Rely on a Miracle to Happen in ferry terminal
“High chance you can’t enter South Korea by ferry, sir. I really do not wish to give you false hope. However, I will send the request to the Incheon Immigration department. If they can accept your arrival, I will issue the ticket, otherwise you have to fly….”
It was unexpected news..
The news any traveler would not wish to hear and the news which really made me completely rely on a miracle to happen…
” You have to wait at least 2 hours to know the respond/answer from the Immigration department of Incheon. Looks like now is their lunch hour… But, my suggestion is, better you go back to your hotel, and to be frank normally they don’t accept to enter South Korea by ferry sir”…
She was repeatedly throwing the words I did not wish to listen.
100% hope for the 1% chance
I decided to come back to the terminal after a few hours. The chances were very slim, but my hopes were too big. Furthermore, I have already completed 2/3 parts of my journey. My aim is not to South Korea, but by ferry to South Korea. The Weidong Ferry service is only available 3 times per week from Qingdao to Incheon. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So, I put 100% hope for the 1% chance.
But, Qingdao did not disappoint me. It was a very unique city. Initially I didn’t know much about Qingdao, however, the German touch of architecture on street buildings triggered me to dig more about its history. Qingdao was occupied by Germans from 1814-1891. During the colonial period, the Germans left a distinct mark on Qingdao’s architecture that can still be seen in its historic center and train stations. The train station has undergone a recent overhaul that has tried to strike a balance between maintaining its colonial heritage while modernizing to be the terminus of the high speed rail line to Beijing (source: wikitravel)
Qingdao was too cold for me, about 6-10°C. Furthermore, the thick foggy weather retained me within the Nordic Osheania Hostel most of the time. The interior classic architecture of the Hostel very much impressed me. I managed to upgrade my room to double bed for 12 USD. The permanent resident (picture below) of the hostel was too friendly to me and turned out to be my best companion there.
After spending a few hours in the hostel, I decided to visit the ferry terminal to try my luck. It was a long walk in the cold 8°C weather. The moment I reached the counter, she responded to me ” very sorry sir, to make you wait longer”. The sorry word really triggered some kind of disappointment in me immediately. My heart pumped faster filled with adrenaline. My face flushed, she continued, “the Incheon immigration accepted your arrival, be here by 2 pm tomorrow, we will issue the ticket for you”. I froze. For a moment, i could not accept the overwhelmingly happy news. I was elated…..Yayyyyyyy
Seriously, it was a complete miracle for me.On the following day, I reached the ferry terminal earlier with full of excitement. Excitement because I’m going to complete my final leg of the journey and I’m going back home after visiting South Korea.
only a few passengers appeared. The ferry terminal was in dead silence. Thick foggy weather brought down the temperature badly to 7°C.
Once I reached the counter, the same lady, her eye narrowed after saw me. I was pretty sure she going to say some bad news to me.
Her ” Sorry sir”, again it triggered millions of dissapointing thoughts. My face flushed again. Adrenalin rushed lavishly.
” The ferry which is supposed to reach Qingdao port will be delayed very much due to the thick foggy weather. We are not sure what time the ferry will touch the port. So, I’m unable to issue the ticket for you at this moment. In the worst case scenario we may cancel today’s departure to Incheon.” She explained the situation clearly. I had no questions to ask. I saw a few passengers who regularly travel by ferry to Incheon from China frustrated and disappointed.
Since there was no any other better choice, I decided to wait, wait and wait…Around 4 pm in the evening, the ticket was finally issued. The ticket price was surprisingly cheaper, RMB 480 than I expected could be due to the low season. Around 6 pm, announcement for the departure took place. wow… long waited ferry and the moment arrived.. The sleeping compartment was really clean and comfortable.
Bad news brought good news
It was too cold to be outside of the cabin longer. The ferry was still anchored at the port. After my dinner around 7 pm, I decided to go to bed as I was bushed. The dinner was expensive for me as I paid 6000 Korean Won for the meal but it was tasty.
I had a very good night sleep and got up around 4 am. checked out of the window, shockingly, the ferry remained anchored at the same place I boarded. I rushed to the reception area and found out that the thick foggy weather didn’t allow them to sail. They told that the ferry was scheduled to start sailing around 1 pm but was not confirmed. The reception did announced a good news to pacify me. Starting now till the ferry reaches Incheon port, all meals will be free of charge…. yasssss
Despite the hassle in Mohan, the overland journey from Seremban(Malaysia) to Kunming was sucsessful. Now, I had to travel more than 6,000km overland to reach my goal (Seoul) from Kunming. I still had half way journey left to complete. A little depression, loneliness and excitement was building up and my health wasn’t in a good state. It was a Similar health condition during my Seremban to Bangkok journey a few weeks back. I know its a common issue to be mentally ill when your body is also ill.
‘Pneumonia on board’
I left Kunming to Shanghai before the night Sundram left Kunming to Kuala Lumpur. On that night, the weather was very cold and was raining too. My initial problem due to pneumonia hasn’t been cleared completely even after taking Augmentin for 7 days. My lungs were troubled badly. I started to have tachycardia with some mild fever. My lungs were filling up with phlegm and I knew that wasn’t a good sign. At the same time, I was terribly demotivated and my mind didn’t allow me to take further steps. At some point, I had a thought to go back hom
However, I was very confident that all these psychological stress I’m facing is to truly to recover my physiological system, in fact to put my body to complete rest. This was one of the critically challenging part of being solo on the road. When you fall sick, there will be no one you can lean on.
The moment I reached the train station, I bought two packs of peanuts. Peanuts are a natural remedy to clear the phlegm in your lungs . I have tried it before and it worked perfectly for me. So, I was hoping that the 38 hours train journey with two packs of peanuts will give me a good rest and recover my lungs. Fortunately, I managed to get lower birth (CNY 550) and ‘thank to peanut’ the following day my lungs relaxed very much.
The view while crossing the country side of China for 38 hours by train was utterly fruitful.
CNY 550 enough to cover
- Accommodation cost for 2 nights ,
- Transportation cost for 2660 km distance travel,
- The priceless views of countryside and importantly, the people and travelers
The Bund- Night View
Even though Shanghai was just my transit stop before i reach Qindao, I really did not wish to miss The Nanjing Road and the Bund, especially the night view. Places in Shanghai are well connected by the metro system and fortunately many of them do speak English. The Bund area was fabulously and brilliantly lighted up. The night view became an excellent ground for me to test my night photography skills taught by Sundram in Kunming. The only sad part was, it was too crowded
THAT’S ALL FOR THIS PART OF MY AMAZING JOURNEY FROM KUALA LUMPUR TO SEOUL. THANK YOU ALL FOR READING AND DO NOT FORGET TO SHARE AND COMMENT ON THIS POST. UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN IN THE GRAND FINALE OF THIS JOURNEY,
KEEP ON TRAVELLING! =)
Travel with a Professional Photographer
Even though I have thousands of justification to be solo on the road, it cannot be like travelling with your best friend sometimes. What if your best friend is a professional photographer? That would be of utmost excitement. During my twenties, I had good opportunities to travel with one of my best friends, Shun who was a professional photographer too. I was the routine foreground-background-center subject for most of his pictures. Eventually, l lost that privilege to travel with him as he was busy with his career. When there were no one to follow me, I had to learn all by myself.
The 30 hours bus journey from Laos plus the hassle and bassle in Mohan immigration really slowed down my momentum in Kunming. However, I got excited after I knew that another best friend of mine, Sundram was arriving in Kunming to travel with me. This was considered a good opportunity for me to have a short break from my solo travelling like a Monk on vacation. My happiness doubled as he is a professional photographer. I believed this to be an excellent opportunity for me to tag along with with him to improve my photography skills.
A Monk On Vacation
Sundram already booked a twin sharing room in LongMay Youth Hotel. He does not prefer Hostel. I reached the hotel earlier than the him. The hotel wasn’t English friendly. The temperature was about 12º C which pretty cold for me. I decided to stay in the room while waiting for Sundram to reach. Furthermore, my body hasn’t recovered from the tiredness of the 30 hours bus journey from Laos. Finally, Sundram reached the hotel around 7 pm. It was a great feeling to meet my best friend after 2 weeks and the best part was, on the way of my long journey, I scheduled to spend about 4 days in Kunming with Sundram. My solo trip journey ‘stress’ was relieved temporarily. I switched to ‘relax’ mode , just like a monk on vacation.
The cold temperature didn’t stop us on that night to look for KFC. Why KFC? Sundram doesn’t prefer Chinese food and desperately I wanted to have my favorite ‘Nai cha’ (tea with milk) which only available in KFC. The KFC was located 2 km away from the hotel. Walking wasn’t a problem because of the comforting weather. On the way back to hotel from KFC, we got amazed with night view of Kunming especially around Cuihu lake. Sundram taught me some special techniques and critical steps on taking night photography.
on the second day, we spent time around the Flower Market in Kunming. The flower market (they do sell many other items too) was surrounded with old architecture buildings, importantly the market wasn’t disturbed in the process of development. More locals than tourist was noted. The flower market also cater for pet lovers such as dogs, fish and birds, sometimes they do sell children also(hahahahaha) NO NO NO, she (photo below) must be the daughter to the shop keeper.
Yunnan Ethnic Village
The next day, Sundram and I were very confused on where to go, however, the Dianchi lake was in consideration. While waiting in the hotel lobby, we met Tereza and Torr. Tereza spoke Mandarin well. She solved the communication issue between me and the hotel reception girl. Fortunately, Tereza approached us to share a taxi to Yunnan Ethnic Village with them. Without second thoughts , we agreed. The village showcases approximately 26 ethnics cultural styles, architecture and folk customs. We only realized later that the village was located adjacent to Dianchi lake. The entrance fees was 90 CNY per person. Some villages did perform their cultural dances.
The tour with Tereza and Torr became a very unforgettable time in Yunnan Ethnic Village where both of them were very humorous, friendly and very entertaining. Especially, Torr was very witty.
The highlight in the village was, on that day there were hundreds of school children who have gone for a field trip there. The fun part was the childrens’ funny reaction towards us . However, we turned that moment to capture the children’s innocent and cute reactions.
Four days in Kunming passed very quickly and without any stress with Sundram, Tereza and Torr. My next leg of travelling which is to Shanghai from Kunming need to be arranged. A little stress was building up. Furthermore,I was going to be back to solo again (‘Vacation over for the Monk’). However, that is my objective, that is my way and that is my journey…..