Emergency Situation - Passing out on a bus

I consider myself to be quite calm in most chaotic/emergency situations. This comes from several years experience working in chaotic environments. I didn’t imagine I would have to experience MY OWN emergency situation while in Korea.  Here’s what went down:

Christmas weekend, I decided to go to Ulsan (my Korean hometown) to spend the holiday with two close friends. I arrived at the bus station in the early afternoon, around 1pm. Due to the holidays (and not being able to reserve tickets online) I was stuck with a seat in the very back row and had 45 minutes to kill until the bus left. I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, but there was a long line at the fast food chain in the bus station. I noticed a blood bank and thought I would inquire about the requirements. Now, I have donated blood a few times in the States, and was on the emergency donor list in Haiti. When I returned to the States in 2000, I tried to donate again, but the Red Cross denied my donation because of the malaria area/risk. I assumed I couldn’t donate anymore but was told my a former student several months ago that I might be able to donate in Korea. Worth a shot… long explanation short, I had passed the quarantine period and am able to donate in Korea. So, I gave blood. It was my Christmas gift to Korea. When I finished, I had to get going in order to make my bus.  —-No Lunch—- but thought to myself, “I’ll pick something up at the midway point. No big deal.”

I make the normal small chat with the people beside me and we’re off and running on the bus. About 30 minutes into the ride, I feel a bit thirsty, which then almost immediately turns into nausea, which then shortly turns into my vomiting into a black plastic bag. The only thing in my stomach was the four (dixie) cups grape juice I consumed at the blood bank. I’m now sitting on a bus, with a bag of puke, with no water and no rest stop for another 2 hours or so. I clean myself up with the wet wipes I carry in my purse, and try to get some rest. —Very strange, because I have NEVER been car sick in my life. I wrote it off as being in the back, elevated seats of the bus, on a very jerky ride through Seoul holiday traffic. —

Life in Korea: emergency evacuation plans from South Korea

This was originally published on ChrisinSouthKorea.com in 2010. 

April 2013 Koreabridge update includes some fixed broken links.  If anyone has additional information, please comment below. 

UPDATED 3 June 2010: Additional information from the Irish embassy added.

UPDATED 27 May 2010: More information about Canada's plans - HT to Len in the comments - and additional information about plans for Americans not in Seoul.

With tensions between North and South Korea being what they are, it's a good idea to be aware of your country's evacuation plans - or to make them yourself.

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