The year 2016 is rapidly coming to a close (can you believe it??), which means that now is the perfect time to share a story about some New Year’s Eve shenanigans. The following tale took place in Korea on December 31, 2015. Enjoy!
As I stepped up to the ticket window at Daejeon Station, I couldn’t help but feel excited. After all, I would soon be boarding a train to Busan, where I would then catch a ferry across the East Sea to Fukuoka, Japan, to ring in the new year. I politely presented my passport to the ticket window dude, because that’s the way foreigners’ reservations are found on the KORAIL computer system–via nationality and passport number. Simple, right?
At this point, I noticed the bewildered look on the dude’s face as he stared into his computer screen. He then called out to his boss, who strolled over and proceeded to stare at the screen with an equal level of perplexity for four full minutes. Meanwhile, the line behind me was teeming with anxious teenagers who were eager to get their own tickets out of town for their New Year’s celebrations, and they were all growing impatient with the pasty white foreigner who was momentarily preventing them from getting to their destination to watch their balls drop (errrrrm, I mean, “the ball drop”). To top it off, some old bag started to panic because her novelty “Happy New Year” ice cream cake was starting to melt, and she’ll be damned if she had 240 seconds to spare (lady, what the hell did you do with it once you got onto your train–put it in the ever-so-readily-available “freezer car”???)
At this point, the two rocket scientists behind the glass informed me that they were unable to find a reservation that matches my “Australian citizenship”. HUH??? 😬 Incredulous, I pointed to the front of my passport to indicate that I am, indeed, an American. These two Rhodes Scholars let out a synchronized and comedic “Ohhhhhhh!” before turning three different shades of red. Turns out that they thought I was an Australian because I was wearing an Australian flag NECK PILLOW. 😳 You friggin’ buffoons, it might have been helpful to consult the gosh-darn PASSPORT that I presented to ya at the beginning of the transaction!! CRIKEY!! 😡
(Ice cream cake soup for everyone!!)