Well Kids I’ve Gotten Behind a Day – Here’s a Two-fer. As I sit right now I’m in Srayando in the very southern coast of South Korea, its raining and I’ll simply share with you the story of my Journey from Seoul with a stopover in Jeonju to here. Honestly not intensely intersting but it had its moments of kindness and and relaxation.

So starting from Seoul, I am headed to Jeonju Hanok Maeul, a traditiion villliage of wooden homes. One of few that are spread around the country, I hear this one is supposed to be very nice but toursity. I happen upon a cool scene of elderly gentlman playing what I can only assume is some kind of chess in the partk and some pigs heads waiting to be cooked.

Well, I needed to make a stop at Dankook University to provide some assistance to my niece Katleyn. Well, transportation, no problem. Getting to see her… a MASSIVE set of stairs that I have to climb with my 40lb backpack on (remember that scuba gear.. ouch) and a day pack that seems somehow to have grown heavier.

for reference, that TINY little black dot a the very top is a person

So after getting to see Katleyn, which I have to admit was really nice to see a face from home and be able to talk without thinking of how a Korean might misunderstand me. But most of all it was just really nice to see Katelyn smile 🙂

Then it was back to the bus trip for me on my way to Jeonju. Well things did get a little interesting at one point when I had to transfer from the metro train to the Intercity bus. After sitting and waiting for somethign like 30 minutes with this very sweet elderly Korean woman, I got up the nerve to try and ask her if I was in the right place for my bus knowning that she wouldn’t speak a lick of english (I was right on that). But she rounded up two or three other fellow bus stop traveler who attempted to assist me but nobody could figure it out. I guess to make me feel better she opened her purse and brought out a couple of hard candies for me LOL. Just reminded me of Grandma at home, always had a sweet to make you feel better, and you know what it did.

Finally a Canadian family of Korean origin happened to the bus stop and we were able to communicate. THEY couldn’t find any info on the bus and they read and spoke fluent English AND Korean. So I’m both feeling better that I’m not just stupid, but also a bit worse becuase I have no idea if we are in the right place to catch this bus AND we don’t have tickets and cannot seem to buy them from the ticket machine.

Well, finally the bus comes, and in the middle of the busy street a flurry of Korean is exchnaged and finally they tell me I can get on the bus but we will have to jump off at the next station and buy our tickets. A quick stash of the backpack underneath the bus and away we go. The ticket purchase hop-on hop-off went smoothly as did the rest of the ride to Jeonju, where I then transfered to the local bus to drop me off at the Hanok village where I have reserved a very traditional room with sleeping mat and tiny bathrom. But before I can get there of course I turn the wrong way off the bus and cross the street when I didn’t need to leaving me to walk UP about 50 stairs and back DOWN 50 stairs just to cross the stree (’cause I was already committed to this side of the street before I realized my mistake).

FINALLY I make it to my Hanok. Now I’ll mention that the app Naver Navigation has been a Godsend for navigating all the public transportation. But it took me quite a while (and frankly I don’t think I still have it squared away) to figure out that in the guide books they list addresses the english way.. street #, street name, district, city, zip. Well in Korean this is the exact opposite somewhat but not totally. Finaly by putting the number last and the street first, locations were being opened up to me which is how I found my Hanock. A beautiful little landscaped courtyard with thatched roof little wooden buildings surrounding it. The sounds of babbling brooks and birds in the forest were piped in from discretely hidden speakers (yes I looked) but it gave a very serene setting which frankly was what I needed. I was feeling a little lonely after a mostly full day of not talking to anyone for long and having to do the foriegn navigation thing.

Well since I was late getting in .. around 6pm .. I was tired and sweaty and needed a shower badly. I took that (the BEST cold shower I’ve had so far) and then laid down on my mat to look for a place to eat. Unfortunately my “hey gogle set an alarm fro 25 minutes” didn’t work for crap or I slept through it as next thing I knew it was 7:45pm. And so far history here has told e that if you are not eating by 6 at the latest you’re kind of screwed unless you’re in a big city. But for some reason there also doesn’t seem to be a lot of tourists around which seems strange. But I went forr a walk around town and saw some beautiful scenery lit up at night.

So not a restuarant to be found open. Eventually I found a CU convienience store, kind of like a 7-11. I collected a couple of beers, an ice cream some cheetos and that was about all I could do as I had no cooking facilities at the Hanok. Well I ring everything up and realize that in my sleep fog waking up from my nap I left my wallet and cash back in the room. So no dice for me.

I walk back to the room, make a lovely dinner of trail mix and chocolate filled ritz crackers (kind of like an oreo), chug some water and lay down to watch some M*A*S*H I cannot remember the episode though as I was too busy sleepwalking looking for my pal stinky.

The next morning I was up early and took a walk around by daylight to both try and find some coffee and food but also to see things during the day. I have to say they are much more attractive at night. But again the absolute hospitality of the Korean people came through with the coffee. There was one guesthouse with its front doors open and I tried to communicate I was looking for a place to buy coffee but she wanted no part of it as she didn’t speak english. So down the street I go. I get about halfway down and the lady was running after me making a drinking gesture and waved me back. So I knew it wasn’t what I wanted but I couldn’t refuse her offer now, it would have been very rude. So I walked back and in the little dentist sized paper cup they pour me some hot water and instant coffe. Which all things considered didn’t taste too badly. I sat politely in thier courtyard and drank my coffee and looked up some stuff on my phone then got up to leave an offered to pay and I must have insulted her by doing so as she was adamant that I not pay. Just look at her guest house and tell her how nice it was. So I did. And I left. But think about this dear reader, if some stranger was walking down your street and asked you for a coffee would you invite them into your home. There’s a lesson forr us in that..

When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.”

Luke 10:5-8

I eventually found a bakery of sorts that was open selling these things that looked like flat ho-ho’s (and not chocoloate covering). But I have to say it was delicious.

Back to my room, back up the old backpack which seems to my back to get heavier each day, and in the words of Willie Nelson, I’m “On the Road Again”. Another hike to a local bus, another station where fortunately this timem I knew I needed a ticket for the intercity bus and then on my way to Jinju. Yes the similarity in name was not lost on my as I tried 6 machines before I found the correct one for the correct line. Ticket in hand I have a bout 1.5 hours to kill in teh bus station. NOBODY speaks englsh, but I did manage to figure out that some dude in one of the stalls was sellilng some kind of baked good and it looked good in the picture. It turned out to be a mini muffin stuffed with jelly of some sort, tasted like date. Really tasty and warm and fresh. And since I was so friendly trying to figure out how to order he gave me this little mini bottle and said “prebiotic”. It turns out the Kroeans are really conscious of the pre-post biotic health culture and you find it everywhere.

Oh and the bus this time was kickin’ luxury. Wide seats, super soft cushioning, gresat AC… even pop up footrests. What more could you ask for. better than coach in an airplane. So yes eventually I got on the right bus and was off to my final destination of Sarayando Island. First was the stop in Tonegyon. There as I couldn’t find a definitive website with a timemtable just blogs like mine all I could guess is that the final ferry was at 5pm. So I grabbed a cab instead of the bus in the interest of expediency, get to the ferry building, buy my ticket and wait while a very drunk and boistrious party of Koreans waited in the area as well. Aparently any trip on a ferry is cause forr a party.

So I am in my zen zone now as the water is right by my side, I can smell the sea, hear the boats. I have to tell you I must have been born a merman. I was feeling a bit anxious all day but as soon as I found the water it all washed away. Well onto the boat and over to the island there were beautiful views all around. And THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of Oyster farms, I couldn’t believe it, seriously as far as the eye could see.

Finaly I reach the island and through the booking.com app am able to communicate with the proprietor of the hotel I’m staying at and he says he will come pick me up .. . but at 7, and to buy my food at the Shuyup Mart which is right off the boat. It is indeed. But it happens to be closed. So I find another CU and buy some beer and Soju (can’t eat might as well drink), two huge things of water for my hike today (a 5 hour somewhat strenuous hike is what it is billed as). and a microwave dinner which looks like it is some kind of spicy chicken according to Google Translate.

Which by the way if I haven’t mentioned it, the farther away from Seoul I have gotten the less english has been spoken, so the use of Google Translate has been great. It will pick up conversations, speak translations for you, and even point your camera at Korean words and translate them to english.

Which brings us back to this morning. I have sent our lovely proprietor with a huge smile and some english a message not when I woke up at 4am but for the second time at 7am about finding a place to eat breakfast.. nothing. I have a fear I may be going hungry on this hike unless I have timem to buy some snacks before I get on the bus to the trailhead. But as wel all know I could use to miss a meal or two here and there, it wont be the end of the world.

More to come tomorrow from the hike on Sarayango… rope climbs, steep stairs, rocky crag peaks and suspension bridges. Sounds like fun to me!

2 Replies to “The Seoul / Jeonju / Tongyeon / Sarayangdo Express LOL”

  1. If you can’t speak the language, you can airways try sign language. Like the international symbol for touchdown!

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