A Travellerspoint blog

March 2013

Back to Mokpo!

Well I wanted to take the 2 am train to Mokpo. It was the only one that would get me to the ferry on time. Three hours early.

So, at home, I went to bed early and tried to sleep but I was woken up by a man yelling at my door. Then, I went for a pee and immediately, my landlady started ringing my doorbell.

Ringringringringring IM PEEING! Ringringringringring ..... Ringrigringggg WAIT! GOD! Ringringringringring .... I opened the door, WHAAATTTTT????

Internet! Password! ID!

Ok what is it?

My Internet broke yesterday, she brought me some passwords that fixed it. Ok bed now!

Two more hours of sleep until I had to get up and catch the train. I caught it at 2 am and got to Mokpo at around 4 am. I tried to walk as slowly as possible to the ferry terminal, but I only got there at 4:30... So, I sat there with hot water in my water bottle, freezing. I was happy they had that hot water dispenser there, anyway! At around 5:30 a Korean man wanted me to teach him English. I had nothing else to do, so I did. I actually happened to have flash cards with me (forgot to take them out of my bag), so we played with those haha. Then he decided he wanted to come to Huksan do with me instead of Hong-do, like he had planned. No prob, I guess. Kidnapped again, yet another weekend in Korea.

When we got there we hiked up the mountain, took some pictures and then kept going. We were getting hungry and we found a sign for a restaurant. The restaurant wasn't there anymore though. The man who told us the restaurant wasn't there anymore, also told us the bus wasn't coming for another hundred hours.

We didn't want to go back the way we came, so we just kept going, even though the island is pretty big. We knew we'd never make it back on time, but, our next plan was to hitch hike. We immediately caught a ride with some fisherman, and then another one with some tour bus, who brought us back to the harbour. The cliffs, winding roads and rocky islands were breathtaking. Once we got to the harbour the bus driver demanded 10,000 won. Uhhh ok, why didn't he say when we first got in? I dunno.

My kidnapper, Aun Yun Gil bought me a big lunch and before we knew it, it was time to catch the boat home. We slept the whole way back home.

Me on the ferry home

Me on the ferry home


Yun Gil vs. scallops

Yun Gil vs. scallops


Me vs. abalone SALTY

Me vs. abalone SALTY


Lady bringing us fish

Lady bringing us fish


Our bus driver had bobbles EVERYWHERE

Our bus driver had bobbles EVERYWHERE


Me vs. ajummas

Me vs. ajummas


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Hitchin a ride with a fisherman

Hitchin a ride with a fisherman


On the road

On the road


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do flowers

Heuksan-do flowers


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Me vs. Heuksan-do

Me vs. Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Me and Yun Gil

Me and Yun Gil


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Heuksan-do

Heuksan-do


Ferry boats in Mokpo

Ferry boats in Mokpo


This is what I looked like at 4:30 a.m.

This is what I looked like at 4:30 a.m.


Panorama!

Panorama!


Yun Gil's photo

Yun Gil's photo


Yun Gil's photo

Yun Gil's photo


Yun Gil's photo

Yun Gil's photo


Yun Gil's photo

Yun Gil's photo

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

I'm at the bottom!

Well I headed off to Yeosu today to see the Hyangiram temple. Needless to say, there were a lot of buses involved in the day trip. I went all the way to the very bottom of Korea. There's nothing left after that! Besides Jeju. I slept all the way to Gwangju, then I slept all the way to Yeosu. I must've been tired.

The temple is built into a cliff. So it's quite the climb up many stairs. But once you get to the top you can look off into the distance where there is only ocean. You can look to your left and right and see clusters of distant islands. You are on an island yourself, which is accessible (not easily!) by a one hour city bus ride from the city centre. The guide book said "almost any" bus goes to the roundabout where I was supposed to catch my island bus. Only I would have the luck to get on the one bus that doesn't. Once I figured that out, the bus driver helped me get onto the right one. When I got to the roundabout, I tried to read the fancy touch screen bus schedule, but it didnt make any sense. I had no idea if my bus stopped there or not, so I broke out the trail mix, had a snack and just waited, unsure of what my fate would be. My luck had apparently changed, because just as the bus was pulling up, I finished the last of my snack! Anyway, a large bridge was built from Yeosu to Dolsan island, so its a lot easier to get to than a ferry-only island, but it's relatively inaccessible nonetheless.

The windy road that led to the temple was amazing, so I stayed awake for that part of the trip. The bus dropped me off right at the foot of the mountain which was absolutely jam packed with tourists on this beautiful spring day. It was also a day of stairs. First there were the stairs to the actual temple. Then there were rocks you have to climb over and through which are pretty claustrophobic. Then, to see the little shrines and grottos there were more stairs. After that, to get to the peak of the mountain, guess what, stairs.

I was up for a little challenge so I climbed to the peak. The very first step that I took, I managed to brutally bash my knee against a huge rock. Resulting in a giant purple bruise the next day.

Once I got to the top, a couple tried to kidnap me (again). She had to talk to me about her son in Toronto and then she had to take a picture with me at the top. She was wearing high heels the whole time! Then, they tried to get me to go down the mountain with them. I knew for a fact that the trail was a loop but they kept asking me to follow them, back the same way down (it was probably about 600 stairs by then) so no, I wasn't about to do that. It took me a while to persuade them I actually knew where I was going. Finally they said goodbye and went on their way. I found the trail I was looking for and took the slope down instead of the stairs, that was a relief.

Meanwhile, I was constantly asked to pose for photos with hikers who were going in the opposite direction. I don't know why it is but Korean hikers love to take photos with foreigners.

When I got back to the bottom, I wanted to try some of the crab soup and the seafood noodles for sale in the little town at the bottom but I just wasn't hungry enough! It didnt make sense but I had zero appetite. My legs were aching and weak from all those stairs and I was thirsty, but not hungry. So, I slowwwwwly walked back to the bus stop, where there was a warm bus waiting for me, calling out my name.

Ohhh and I also got my favorite type of bus on the way back to Gwangju. The kind with the leg rests and the seats that lay back almost flat. Yessss.

Poor Dave's debit card was frozen so I went back to the base again after my big hike. Whenever he gets it working again, we'll go on more adventures. I think all the exercises are done for now, and there are some Air Force-organized trips to some cool places coming up. So we'll see.

About Hyangiram

About Hyangiram


The nice bus seats!

The nice bus seats!


Just selling some dried fish

Just selling some dried fish


Steep climb

Steep climb


Steep climb

Steep climb


Steep climb

Steep climb


Found the slope!

Found the slope!


At the top

At the top


It's spring!

It's spring!


At the top

At the top


Other islands

Other islands


Other islands

Other islands


My new friends

My new friends


At the top

At the top


75 turtles with 10 won on top

75 turtles with 10 won on top


Shrine

Shrine


Hyangiram temple

Hyangiram temple


Climb through the rocks

Climb through the rocks


Through the rocks

Through the rocks


Up the stairs

Up the stairs

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

Signed my contract!

All February, I had to sit in an empty classroom doing nothing. So, I spent a lot of time applying to various jobs for September. The first one that caught my eye was an interesting opportunity to teach military scientists how to speak English at their university in Changsha.

I'll be taking a huge pay cut, but there are a lot of perks. Check out my future digs in the photos!

If anybody's ever thought about visiting the Great Wall or just experiencing Chinese culture, now would be a good time to book your flights and come on over, I will have two bedrooms and it looks like I even get a BATHTUB! Hope to see you soon in Changsha!

Living at NUDT

Living at NUDT


My new apartment

My new apartment

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

Suncheon Bay marsh

This morning I could not get out of bed at all. I was up pretty late the night before trying to load Ubuntu up on my ol faithful lappytoppy. On Monday it completely stopped and I've been trying to fix it ever since. Looks like I'm in the market for a new (to me) one. Owen will be selling me his MacBook Air soon. Welcome to the 2000s Louise!

Alright so anyway, by the time I got to the bus station it was 8:30 am which is not too shabby anyway, considering the amount of moaning I was doing. I parked my bike and hopped the bus for Gwangju, then took another to Suncheon. Once again I made the mistake of telling the ticket lady exactly where I wanted to go. When I got to the bus station, at least four people including my bus driver were yelling at me TOUR YOU GO NOW! No thank you! I yelled back. You know how much I hate tour style anything. DON'T WORRY YOU PAY! they yelled back. At this point I was just plain startled and frightened, so I yelled goodbye behind me and took off as fast as possible without running down the street screaming.

By the time I got to the bus shelter that I needed, I realized what they were trying to say to me is that I had ALREADY PAID for some sort of tour of Suncheon Bay. Something I had not consented to, but I guess the ticket agent assumed she knew what was best for me. Again. I dunno what this tour entailed but it was only $9 so I decided not to go back and find out. The bus was coming anyway.

Suncheon bay is an interesting place to me. It is sold to people as a green travel destination and I can't say I disagree. If you need to know how important marshes are to the world's ecosystems, then this is the place to come. However, I don't know if it was the wrong time of year, but in all four or five hours I spent at this park, I think I can count the number of birds I saw there on two hands and feet, so less than 20.

In the museum, they say that land reclamation is threatening the world's marshes, but I guess building a massive boardwalk (which is packed (!!!) with people) through one is also a form of reclamation, is it not? This place didn't seem too popular with the birds and it's probably because of the thousands of people tromping through all the time! I won't even go into the "Eco boat tour" they had speeding through the reeds every hour. Maybe the birds come after everyone has gone to bed, I dunno.

Anyway, I felt kind of hypocritical visiting this place. At first I kind of felt disappointed, but after you walk around the boardwalk, there is an optional longer hike you can take out on the sea wall. If you are so inclined I imagine you could stay there and watch the tide come in. I walked out to the end of the wall and the sea was still a long ways away, so I opted out. It was pretty amazing to finally see the mud flats that everyone in the south goes on and on about. Stagnant water and mud like this was very important for evolution and the beginning of life as we know it! So that was totally cool. I just had trouble with the "Eco" label they stamped on everything in Suncheon.

It was also amazing to actually go somewhere that a million people were not for once. It was super peaceful and I realized I have not felt that much peace in a long time. No one was around because it was quite a difficult spot to get to. I had to hike up the mountain twice.

I came back to the bus station completely knackered, so i was satisfied with my adventure for this weekend.

I gave Dave a call to see where he was at. He was out biking so I told him I'd be over in about four hours. Haha, not joking that's how long it took me to get home. Luckily, Korean buses are so comfortable and relaxing. I mean it!

Suncheon Bay Eco Museum

Suncheon Bay Eco Museum


The mud flats

The mud flats


Giant cranes!

Giant cranes!


View from the top

View from the top


Me vs. peanut butter

Me vs. peanut butter


Sea wall

Sea wall


Me vs. mud flats

Me vs. mud flats


Me vs. mud flats

Me vs. mud flats


End of the sea wall

End of the sea wall


Self timer shot!

Self timer shot!


Little pier thingy

Little pier thingy


Mud flats

Mud flats


My thumb!?

My thumb!?


From the top

From the top


Me at the top

Me at the top


Trail

Trail


Reeds

Reeds


Boardwalk and reeds

Boardwalk and reeds


Me vs. reeds

Me vs. reeds


Reeds and mountain I went up twice

Reeds and mountain I went up twice


Suncheon Bay

Suncheon Bay


Boardwalk

Boardwalk


Suncheon Bay

Suncheon Bay


Me vs. Suncheon Bay

Me vs. Suncheon Bay


Suncheon Bay Eco Park

Suncheon Bay Eco Park


Wetland of International Importance!

Wetland of International Importance!

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

Amazing rocks of Hongdo!

We woke up bright and early to take the ferry out to Hongdo island. When we booked our tickets, I happened to ask about what time we should come back on Sunday. They told me there was a hurricane coming, so we actually had to come back on Saturday. Ohhhh nuts.

So, we made reservations to come back on the same day. We'd have to go to Heuksan island another time.

When we got on the ferry, they sat us next to some other foreigners, who were only going as far as Heuksan, because someone had informed them of the storm BEFORE they bought their tickets. It didn't really end up mattering, we had a great summery day anyway.

Although you can have a nice hike on Hongdo island, there is a boat tour that is supposed to be even more magnificent. I was a little sceptical about it, but after 3 hours of boating around the island, I was convinced. It's a beautiful place! Definitely expensive, but worth it. It was the best weekend trip I made so far!

Right before the end of the trip, a crazy lady with a small boat rammed up against our boat. She brought a shipload of live fish, and the fishermen (including our guide) started bonking them on the heads and chopping them up right in front of us! I almost barfed.

Mokpo ferry terminal

Mokpo ferry terminal


Guys on the boat

Guys on the boat


Hongdo boat tour

Hongdo boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


In some sort of... grotto???

In some sort of... grotto???


In some sort of grotto

In some sort of grotto


All bundled up

All bundled up


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Christine

Christine


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Me vs. Hongdo island boat tour

Me vs. Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Colourful boat people

Colourful boat people


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Hongdo island boat tour

Hongdo island boat tour


Me vs. Fish stew

Me vs. Fish stew


Fish stew

Fish stew


Tents with live fish

Tents with live fish


Hongdo in the mist

Hongdo in the mist


Christine and me on the boat

Christine and me on the boat


Mokpo ferry terminal

Mokpo ferry terminal


Mokpo ferry terminal

Mokpo ferry terminal

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

We stayed in Mokpo overnight

The new lady in town, Christine, came with me to Hongdo Island. We had to stay overnight in Mokpo on Friday because the ferry left very early in the morning the next day. Our hotel was really warm, the floor was burning our feet, we had a nice rain-style shower, however there was water dripping through the lights on the ceiling into our bathroom!

Bathroom

Bathroom


Our view

Our view


Bedroom

Bedroom


Mokpo at night

Mokpo at night


Me vs. Mokpo

Me vs. Mokpo

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