Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walk Thoughts #37: about those pensions

Pensions, pensions, pensions. There doesn't seem to be a single standard way for Korean pensions to do business. After calling and/or texting all seven of the pensions and "guest houses" on my list, I got varied answers to my several questions. Do I need to make a reservation? Some places say yes; others say, "Just walk in." How much are accommodations for one night? The answer varies anywhere from W30,000 (cheap) to W120,000 (steep). How do I make a reservation? I can either reserve over the phone, there and then, or I can send a yeyak-geum (basically, a reservation fee) to the specified bank-account number. Do these places take single travelers or only groups? At least four places said single travelers were fine; one place gave a definite no, and I'm waiting for answers from the remaining two (which I'd texted because their lines were busy when I called).

This changes my plans somewhat, but not by much. I may end up camping more days than I'd thought, but that's fine. What I'm counting on is that there'll be campgrounds near the certification centers, which will obviate the need for hotels, inns, pensions, and so on.

UPDATE: I have four pensions where I'll definitely be staying, and I've updated my travel chart to reflect this. To sum up:

Day 3: guest house = no change to the schedule (reservation made)
Day 4: pension = no change to the schedule (walk in)
Day 5: pension = no change to the schedule (walk in)
Day 8: CANCELED (pension has no room for single travelers) = camping
Day 9: pension = no change to the schedule (reservation made)
Day 10: guest house = no change to the schedule (reservation made)
Day 12: CANCELED (pension too expensive at W120,000) = camping

So really, the only updates are for what's happening on Days 8 and 12.

UPDATE 2: it occurs to me that the yeyak-geum may literally be only a reservation fee: in other words, if I'm paying W30,000 or W50,000 up-front, I may still have to pay more upon arrival. There was some confusion, during my several conversations, as to how much I'd be paying for what. I started off asking, in each case, what the sukbak-bi (accommodation fee) would be, i.e., the entire price for a single night's stay. In some cases, I was given a figure for the yeyak-geum, i.e., the fee to reserve a room. Having committed myself to staying in at least four of these places, I'll report back to you as to their actual costs once I leave each place and find time to blog. It's good that I thought of this problem, otherwise I might feel wallet-raped upon arrival at each of these places.

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