March 25, 2012

Hallyeohaesang National Park

February was a rough month in a lot of ways, but with March finally upon us, Mike and I went on a weekend adventure to Tongyeong. This is a city in Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park, which is on the coast. The city is quick and easy to get to from Jinju - the bus ride from Jinju to Tongyeong was under an hour. Since Mike lives in Jinju, it was very convenient. Another reason to go, its small size and readily available cabs make a quick to get around, much more so than nearby Geoje-do!

On Saturday, we took a commuter boat to Hansando, one of the larger islands in the park. To get there, go to the Tongyeong Ferry Terminal, which is near to the Hansan Hotel and Seoho Traditional Market.

Here's the boat! Lots of cars were aboard, which was worrisome, since we didn't know how we would get around Hansando, but they dropped us off right at Sogopo Ferry Terminal. This is a short walk to Jeseungdang Shrine.

Geobuk Lighthouse

The walk to the shrine is around the coast, where you can see lots of men and women digging for oysters.

After watching everyone dig for oysters, we had to try the local delicacy. It was a little surprising, that they brought out a big plate of raw oysters with a dipping sauce. It was a deal though, all that for 10,000 won (about 9 USD).

I was very brave, managing to eat three before giving up and having Mike down the rest. The raw texture with no other contributing texture or flavors was a bit much.

We rewarded our bravery with a giant dinner of lamb. It was fantastic - easily in my top ten meals in Korea.

On Sunday we went to the Tongyeong Excursion Boats Terminal, and took the Happy King to Jangsado Sea Park. The boat drops passengers off at one wharf, and has you walk through a set course to the other end of the island where you board again about 2 or 3 hours later. The island has beautiful sights of the neighboring mountains and islands, and lots of statues and sculptures.

This boat ride was significantly more expensive, about 30,000 Won each, but it was significantly farther from Tongyeong and included the return trip. The boat ride itself was about an hour long each way, plenty of time to enjoy the sights.

The major downside is the crowded pathways, as the entire boat empties with tourists at once.

Mike and I

Sculptures around the outdoor concert hall. There was also a gallery featuring the work of Kang Jong-Yeol, who had done a series featuring the island. It was for sure worth the look around!

Although there wasn't a lot of restaurants on the island, there were coffee shops and a little shop on the Happy King Ship.

Back on the boat, returning home.

For more information, look at Korea's National Park site on Hallyeohaesang.

For those who may be interested, Mike took most of the these pictures, as I forgot my camera.

March 5, 2012

Mom's Visit to Korea!

This past month my mom came to see me! We had a great time. We ate a ton of food and drank lots of cheap Korean beer. Here are some pictures from her visit.

We went to Seoul , so of course we had to go to the cat cafe in Hongdae.

My co-teacher let my mom come to school for the day. It was fun to see the kids interact with her and let her see what I do.

I took her downtown for some traditional Korean drinks - like tequila in a glorified zip-lock!

We spent a day in Gyeongju getting some culture.

It was a fantastic trip; I wish I had taken more pictures!