Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spring Weather Means Adventure Weather

I'm getting antsy over here kids!  I have less than 3 months of my Korean life to go... so bittersweet!  Although I am SO excited to move back stateside, I KNOW it won't be as easy for me to roam around Virginia as it is for me to roam around Korea!!

So I planned a trip... a.) because I feel like my life has been slightly lame this year.. I adore my friends here.. but it isn't filled with as much as adventurous curiosity as last year!  b.)  girlfriend needs to hear the ocean and get her tan on!  c.) I need to be outside!

10 people graced me with their presence, which was a perfect number, especially for the pension (imagine renting a hotel room with a few rooms/bathroom/small kitchen.. with zero beds)!  We left in two separate groups, those who wanted to hike and those who wanted to skip hiking/go straight to the beach/find us a pension! :)  And they found the perfect one!! It was about $130 total, split between 10 people... SO nice, SO cheap, PERFECT!!!!

Bus to Buan (1.4 hours) - Inner-city Bus to Naesosa (40 min) - Hike to Jikso Pokpo (3 hours) 
The bus rides were long enough for some of us to catch up on recent happenings, some of us to sleep, and some to almost pee our pants because our bus driver thought he was a Korean taxi driver (I get nauseous thinking about it).  When we arrive din Buan, we didn't know where to catch the inner-city bus to the Naesosa temple.. so I went inside of the station.. put my arms up in a questioning fashion and said 'Naesosa bus-uh?'.. batting eyes.. smiling.. head tilted.. and the sweetest ajushi (old man) waited for me to gather my friends and he walked with us for 5 minutes to the bus stop, I LOVE KOREA! Kamsahamnida!!!

We took our time meandering around the temple entrance, eating pajjeon (a Korean savory pancake with lots of onions and veggies), buying things.. enjoying being around trees again.  It definitely wasn't quiet though!  It was about 10:30 AM and the Korean men had most likely gone up the mountain, already come back down, and drinking all the makgeoli (korean wice wine) that they could get their hands on.  HEAPS of men.  It was table after table of ajushis getting down with their bad selves.

Korean hiking culture is hilarious.. they will get SO decked out in super expensive hiking gear (as if they're about to hike Mt. Everest), pack an entire picnic (including a small gas grill) to eat the top of the mountain, enough makgeoli to get toasty at the top of the mountain (I guess it makes coming down easier?!)... and then when they're back down the mountain they eat bibimbap and drink makgeoli until they decide to go home!

Never fails.. every mountain is the same! Big or small!

The hike was beautiful, and we had lots of pit-stops and laughs to enjoy the hike, rather than acting like we were running a marathon.  The Jikso Pokpo (waterfall)... was...erm... not as amazing and majestic as all of the pictures I had seen.  THOSE pictures must have been taken during rainy season.... but it was still gorgeous.

When we reached the end, a lady at the national park center called us a taxi.  There were 6 of us who hiked, and we asked her for 2 taxis.. but the taxi driver was insistent that we only needed one.  So Michael and 3 girls squished in the back, and Julia and I squeezed up front (I bet the taxi driver liked that, I was practically sitting on his shifter!)

Gyeokpo Beach
A 30 minute ride along the majestic misty coast, and we were at Gyeokpo!!! 4 people were waiting for us, so we found them, found our pension and we all separated to eat different things.  One group went to samgyupsal, Rehana, Michael and I ate fresh fish.  However, by the end of it we were slightly wishing we had gotten samgyupsal... the fish... well, of course all 4 of them were whole, heads and all.  And it was Michael's first time using chopsticks on a fish, picking the bones out with chopsticks, and learning to be a rockstar.  BUT, 3 of the smaller fish were FULLY in tact.. when I say fully, I mean intestines, guts and all.  I tried one piece that had a bit of gut on it and nearly died.. it tasted like ammonia.  Apparently, some Koreans LOVE eating that, sort of like a Chinese medicine/stamina thing.  Gag me.

The sunset was lovely and drinking on the beach was more lovely!

Since it was still mid-may, it was quite windy and chilly at night.. so the party headed in early, where the mekju and soju abounded!  The card game Ring of Fire (Kings) began.. this time playing 'the international' version where we played with Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kiwi (New Zealand) rules!!!  Yes, at times it was super confusing.. but so funny.

Our pension was like a cultural extravaganza:  3 Kiwis (NZ), 4 Canuks (Canadians), & 3 Yanks (Americans... even though I aint a Yankee, people from other countries label all Americans as that).

The sole 2 boys in our group wandered off at 11PM, and came back with ARM FULLS of fireworks.  Haa, leave it to the boys.  So we went outside and played with fireworks for a while.  SO great!

The next day was literally spent sleeping/chatting/eating on the beach. LOVE.

Making a friendship bracelet with Rehana :)

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