Taking a taxi you have to realize that addresses are not used to find buildings. Taxi drivers use landmarks (and the Earth’s magnetic field) to navigate the streets of Korea. So, make sure you know a big, well-known landmark in the vicinity of your destination. Prepare yourself. A taxi ride in Korea is whole new experience, unless you have driven pedal-to-the-metal on the Autobon during rush hour. Before you ask, those sudden, violent applications of the brakes indicate speed cameras.
Here's some basics:
Take me to ______ : ______ say wah choo-say-yo
Turn left: Jah-ee jun ha say yo
Turn right: oo-way jun ha say yo
Go straight: Cheek jin ha say yo
Where is the seatbelt? Ahn jun belta audi ee-soy-yo?
What do you mean there is no seat belt? Way ahn jun belta ohp-soy-yo
Let me out here. Yogi say-wah choo-say yo.
Please let me out here. I don’t want to die a virgin! Jae bahl yogi say-wah choo say yo. Cha nyaw ro choo go sheep jee ahn-ah-yo
Ok I’m not a virgin, but I still want to get out here! Na nun Cha nyaw ahn ee jee mahn, ahjeek do yogi saw ne-ri go sheep-aw-yo
In Busan, there are three subway lines. One Goes from Jang San (near Haeundae) to Yangsan(a suburb just west of Busan) and stops at Haeundae, Bexco, Kawanganli, Kungsung, Soemyon, Gaya and Sah Sang Gu. One goes from Hadan (near Dah dae po) to Nopo dong (just past Pomosa Temple) and stops at PNU, Tongnae, Yon sang dong, Seomyon, Beom il Dong and Nampo dong. The newest line goes from Su young Gu (near Kwanganli) to East Busan (past Tognae and Sajik Stadium). In Seoul, there are multiple lines with many transfer points. It’s a bit confusing unless you are from New York or London, in which case it’s quite simple. By the way, the seats on the end with the middle school students sitting in them are for pregnant women, the elderly and the physically challenged.
What line do I take to get to ________?: _______ ay saw myut ho sun tah-yah-day-yo?
Where do I transfer at?: Audi saw bok kwa tie-yo
Are you from New York or London?: Are you from New York or London?
Round trip: Wahng Bok
Transfer point: bok kwa tah-nun goat
Excuse me: She lay hahm-nee-da. (A woman over 50 may substitute a sharp elbow in the ribs for ‘excuse me’)
(after 10pm) What is that god-awful smell?: Jah Name say moe ee-ay-yo
(you will most likely hear) It’s a mix of kimchi and soju.: Kimchi wah soju name say ee-ay-yo
Busan is a wonderful city to walk around and take in the sights. Between the mountains and the sea, I have spent many a Saturday or Sunday enjoying the wonderful view (especially during mini-skirt season). Stay on the main thoroughfares, and you will find it is easy to get around on foot.
I’m lost. Gil –ul il-yus-sum-nee-dah
How do I get to ______? ______ay aw-taw-kay guy-yo?
How far is it to ______? _______ ay ull-ma-na mum-nee-ka
(On Sunday or Monday) What are those stains on the sidewalk? Geel ay moo-ush-she moo-duh –ee-sum-nee-ka?
What’s a soju blossom? Soju Goat moe-eem-nee-ka?
In all seriousness, taxi drivers, subway workers and passengers, and pedestrians are a great way to practice your Korean. Korean people are so helpful when finding your way. I learned a lot of Korean from taxi drivers. Be warned though ~ when you use the practiced phrases, taxi drivers may assume you know more than you do, and start speaking Korean to you at lightning fast speed. Just nod politely and throw in a “yeah, yeah” every once in a while.
Korean people are not used to hearing foreign accents, so don’t get discouraged if people don’t understand your pronunciation at first. Korean people are also very patient and appreciate it when you try to learn Korean. Keep using what you know and practicing, and you will see results in a matter of weeks.
Have a question for Gus? firstname.lastname@example.org