Saturday, August 16, 2008

Excitement on a Friday

Yesterday I was in a bus accident. Relax, Mom and Dad, obviously I'm okay if I'm writing a blog entry. I had the day off because August 15th is Korea's Independence Day (independence from Japan), so I went to Busan to get a new puppy. I found an adorable little Shih Tzu who immediately won my heart, and it seemed like my Friday was turning out to be pretty terrific. I navigated the Busan subway with no problems, and was thrilled to get a window seat on the bus (in Korea, they usually assign seats on buses, on trains, at movie theaters, etc.).

It started to rain quite hard as we pulled out of the Busan bus terminal. My puppy was happily snuggled down for a nap in her carrier, so I got out my book and enjoyed some pleasant reading. After awhile I decided to nap for a bit. I was awakened from my restful slumber by a loud BOOM and a sudden lurching forward of the bus, which sent me toppling to the floor (and a few other people as well). I thought at first that we had run over something with the back tires, since it felt like the back of the bus was briefly airborne. It turned out that a semi had smacked into the back of the bus.

The bus and the semi pulled over to the side of the road, where we waited for the police to arrive. They came surprisingly quickly; whether this was owing to Korean efficiency or just being in the area at the time, I don't know. While the police looked everything over, the driver reassured everyone in Korean (from the looks on their faces, I gathered that everything was okay). When the driver went to start the bus again, however, he couldn't get it to start. So, we sat for another several minutes, then he tried again. No luck. More minutes ticked away, the puppy got restless, and I noticed that I was getting a head and neck ache. Finally, the bus started and we made it back to Gyeongju.

By this time, the rain was even stronger, so I bought an overpriced umbrella from an adjuma at the bus terminal and headed out to hail a taxi. I got one pretty quickly, but still managed to get soaked. I had originally planned to buy groceries after I got back, but having just survived a bus accident, I decided to take the puppy home and stay in for the night watching episodes of "Monk." What a Friday!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"