in the decent restaurant. Not cheap at all, but what do we expect? Plus we’re starving. $50 later and fuller than can be, we ready to go to the Casino which is one of the bigger attractions. Of course, for people who know me, they may think I’m coming here for the casino, but if they saw my wallet book, they would realize it’s actually because I wanted to see the sites. I only brought about $200 of spending money and ended up blowing 1/2 of it playing some crazy baccarat due to all the pressure and craziness at the casino.
The casino was nice. And the drive to the casino was free from our hotel. However, we did have some complications because if you don’t bring your i.d. to the casino, you have to pay 5000 won or so to get in.
Tomorrow, we’re planning on checking out a geyser in front of the casino, there look to be many great hikes around & just explore this “Northwest feeling” town and area. I guess there’s a pretty famous mountain here called “Tae-baek” which we may also go up. We’ll see…but no definite plans.