Tuesday, August 04, 2009

In Which Yvonne is Pictured Eating...

We took the Mugugnwha to Chuncheon. I always prefer the train to the bus, because Korean intercity buses do not have bathrooms and that can be a bit inconvenient. The trip is two hours and quickly moves out of Seoul and into much more beautiful territory. We arrived at Namchuncheon Station at about 1:00 and set about to buy a return ticket.

All seats for Sunday were already taken! So we purchased two standing tickets and headed downtown to find a yeogwan. This was easily accomplished and the next task was to find food, which was surprisingly difficult and Yvonne even contemplated eating something from a street vendor. Instead we kept walking back towards the train station which I knew was closer to our first tourist destination.

Eventually we found a small restaurant with pictures on the walls and Yvonne pointed to one and ordered it. This turned out to be, when I looked at it more closely, Galbijim which is a delicious soup of beef ribs. The nice ajummah made it not so spicy for Yvonne, and we scarfed it down with rice and beverages.

Then it was off to the Kim Yu-jeong memorial museum. Here I managed to NOT take a bunch of film clips to use on my other site. Instead I filmed the walk up TO the museum and the beer afterwards. I R-tarded!

Then it was off to the bus stop and we miraculously caught a bus that was heading somewhat in the direction of the Chuncheon Museum, which Yvonne wanted to see. At a certain point we saw a traffic sign saying that the Museum was 2 kilometers to the right. The bus kept going straight, so we got off and walked towards the museum. Yvonne got all confused about where we were going and started badgering random-passersby, I just kept walking because, well, those convenient signs that Chuncheon had put up kept telling me which direction to go. ;-)

Eventually we got there, and Yvonne took a quick spin around the museum (it was just before closing). Then it was off to the hotel and I had to do a quick editing job for Ewha University while Yvonne went off on an epic, and unsuccessful journey to find the bookstore in Chuncheon.

Next morning we headed out at about 11 and immediately set off in the wrong direction. ;-) We wanted to go to find a ferry (story of my life) to an island that supposedly featured camping. We wanted to check it out, plus taking a ferry is always cool, and it supposedly had good hiking and biking trails. Our hotelier said that the island (and surrounding Chuncheon) was “like Vancouver.” I consider all Canadians to be transplanted Frenchmen, I don’t care about them or their silly surrender-cities, and I have no idea what our host meant by his comparison.

But we set out, and once again on a path with absolutely no places to eat. I should note that a remarkable number of places in Chuncheon were closed or out of business. Yvonne was demented with hunger and as we passed the “Medizone” a store that sells medical appliances, she looked inside and said, ‘there’s a good-looking restaurant.” Not wanting a delicious lunch of catheters and replacement limbs, I insisted we keep walking

We wandered down to the river, the Ethiopian Korean War Shrine (yah, really), and then beyond.

Yvonne was boinking out again about where we were, but this boinkology was assuaged by some Galbi-Tang that included the biggest freaking ribs in the history of mankind.

We ate, then headed back towards the river. Yvonne gave in and asked directions. They were pretty much the same as what the map had told me, but she felt better, and we walked along to lake up to the ferry. Along this path I took some of the bug pictures you see here, including that one to the left which shows some kind of unfortunate food-chain-type-thing happening to a bee.

We took the ferry and then started to walk toward the resort. A truck driver who had been on the ferry offered us a ride, but in my best fractured Korean I told him we were happy to walk. He accepted this and then rode off.

Only to stop about 100 meters later.

Excellent dude got out of the truck and, mainly in pantomime, indicated to us we should not walk on the dirt road and that if we went about 20 meters to the left we would find a bike/walk path. You hear a lot of shit, and some of it deserved, about Korean neo-confucian lack of concern for others, but it seems that the further you get from industrial hubs, the more this attitude fades away.

The island is beautiful and we have a place to camp, come fall. We wandered around a bit, sat in front of the market and had a drink, and then slowly walked back to the ferry.

As I was taking pictures of bugs, we missed one ferry. As we sat there waiting for the next one, we took a short stroll and found this unfortunate poodle in a cage. The pic isn’t close enough, but the cage bottom is clotted with dog-crap and fur. Underneath the cage it is a bit worse. Koreans routinely treat dogs in ways that wouldn’t fly in the US, but I should say that this dog was quite healthy and only barked, in a woeful looping way, when we walked away after petting it through the mesh of its cage.

The ferry was quite unsafe by US standards – they never picked up the gate – but I felt no qualms as I watched the pilot work. It reminded me of my days in Louisiana on the boat “The Second One” (perhaps I should not have been sanguine there, as the “First One” had sunk). The pilot could “walk” the boat and pinned it against the dock without need of any rope. Nice-uh. It cost 3-chun for a round trip. Add all the shit you’d have needed in the US and we would have paid a bit more. I guess it’s all a balancing act.

Then it was back to Chuncheon for Dak-Galbi, the “dish” of Chuncheon. Yvonne and I will be going back to Chuncheon, so I will save photos of that for later. Suffice it to say it was like womy…. Er.. it was hot, plentiful and cheap.

Another night waiting for my second edit job… ho hum..

In the morning we took a cab ride to the Kim Yu-seong memorial which is about 5 kilometers (I’m guessing) from the museum. Then, as the hotelier had told us we could walk from that point, we got on a crazy long and hot walk to the waterfalls.

Yvonne had another one of her moments – that girl needs a GPS/Satellite Camera/Vibrator installed in her bad self so that she can stay calm!

But we got to falls and they were just as beautiful as advertised. They were also in a narrow canyon of damp stone walls, so it was about 20 degrees cooler. Nice-uh!

On the way out we had some food and then footed it another mile or so to the next train station. There we got to see why the train was full when we had tried to book on the previous Friday. Ganyeong is some kind of Tommy’s Holiday Camp for Koreans, or at least it leads to one. After our long death march in the sun, we got to the train station and it was already chock full of Korean kids. I was in search of a PC Bang so that I could get the files that I needed to edit, so Yvonne headed to a café, and I headed downtown, which was overrun by kids and stuffed with cars trying to escape.

It was a bit of a zoo. The PC Bang was completely full, so I couldn’t download my files to edit.

No big deal. I met Yvonne back at the Café and we had a drink, then caught the train.

Our tickets were standing, but there were empty seats, which we grabbed.

The empty seats held up for about an hour, and then the older folks who had them got
on the train and we went to the space between cars. It is hotter, but you can sit down there.

Then it was home. Yvonne had to head to Daejeon and I had to head home to edit 20 pages of (brilliantly) translated text.

Chuncheon is beautiful, the people are friendly, and nature is right up in your grill.

I’m going back. ;-)

I will not, however, take the bold step that Yvonne took when she ate the “pizza-cone” fresh out of the microwave!


Anonymous said...

so at least his shoes will be ready?

Anonymous said...

Dang! You never told us your friend had his own university!