Thursday, January 21, 2010

Episode 48: In Which DFM Waits Three Hours For A Train, And Makes The JWs Hate Homeless People

I had planned to sleep in and hang around Tyler's house on Wednesday, January 6th, until my scheduled train at 1:30 PM. However, I had forgotten that Tyler had to go to work early in the morning, so I would have to get up early to leave with him at 9:30 AM.

While I was at the station, trying to pass the three hour wait for my train, I made many new acquaintances, despite my best efforts to simply read a book by myself on a bench.

There was the homeless person who, despite my clearly not understanding anything he said, still sat beside me and kept trying to talk to me. Eventually I heard him tell me in Korean that he was hungry, so I pulled out a tangerine I had in my bag and gave it to him. With this he said "I'm happy" in English - possibly one of the few English phrases he knew. After this he tried to say more, but a Jehovah's Witness sat down beside me and told him to go away.

There was also the other homeless person who walked up to me, stuck his middle finger in my face and started yelling at me. He then kicked my suitcase with his boot and yelled some more. I took it all in stride and, after I let him calm down a bit, he stuck out his hand to shake mine and then walked off.

At the same time that the above ordeal was taking place, another Jehovah's Witness who had just been telling me how important it was to show love to my neighbour as Jesus would, told me not to talk to talk to the man and ran to call the police. She later told me that she really hated the homeless people around the station. I guess Jesus only loved white tourists and/or other "respectable" people.

This cloud did have a silver lining though, as the aforementioned JWs bought some lunch for me because I actually let them talk to me. I appreciated this a lot because I was too cheap to actually buy my own lunch, and was planning to attempt the entire 5.5 hour ride with only five small tangerines (mandarin oranges) to tide me over.

When I was finally able to board my train, I was surprised to find all of the cars packed with people. I had assumed the long travel time would have dissuaded most travellers, but I guess there are still a whole train load of Koreans as cheap as me. To make matters worse, at each subsequent station the number of people exiting the train seemed to be matched or, in some cases, even exceeded by the number of people on the platform waiting to get on the train. At the worst of times this meant people were standing in the aisle, while at the best of times I still felt rather uncomfortable. Oh well, with a ticket price of roughly $26, compared to the ticket price of an equivalent length bus ride in Alberta ($55), it's hard to complain too much.