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Yokjido 욕지도

SOUTH KOREA | Sunday, 6 June 2010 | Views [2529] | Comments [1]

This past Saturday a group of us native English speaking folk decided to head out of TongYeong and into the island atmosphere.  In TongYeong, there are plenty of quiet places to tuck into and relax and enjoy the mountains and sea, but sometime you still just got to get away.  And, as I said in a previous post, the weather here has been great the past week or two.  It will start to get much hotter and humid so I am trying to soak up as much of the comfortable weather as I can!

I got a free ride to the Ferry terminal on account that the taxi driver was taking me to the wrong terminal so I had to redirect us in the right direction.  He felt bad so he gave me the ride for free.  Hell yea not a bad start to a mini trip.  

The ferry took about an hour to get to the island but I assure you this is no boring ride, for a few reasons: 

1) Seven foreigners traveling together equals hours of enjoyment for Korean people. 

2) Greg brought his Martin Backpacker Guitar and then flashed his green/blue eyes and all of the Korean women got out their compacts to make their faces whiter and then fixed their hair.

3) All of us girls were wearing tank tops and shoulders are nearly forbidden here. (Although you can wear skirts that are shorter than your shirt is long, no problem.)

4) People wanted to take our pictures.

5) There was a comedian on the boat.  Actually there seemed to be a comedian everywhere we went  

6) Oh and we nearly adopted a small boy who was thrilled at chatting with us in English.  He was pretty cool. 

7) Oh and the ride was beautiful as anything.

Yokjido is second largest island, after Hansado, that is accessible via the ferries from TongYeong terminal.  The small harbor town that welcomed us off the ferry was busy with bright beach umbrellas that were blocking the sun and people who were fishing, embarking on a hike or just lazily making their way somewhere on a hot Saturday afternoon.  There are three beaches on this island and we were planning on camping by or on one, if we could.  We tired to rent dune buggies, but they wouldnt let us on account that they could not explain to us the safety features clearly.  We were disappointed.  They did offer to drive us all around and show us the main attractions of the island but we politely declined and headed out on our own. 

Over the hill, instead of around, we decided, and consequentially head first into the 2 oclock sunbeams.  It was hot.  Our packs were heavy.  We kept on going.  We were happily reenergized when a man gave us raspberries fresh of the bush; and when we topped the hill, started heading down and saw the view of the hilly coastline.

Out in the distance, some of the wildly scattered islands could be seen.  A pin pick of an island here and a substantial chunk of land there.  Some are developed and you can see monuments, and houses.  Some are too steep to have a harbor so it seems that maybe they have never been explored.  The heat of the day forms a haze that erases the far off horizon and islands appear to be disconnected and floating as if I could click on them with my mouse and drag them here or there.  The nearby water sparkles.  Boats can be seen making their way along the sea, never having to cross each others paths.

We do make it to a destination after catching a weird display from two cows, a dog and their owner and many comments of how nice swimming will be once we stop.  We are all gross, covered in sweat.  We decided to make an abandon school yard our home for the night.  Yea, it was kind of creepy but the school yard was flat, big enough for six tents, hell twenty tents if we wanted and it was close to the beach and bathroom.  Pretty much the perfect spot.  We wondered if we might get in trouble.  I think we would have if we could speak Korean, but we cant and no one can tell us we are doing something bad.    

We went to the beach waded in and the water was cool.  It was also full of. Something we thought some kind of egg but later we found out that it was kind of breathing.  Yea, weird but anyways, they made an awesome thing to toss at someone.

Four other people from Tongyeong, miraculously, joined us and the relaxing began.  We cooked dinner pretty much on the ocean while watching the sunset.  Wine, soju and beer coated our brains.  Light gave way to the coming night.  We even caught glimpse of a few streaking shooting stars.  It made me think of these two fishermen I once knew and I could help but smile to myself.    

Eventually we figured out that a bag of food and, more importantly, soju was lost.  A few adventures decided to head off to see id any of the neighboring restaurants or Minbak residents would have some to sell to us.  Even better, we all get invited to a party at a minbak.  A minbak is essentially a room that is rented out for sleeping.  Usually a family or a group of friends will rent one to stay in over night.  It is very cheap, usually about 40,000krw a night.  It sometimes has a small bath room and a sink and it is about the size of normal bedroom.  There is no bed, everyone sleeps on the floor.  This is very normal for Korea.  Many people sleep on the floor every night. 

The guys that hosted us were working guys who were getting away from wives, kids and work.  They were happy to share drinks, food and conversation with us.  Some called their children, wives and brothers to have us speak to them in English and to brag about meeting us.  Greg and Ben played the guitar for all of us for atmosphere and the party was on!  This was the first time I had ice cold soju and it was SO good! 

We drunkenly made our way back to the beachside for a bit before we called it a night.

The next morning I woke up to a freaking spider that was stealthy as anything, probably trained with Jackie Chan or something.  But it was ok because we quickly devised a plan to get it out of the tent and there were no fatalities.  The morning was rough for some of us.  We gathered by the dilapidated swing set to cook breakfast while slowly packing up camp. 

A truck pulled up to the gate of the school yard and we all immediately were like, ok, here is goes, we are going to get in trouble.  These guys had serious written all over their faces and body language.  One guy walked up to Ben and said in a commanding voice, electric guitar and he pointed towards a house.  Low and behold, in what appeared to us to look like a shed was actually a little music studio.  There was a keyboard, microphones in stands, an electric guitar and even a full drum set.  So Ben and Greg jammed out for us and our new Korean friends. 

We took the bus back to the ferry terminal.  An older woman, immediately started shouting and looking and pointing at me and Morgan when we were dropped off.  She was trying to flag us in and I was like, hell no!  I am not going anywhere with this woman yelling but I did follow her and she had the lost bag of food and soju.  Morgan had left it behind and she hung on to it for him, knowing we were the only foreigners probably on the island and that we would have to come back sooner or later and she would recognize us, no doubt.

This is just how it is here.  You never know what is going to happen next.    

Tags: island hopping, south korea, tongyeong, yokjido



those two fishermen just wanted you to know they were there, keeping watch over you. i'm certain they were smiling too!

  mom Jun 8, 2010 11:19 PM

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