Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sangju Beach and Other Tales

Jinju at night




Saturday morning we were supposed to go hiking with some people we met at the bar Friday night. However, I did not wake up in time to meet them by taxi at 9am on the other side of the city so I rolled around until 10. Ana and I decided that we had to do something in nature that day so we walked to the intercity bus terminal and caught a bus for the island of Namhae, and ultimately Sangju Beach at the southern tip of the island. The bus stopped periodically to pick up people and took some scenic country roads, making the 40 mile trip about an hour and a half long. 
In the town of Namhae we had to buy a bus ticket to get to the beach, about another 20 minutes to the bottom of the island. The landscape was green and blue, mountainous and deep. Down on the water from the road you can see little villages scattered around. Any flat surfaces near the villages were intensively cultivated. There was a soldier and a sailor in uniform on the bus. Each departed separately at stops that could have been nowhere. 
  Ana and I were the only two people left on the bus by the time we arrived at Sangju Beach. The air was cooler there, but still very pleasant. Immediately we walked through a pine grove to the water. The water was far out at this time of day making the beach wide. The sand was a perfect crescent surrounded by pines and mountains. I have nothing to compare it to in America, but am told that it is like some areas in Italy. 
There were people sprinkled on the beach. A man hitting golf balls dressed as Spider Man was also renting out ATVs that putted slowly on the sand. Families gathered to picnic in the shade under the pine trees on the perimeter of the beach. One man walked into the water with his chest puffed out, slapping water on his body and swam out very far. There were fish flipping and diving out of the water left and right. They must have been having fun. 
Ana and I eventually walked into the village nearby, named on the map "Raw Fish Town." We were very hungry and easily beckoned into one restaurant by the old women who ran the place. It was a traditional Korean Restaurant where you sit on the floor around a small table with a burner on it. The seafood came out in huge portions with bowls and bowls of Kimchi. Kimchi are side dishes that are a staple in the Korean diet. We ate for about an hour and a half and still did not finish. 
We walked around the beach some more and decided it was time to start up on a bus back home because the sun was going down. We played with the idea of staying the night but decided against it. We waited and waited and waited for the bus but it was not coming. An old women sat down and talked to us in Korean so we just nodded and said the few expressions we know. I could tell that she was anxious about the bus situation too. She got up and motioned for us to follow her up the road. By this time it was night and the moon was big and bright. We were not so sure anymore about our situation and did not have that much money on us. The woman brought us to another bus stop where we bought tickets back to the town of Namhae and ran to catch the bus that came honking up the road. Finally we were on the bus, but the bus driver was basically telling us the bus was not going to Jinju and the women was kind of laughing and making a sleep gesture to us; Apparently saying that we were going to have to sleep in the bus station and wait for the first bus to Jinju. This was not what we wanted to believe because it was only about 9 oclock, and that would make for a very long night in the bus station in Namhae, which is a one horse town. Again it was just Me Ana and a bus driver and he seemed very surprised that we should have to get back to Jinju. This bus does not go to Jinju he was essentially saying to us. Well, he drove us to some location in town and told us to get out, but he got out with us and walked us to a corner and told us to wait here to go to Jinju. Suddenly another bus came almost immediately with Jinju on it's destination banner. It happened so fast, we didnt realize how lucky we were. I wish I could thank that other driver more sincerely. 
Eventually we got back to Jinju and back to the apartment at about 10 30 at night. At about 11 30 we headed down town to go to a bar where foreigners hang out. We met this Canadian guy Jerry who was very helpful and friendly. He had a funny look on his face almost the whole time. Like he just saw a ghost and didn't believe it. Maybe it was the beer he was drinking. Something seemed to be a surprise to him, but he was very calm and deliberate in his speaking. 


Anonymous said...

OMG - what a trip Sunday was and thank God you returned safe and at a reasonable hour! Sounds beautiful the beach you were at. Great exploring and great detail about the exploration:) Love you both - MAW

Anonymous said...

Oops, I was confused - that was Sat. It's Sunday morning here - still having my coffee:) Can't wait to hear about Sunday Be Safe. Louie says Arf, arf. Mawq

Anonymous said...

hey guys, paula here. what beautiful pics and facinating events of the day. thoroughly enjoyed it...imaginging actually being there. thank you so much for the time taken to share your experiences! glad you didnt get stranded on that island!

Anonymous said...

Is there camping at Sangju Beach? Is it lame? Thinking of going there for a couple days... please advise.

Anonymous said...

Hello A & M,

There are Angels everywhere. The Woman at the bus stop, the Busdriver who got you connected to the Jinju Bannered Bus.

I am so thankful for this Blog invention/contection.

Keep the stories and pictures coming.

Mucho love,