A Travellerspoint blog

February 2013

Green tea plantation

This tea plantation was cool. It's a really picturesque place, and at the very top of the hill I met two Canadians, who gave me a ride home all the way back to Jeonju! The travel gods were watching me today. I didn't have to wait for a single bus, and then Mr. Bak and my two Canuck friends drove me home!

We enjoyed some green tea ice cream and tea together, then went to a very busy restaurant, where Mr. Bak paid for all of us. Stephanie and Mackenzie are done their contracts and they are leaving for a tour of Russia.

Dinner with Mr. Bak, Stephanie and Mackenzie

Dinner with Mr. Bak, Stephanie and Mackenzie


Me vs. green tea

Me vs. green tea


Green tea with Mr. Bak and Mackenzie

Green tea with Mr. Bak and Mackenzie


Me on top of the tea plantation

Me on top of the tea plantation


At the top

At the top


Tea plantation

Tea plantation


Tea plantation

Tea plantation


Tea plantation

Tea plantation


Me vs. tea

Me vs. tea


Little forest

Little forest

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Ceramicsssssss

I was supposed to take a ferry out to Hongdo and Heuksan islands from Mokpo. When I got there, however, it was too windy and none of the ferries were leaving until Sunday! So, I left and went and saw some more ceramics. It was a small museum in Gangjin but there were a lot of really old, well preserved pieces there from the 11th and 12th centuries. Amazing.

The same bus driver who got me to the museum, also drove me home, which was hilarious. I ran down the road after him and he stopped to pick me up when he recognized me.

Me at pottery museum

Me at pottery museum


Excavating area

Excavating area


Old pots

Old pots


Really old pots

Really old pots

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I went to like, a hundred museums

I woke up not feeling too great, but I just decided to ignore it and continue with my adventure to Mokpo for the weekend. It turns out that I definitely was really sick, but I didn't realize it until I got there.

When I got on the train, I'm pretty sure the guy who sold me the ticket sold me a first class one without asking. It was way expensive and it wasn't even that much nicer than regular class. Jerk.

There are a bunch of museums all in a row on the same street, so I attempted to go to all of them. I actually made it through six of them, and then went home.

The first one that my guidebook recommended was the maritime museum, and yep, it was the best one for sure. There were three giant trading ships that they found buried in the muck under the sea from around the year 1200. They also recovered a lot of really old ceramics and pottery and money and things from China and Korea. So really good museum. It's free and includes an English audio tour.

Next, I went to the culture and art centre, which I also thought was free. But I was tracked down by the security guards after I was halfway through the exhibit and they demanded my 5,000 won. This is after I gave the ticket taking lady my coat and bag to check... No problem, chill out, here take it, you deserve it. Haha. There was a nice one on called "My Home", which is a bunch of photos taken from a helicopter down onto a bunch of different environmentally devastated landscapes all over the world. There were a few happy ones too, but it was mostly depressing. There was also an English documentary (!!!) done by the same artist, which was also depressing, of course. Exactly my style, thanks culture museum. OK, after that, onto the local history museum, which has a wide assortment of.... rocks that look like things that are not rocks??? I didn't know this was a hobby that people have, but it is. The security guards here were very enthusiastic (sarcasm). I thought about emailing their bosses, but then I figured their lives are crappy enough, why bother? There were also some impressionistic style paintings done by a local artist.

From there, my ticket paid for entry to three other museums, the natural history museum, which is just like every other natural history museum, except there were some fish there from the local area and some stuff about the tidal flats.

Then, it was the living ceramics museum, which I thought sounded lame, but it was actually kind of neat. There were lots of fancy ceramics and it showed how it is made and how the process evolved over time. Also there was a human size kiln that you had to walk through, but I thought that was a little grotesque, because it reminded me of holocaust ovens. And I'm not even a holocaust survivor... ehhh... weird.

Last was the literature museum, where there wasn't even a ticket taker man. I went around glancing at stuff but of course, none of it was in English. They celebrated the lives of three or four famous authors in this museum.

After that, I was pooped. I hadn't heard back from my couchsurfing hosts, so I decided to call it a day. My body was completely sore and aching and I could feel the fever coming on, anyway. I took the next train home, which was the mugungwha (slowest one). About 20 minutes into my ride, I had gotten as comfortable as possible, trying to keep warm against the chills and fevers, when some crazy old man started kicking the back of my seat and yelling at me in Korean. I assumed he wanted me to put my seat up. I just yelled at him, without looking back "I'M SICK" but that didn't stop him. This went on for about 10 minutes, until I guess he just gave up. That would never happen on a first class KTX train!

At Mokpo station

At Mokpo station


Literature Museum

Literature Museum


The street of museums

The street of museums


The Living Ceramics Museum

The Living Ceramics Museum


I'm in a kiln!

I'm in a kiln!


Living Ceramics museum

Living Ceramics museum


Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum


What is that? An alien?

What is that? An alien?


The most ridiculous rock

The most ridiculous rock


Security guard playing mobile phone games

Security guard playing mobile phone games


Rocks shaped like other things

Rocks shaped like other things


The best security guard ever

The best security guard ever


The Mokpo art museum

The Mokpo art museum


Me with a big old boat

Me with a big old boat


Giant boat

Giant boat


Me and the sea

Me and the sea


Ancient incense burner

Ancient incense burner


This is what the bowls look like in the ocean

This is what the bowls look like in the ocean


Another old boat

Another old boat


Old boat

Old boat


Old boat

Old boat


Old boat

Old boat


Do I look sick?

Do I look sick?

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Bamboo town

Dave had to stay on the base last weekend, so Nicole and I went to the bamboo town of Damyang, just outside of Gwangju. The guidebook said we should visit the bamboo museum, which has a whole bunch of things made out of bamboo in it. It said we would be astounded and amazed by what we would find there. We showed the book to the bus driver and he seemed to understand. Instead, he brought us to the bamboo forest. It's the second time that's happened to me on these little trips. The bus driver thinks he knows better where I want to go, than I do. Anyway, that was kind of aggravating, but it didn't really matter. We walked and walked and tried to find a place to eat rice cooked in bamboo. We eventually found an amazing restaurant beside the river. It was great. Nicole doesn't like eating the fish with the bones still in it, so I happily devoured two of them. I gave her all of the tofu soup though. From there, we went back to Gwangju, where Nicole bought some new running shoes (she had a hole in her old ones) and I got some amazing ajuma sunglasses. They are prescription so you don't get to see them until next weekend, when they hopefully deliver them to my house. Nicole wanted to go back to Namwon, but I was too tired and didn't have any clean underwears, so I just let her go. Haha. Let's see what adventures I will have next weekend. Supposed to go to that hot spring with Dave but we'll see if he gets called into the base again! If he does, I'm off to the southeast corner of the country, Mokpo.

Rice cooked in bamboo

Rice cooked in bamboo


Me and amazing meal

Me and amazing meal


Me and bamboo stick

Me and bamboo stick


Nothing better than mayo and canned corn

Nothing better than mayo and canned corn


The river in Damyang

The river in Damyang


The river in Damyang

The river in Damyang


The bamboo forest

The bamboo forest


Bamboo

Bamboo


Me vs. waterfall

Me vs. waterfall


Bamboo

Bamboo


Bamboo

Bamboo


Bamboo

Bamboo


Me vs. bamboo

Me vs. bamboo


Nicole and bamboo

Nicole and bamboo

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Another feast with K

So K took me up to that same restaurant again. But this time we went with a lot of Korean people. I didn't have so much fun, because I couldn't understand anybody. For some reason, this made the food taste worse. It was still delicious, just not as delicious as the first time. We had the octopus in the soup and a whole bunch of other seafood. Anytime I asked K "what is this?" he just kept saying "IT'S A SHELL! JUST EAT IT!" So that is what I did.

Ramyun

Ramyun


K and friend shabu-ing

K and friend shabu-ing


Me vs. "shellfish"

Me vs. "shellfish"


Me vs. "shellfish"

Me vs. "shellfish"


Eating with the owner

Eating with the owner


This is our friend from last time

This is our friend from last time


Same sushi

Same sushi


Is there something on my face?

Is there something on my face?

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Gwangju museums

So, I went back to Gwangju the very next day. I wanted to go to some of the museums that were supposed to be very nice. They were, but the art museums were closed. It's one of the most important celebrations in the year for Korean people, so I wasn't too surprised.

In the museum, there were some crazy old ceramics that were found in a sunken ship, so they were preserved very well. In the folk museum, a whole bunch of dioramas and things explained the evolution of Korean culture.

Families were out and people were dressed up in traditional clothing. All the kids were out flying kites and playing with hoops in front of the folk museum.

Again, a good way to spend the holiday I think, just hanging out with real people doing real traditions. It was pretty memorable for me.

Gwanju National Museum

Gwanju National Museum


Kites outside the folk museum

Kites outside the folk museum


Kites

Kites


Kites

Kites


Me outside art gallery

Me outside art gallery


Black light Gwangju

Black light Gwangju


Funeral procession

Funeral procession


Me vs. fishing boat

Me vs. fishing boat


Farming mannequins

Farming mannequins


More mannequins

More mannequins


Playing in the entrance

Playing in the entrance


Old ceramics

Old ceramics


Old buddhas

Old buddhas


Me vs. buddha

Me vs. buddha


A jar coffin

A jar coffin


Neolithic people

Neolithic people


There is a river going down the stairs

There is a river going down the stairs

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Gwangju May 18 memorial

Nicole is almost ready to leave, so we took a little trip to Gwangju on the exact wrong day of the year. At least the May 18 memorial was open.

Here is the history from Wikipedia: The Gwangju Democratization Movement (Hangul: 광주 민주화 운동 (광주 민주화 항쟁) Hanja: 光州民主化運動, RR: Gwangju Minjuhwa Undong) refers to a popular uprising in the city of Gwangju, South Korea from May 18 to 27, 1980. Estimates suggest up to 2,000 people may have died. During this period, citizens rose up against Chun Doo-hwan's dictatorship and took control of the city. In the course of the uprising, citizens took up arms (by robbing police stations and military depots) to oppose the government, but were ultimately crushed by the South Korean army. The event is sometimes called 518, in reference to the date the uprising began.

The museum is pretty nice and gives a good overview of what happened day by day. The cemetery is very touching and the portrait hall is interesting because you can see exactly who these people were. Some of them were very young children, obviously innocent victims. I think it was a good day to spend our holiday.

However, when we got back to town we noticed that nothing was open. Not even Lotte Mart. It was either have lunch at Paris Baguette or starve. We chose to starve. I had a peanutbutter sandwich that I shared and we went home on the train. Oh Lunar New Year, I will conquer you.

Me on the bus

Me on the bus


The portraits of the victims

The portraits of the victims


The cemetery

The cemetery


The monument

The monument


The museum

The museum


The monument

The monument


The parking lot?

The parking lot?


Beautiful train station bathrooms!

Beautiful train station bathrooms!

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Seonunsan temple and Buddha in a cliff

Oh my, traveling to Gochang was the worst. I woke up early because I thought it would help me get there faster. It didn't. My bus didn't leave until two hours after I bought my ticket. So I read a bunch of magazines and finally left.

Then, when I got to Gochang, which is a dirty, disgusting place, I had to wait another two hours for the bus to Seonunsan. So, I went for a rice omelette thingy at Han's Deli, which was the only place open and it was gross.

By the time I got to Seonunsan it was maybe 3 p.m. I hiked up to the temple and then to the Buddha carved in the cliff. I had gotten up so early to do a giant hike all around the mountains and stuff, but now it was getting late and I didn't have a flashlight, so I wasn't going to attempt that in the dark.

I caught a quick connection home, surprisingly and went right to bed.

Pile of rocks

Pile of rocks


River and bridge

River and bridge


River

River


Me at the top

Me at the top


View at the top

View at the top


Buddha in the cliff

Buddha in the cliff


Me vs. cliff

Me vs. cliff


Really old tree

Really old tree


More river

More river


Little waterfall

Little waterfall


River

River


Frozen waterfall

Frozen waterfall


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


A bird of some sort

A bird of some sort


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Piles of rocks

Piles of rocks


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Temple Seonunsa

Temple Seonunsa


Me on the trail

Me on the trail


Heading out

Heading out


On the trail

On the trail


The river

The river


Gross omelette at Han's Deli

Gross omelette at Han's Deli

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Seonyu Island

So, the bus that was supposed to take us to the national park wouldn't let me on since I'm not part of the air force. Boo!

Instead, we took the ferry to Seonyu island. In the summer, it's probably a more exciting place, but it was nice and empty since it was so cold.

The ferry was one of those really fast ones, but we had to wait about an hour for it to leave. So, we walked around the industrial wasteland that is west Gunsan.

Then, when we got to the island, we only had an hour to walk around and explore, but that was OK. We were muddy and cold anyway. We walked around on the barnacles and seashells and got all messy everywhere. Then, we went to the beach, which is kind of like you get two beaches, since there is a fancy pier right down the middle of it.

We made it back on the last ferry and then we took whatever bus was going to town. Dave got his first slice of Pizza School, ha, and I went back home on the bus.

On top of the ferry

On top of the ferry


Gunsan coastal ferry terminal

Gunsan coastal ferry terminal


Dave in the wasteland

Dave in the wasteland


Me

Me


Me vs. Port #3

Me vs. Port #3


This wall goes on forever

This wall goes on forever


Me vs. ferry

Me vs. ferry


Ferry

Ferry


Me vs. islands

Me vs. islands


Me vs. Seonyudo

Me vs. Seonyudo


Seonyudo walkway

Seonyudo walkway


Tide is out in Seonyudo

Tide is out in Seonyudo


Some oyster shells

Some oyster shells


Lady digging for oysters

Lady digging for oysters


Lady digging for oysters

Lady digging for oysters


Check out the mountangs

Check out the mountangs


Me vs. mountangs

Me vs. mountangs


Some rocks we had to climb on

Some rocks we had to climb on


Dave not slipping on the rocks

Dave not slipping on the rocks


Tiki hut on Seonyudo beach

Tiki hut on Seonyudo beach


Me on Seonyudo beach

Me on Seonyudo beach


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo tiki hut

Seonyudo tiki hut


Dave and mountains

Dave and mountains


Dave and mountains

Dave and mountains


Beach and mountains

Beach and mountains


Beach and mountains

Beach and mountains


I ran and took this

I ran and took this


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo

Seonyudo


Seonyudo dog

Seonyudo dog


Rusted up bicycles

Rusted up bicycles


Seonyudo harbour

Seonyudo harbour


Dave vs. the ferry

Dave vs. the ferry


Me vs. islands

Me vs. islands


More islands

More islands


Me vs. islands

Me vs. islands

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