Sunday, April 27, 2008

KR Travelogue Day5e: Last Encounters

“Are you okay?” Lawrence inquired. I snapped and realized that I’ve been staring into nothingness for what seemed like long minutes now.

“Uhmmm, yeah. I’m okay.”

“Aren’t you going to finish your food?” Referring to my plate – a mixture of noodle and poached egg (which is the reason why I chose it in the menu) – to be able to eat something familiar should the noodle disagree with my taste buds!!

“Oh, I’m full. Thanks!”

There we are – Lawrence, Dien and I – at one of the underground sort of restaurant in Dong Dae Mun. It’s been two hours ago when we arrived in The Shilla Hotel in Seoul. I’ve heard so much about this from the folks in the office giving me the impression that it’s a 5-star hotel or something. The balcony looked spacious – I thought it could fit in a thousand people in there – and well-kept. Except for the huge gorgeous chandelier that warmly lights the lobby area, nothing looked five-star-ish to me. Everything’s so minimalist.

When all delegates came rushing forward towards the receptionist, she gave up on verifying the identity of the first few ones who approached the table and just plainly distributed the labeled mini envelopes that contained the keys to our room as though a mob is gonna attack her if she made them wait for too long. Hehe. I took mine and some of the envelopes and gave them to their rightful owners – Samuel on the priority list of course. Ü♥Ü After handing it to him and he muttered his thanks, Ali approached me to say goodbye. His flight is later tonight and he’s not going to stay in the hotel anymore. I wrapped him in a full-bear hug, promised that we’ll still talk in IM and bid him my take care and goodbye. Sigh, it’s about time to leave. :(

Esther’s been inviting me to join her in the elevator but I told her to go ahead. I’m still looking for someone else who might share the floor with me. When at last I lost sight of Samuel (probably went ahead to his room when I was still talking to Ali) and caught Jaemin and Sean walking towards the lift, I made a dash towards it. I know that even if there’s a group dinner together a little later – these aloof two would not come. What can I say? First crush never die. Haha!! When the leftmost elevator opened, the three of us shuffled aboard.

The deafening silence that followed after we all pressed our floors made me regret that I joined them. Now what??? Am I supposed to talk?? But I cringed as I remembered that I just made a total fool of myself during our last conversation.

“I hope their beds are better this time.” Jaemin said, breaking the ice. Whew!! Thanks for that!!

“Huh, why?” I asked.

“I can’t sleep in my bed in Best Western. I don’t like it. I was sleeping in the floor.” He replied.

“Really? For four nights?”

“Yeah. How about you?”

“Hmm, mine was just okay.”

Then the door opened just in time revealing Sean’s floor. He just gave us this one last look that says “it’s my floor” and stepped out. No goodbye or whatsoever. I almost want to shout See Ya but I recalled the bad boy snobbish figure. Shortly, we reached Jaemin’s but atleast he was courteous enough to say goodbye. Just like that and they were gone. Poof!!

When finally I made it in my room in the 23rd floor, I spread-eagled myself in the bed trying to feel its comfort. Duh?!?! As if its gonna matter. I’m not that choosy when it comes to mattresses. In fact, as soon as drowsiness visited me, I will be able to sleep instantly whether it’s in a sitting position. :P

The price of a night here is double that of where we stayed at in Gumi. Makes sense coz it’s in the city but mind you, it was already discounted!! To a half – this I’m not so sure of. I immediately stood and went on inspecting the toilet (hmmm, very plush!), the mini fridge – is Samsung, the TV – Samsung, and when I looked in the mirror – oh why there’s a Samsung mobile phone in there!! Now I understood the reason for the discount.

Once again, I dove in the bed feeling my heavy eyes about to close if not for I remember the group dinner. I wasn’t able to take note what time will we meet so I quickly dialed the receptionist and asked her to connect me to Lawrence – who I learned was just in the next room.

In 5 minutes, Dien and I are huddled in Lawrence’s room, waiting for the 7:50 call time according to the latter. While waiting, I plopped myself in the chair infront of Lawrence's laptop and started trawling through his pictures in Everland. I noticed that there are a lot of attractions that our group wasn’t able to visit. But it’s okay. With my condition earlier, I don’t think I’m capable of taking on those barf-inducing rides.

We went down earlier in the lobby waiting for everyone. I already knew the moment I stepped out of the lift and saw no one familiar that there was some confusion with the time. I called up Samuel’s room (I’m dying to hear his voice) and there’s no answer. Further calls to Esther and the rest established that they all have probably left. Why didn’t my instinct question the 7:50 to mean actually 7:15?? I mean if we arrived 6:30 it doesn’t seem right to have dinner around an hour after right?? Why didn’t I join Esther in the lift so she could’ve instructed me?? Why didn’t Lawrence clean his ears?? Haha, just kidding. God, where could they be?? I asked as much.

No choice left so around 5 minutes after eight, we hailed a taxi to eat and shop here before we all leave tomorrow. Leaving – just the mere mention of the word – sigh. This could be my last encounter with Samuel – the last supper – and I blew it. =,( I thought after taking the paracetamol and having the short nap on the way to the hotel, I felt better. But no, everything’s not fine. I’m going to be sick again crazy wondering where exactly are they now and what are they doing. I know they’re just around here – probably dining as well and would go shopping later. If only our roads would cross…..

“I know why you're sad. You miss someone. SAMUEL!!”
Dien exclaimed as though he's just discovered the solution to a very perplexing math problem. He looked at Lawrence and I can almost see the thought bubbles traveling between them.

Now, if only looks could kill!! It’s supposed to be our secret!! I shot him furious daggers and was about to launch into a tirade along the lines of how I do not fancy him but it’s too late. The two could’ve probably talked about it in Everland. Besides, what are friends for? There’s no point denying.

“Nothing. I just thought I’ll see him tonight.” I heaved out a huge sigh.

“You know what. Here’s what you should do. Get his number from the receptionist, call him up tomorrow and invite him for a coffee.” Lawrence spoke to me regarding me with fresh interest.

Right. These are what friends are for - giving you suggestions as though they’re just a piece of cake!!

“Of course I wouldn’t do that!” I objected, the Maria Clara in me dominating. :P I wouldn’t even be dreaming of it.

When I finally convinced them that I’m not doing whatever is it that they want me to do, we shifted topic into something else like stuffs to buy. Yup, shopping – I know this would take my mind off him. Slowly, I’m feeling excited again. Like I said, they’re just within the vicinity. Although there’s a very slim chance of us crossing paths, I still prayed for it. Oh God please, allow me to see him again. Please, give me a sign. I put on my extra quilted coat before I pushed the glass door open and felt that frigid December night in the very Christmas-y street of Seoul.

Moi and Dien in the restau

Christmas-y Dong Dae Mun mall


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