On a random Friday night, I decided to join my friend and her boyfriend around 8pm for a 3 hour car ride.
Traffic got pretty bad around Daegu (a big city) and the driver ended up in this cat-and-mouse game with a bus. If you don’t know, it goes a little something like this… The person in front of you is going slow (for the sake of convenience, this person will be referred to as Slow Charles)–so you change lanes to pass Slow Charles. Then the gods hate you and just before you can cut over in front of Slow Charles…you get stuck behind another slow person. As you bad-mouth the slow driver in front of you, Slow Charles finishes pulling up alongside you and then passes you. You get behind Slow Charles (again) to escape the dumb***slow person, but then Slow Charles slows way the hell down as soon as you’re securely behind them. So…when you see a break, you change lanes to try to pass them again. This time Slow Charles speeds up and to keeps you boxed in. When you do finally get in front of them, Slow Charles gets angry and starts honking and/or flashing their bright-ass high beams at you. This game repeats (but with you honking and flashing your high beams, too) until one of you can escape the other (which can take an agonizingly long time). Needless to say, her boyfriend was PISSED, and everyone was hungry…so we took a break at a rest-stop/service area.
After eating a not-so-delicious meal, we got back on the road. (This time irritation free.) We met up with some more friends at this pretty interesting bar/restaurant. It looked like we were sitting at a Korean-style floor restaurant except that the floor under the table was actually cut away so your (bare or socked) feet were under the table and you’re sitting in a chair position…except that your butt is on the floor. We stayed there for a few hours before relocating to another bar. Everyone got quite drunk, which made it easier(?) to communicate. Only my friends really spoke English–the others were too embarrassed to even attempt—but everyone speaks the language of drink and laughter. It was 5am when we called it a night, but we met up around noon for soup (Korea’s hangover solution). (Then we headed out for a mini adventure.)
About the rest stops: On the highways around Korea, there are quite a few rest stops. They all usually include the same standard things: a HUGE parking lot (for cars and buses); 1-2 gas station (on the other side of the parking lot) depending on if it’s diesel, LPG, or oil; public bathrooms (with about 20 stalls and only 3 sinks=Korean logic); ‘street’ type food outside, and Korean restaurants with a connecting convenience store inside. Sometimes there are clothing stores, magazine stands, or a baker. Most of them also include some people selling random products like CDs, DVDs, flashlights, and sunglasses in stands outside.