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Children's Day

SOUTH KOREA | Wednesday, 5 May 2010 | Views [511]

Hansando is the largest island off the coast of TongYeoung.  You have to take the ferry there but it is big enough that you an bring your car with you.  There are small villiages all over the island and even a school.  It only takes about twenty minutes on the ferry.  However, this particular morning it was soooo foggy that they cancelled all early morning ferrys… which was fine with me man!  I could use a bit of sleeping in!  So the 10 am  ferry it is!  But even at 10am it was foggy as anything.  So my friend Lizzy and I sat on the ferry chatting and wishing away.  The boat was full of kids since it was Children’s day, a national holiday here in Korea.  There were many families and sone was very nice and shared some Duk or Korean rice cake with us.  This stuff is good.  There are literally dozens of flavors and it is chewy.  Student's parents give duk to the teacher’s room at school like once a week.  We smiled, thanked them and I took some pictures of their daughters who were in the cutest little dresses. 

An hour of being patient as anything, the boat finally cruised on over to Hansando.  It was then I realized the importance of there not being fog cause there are just islands everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  And I hate to say it but after three shots, my camera battery died.  Check out Lizzy’s blog for pictures ( http://totongyeongandback.blogspot.com/) because it turned out to be an awesomly adventurous day.  The fog burned off in no time and we enjoyed getting warmed as we walked along the winding path to Yi Sun-sin’s memorial.  Yi Sun-sin is famous for designing the turtle ship which the city of TongYeong is famous for.  The ship, and in turn, Yi Sun-sin was responsible for defeating the much larger Japanese navy in the late 1500’s. 

His memorial is build in a temple style and is tucked into the nooks and crannies of a hillside that wraps along the many small bays that sport a very turquois water.  After visiting this memorial very piously (as was suggested on the entrance sign) we wondered around to a path that climbed up the hill.  Sure there was red writing but we can’t read hangul so on we went.  Soon we found ourselves walking on a little beaten path along tilled soils ready for planting, or already sprouting.  Dogs barked at us and made us nervous but they were tied up so on we went… doubting most of our steps as we appraoched a very small villiage from the backside, between   a tall hedge and a ditch.  We could hear men talking and though the trees some people could be seen, darker than Koreans but defenitely of asian decent.  With a little rough conversation and an annoyed Korean boss later, we found out they were from Indonesia and they were brought to this small dock to work for the summer.  With permission we meandered out to the docks and in no time found ourselves being invited for lunch. 

Here  we were forced to enjoy a more traditional Kimchi. This only means that it was fermented longer than modern day kimchi which is often only fermented for a month, but done correctly, they would bury it for the whole winter or keep it out in the sun for weeks in the summer.  Anyways, it was gross.  I can dig into the average Kimchi these days and I often find myself craving it if I don’t have in a 48 hr period, but this kimchi I never want again.  Then it was 5 inch long fish, still completely intact.  Yea… anchovy is normal here and more often you find the fish with the bones in it and skin intact.  You almost never find it cleaned up nice.  You just get used to it.  Some spicy veggies and rice and soup with anchovies in it, oh and of course a nice cup of instant hazelnut coffee…. Free lunch.  Of course the free lunch came with flies and a few indonesian men watching us eat while pretending to not watch us eat.  Could have been better but certainly could have been worse!

When we left we gifted the cook some candies and she was as happy as could be.  Some of the guys wanted us to take pictures of them and of course of us with their cell phones.  One getleman was instructed to walk us a ways and on we went!  We wondered not too much further paast the villiage though some rice paddies.  Eventually we came to a small beach that was tucked into bay surrounded quite throughly by steep rocks.  We lounged here for awhile and absorb life.  Eventually we headed back to the memorial, got some ice cream and jumped on the ferry to TongYeoung.       

We walked for a bit around our own city and hit up the fish market for some fresh mandu (korean dumplings) got a bottle of soju and sat by the turtle ship and bathed in our successful day.  Of course we were interupped often by random children saying hello’s, our students saying hello’s and random koreans that get excited to speak english.  We ended up sharing our soju with a Korean man who had moved to Australia and was in town visiting his family.  It was a wonderful day all around!    




Tags: hansando, islands, south korea, tongyoung, yi sun-sin

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