Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Namhae Island for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving)

Koreans also celebrate their own form of Thanksgiving, or rather more of a celebration of traditions. It is called Chuseok and the national holidays fall on the 1st and 3rd of October. This year the first was a Monday and the 3rd was a Wednesday and most schools shut for the 2nd too so we had a very long weekend. It was for this reason that we decided to take a little trip. Most of our friends all left the country and went to the usual places like Japan, China and Taipei. I had been to Taipei over summer vacation and I just feel like 5 days to travel to another country is too short because I want to see, do and experience as much as possible which I feel does not happen when you are trying to squash it all into two days. Also with buying flights home and other payments and all, broke would be a nice way to describe my financial situation. 

This is why we decided to go to Namhae Island. It is off the South East coast of Korea but there is a highway connecting it to the mainland and you can therefore get there by bus, which made our transportation costs minimal. It was also only about a 4-5 hour drive spread across 3 busses which really isn't that bad. I did some research on the Island and found out that the main most popular beach was also open for camping. This made my decision to go all that much better as it would really feel like getting away from the city life that is Daegu.

So very early that Saturday morning 5 of us from Daegu headed off to catch our first bus to Jinju where we met three of our other friends from other parts of korea and took the bus into Namhae. From the main terminal in Namhae you then take another bus to the specific place in Namhae that you want to be. In our case we were heading to Sangju Beach. When we arrived on Sangju beach we realized that there were not many people around and although the website had explained where the campsite was we didn’t know if we were just allowed to pitch up our tents anywhere. However there was no one in information or anyone to ask so we just picked a spot and pitched. Not too long after an ajjushi (old man) came to us screaming at us in Korean and pointing further down the beach. We took this to mean that we were supposed to camp further down. So we lugged our stuff a little further up the beach and pitched everything up again over there. We didn’t get shouted at too much over the rest of the weekend so we assume we were round about the right place. It also turned out that because it was not peak season the camping was free. SCORE. Now this is not what we expected because we knew the whole of Korea had off work during this time and we assumed they would be flocking to the beach as well. As it turns out Chuseok is a very family oriented holiday so everyone goes home to their home towns to spend time with their families and they don’t venture out much from their houses. Which we came to realize over the next few days as there was pretty much just a bunch of foreigners around and only a few Koreans here and there.

Although after crazy city life and way too many parties I was more than happy to just relax and chill. Turns out our camp site was literally just behind the beach so I would roll out of my tent and onto the sand. The days were pretty much spent lying around on the beach tanning, swimming, chatting and eating. We would spend the evenings around fires with Korean berry wine and talk until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. Which wasn’t very long, that sea air really takes it out of you! We took a walk around our area the one day and decided to go rent some fishing rods and do some fishing. Now firstly let me just tell you that this trip entailed 2 South African guys, 5 South African girls and one of our American girlfriends. So needless to say the guys decided that they would find us a fishing spot. A lot of the Koreans were fishing around the harbour and other spots on the Island but oh no, these guys wanted to find their own spot. We ended up bundu bashing and rock climbing to the other side of where the main fishing was being done and I am pretty sure if a Korean saw us we would have been shat all over. It was such a beautiful spot though and I thank the guys for finding it as we couldn’t have asked for a better lookout point! As for the fishing scenario though... after some moaning, screaming and gagging reflexes I finally got three squiring worms onto my hooks(these worms bite by the way) just to cast it off into the ocean and get caught on a rock about 5 seconds later. Yup, pretty much all we caught was rocks! But it was so much fun!

On the last night we decided to go to the Oktober fest on the Island. Yes there was a beer fest in the middle of an Island off the coast of South Korea. The most bizarre thing however was not the beer festival itself but the fact that the beer festival was held in a German village on the Island. There is actually a whole German Village! Complete with German people, great beer and bratwurst. Walking around the village was so bizarre! I felt almost like I was in Europe. The houses were so cute and the streets were even cobble stoned! It turns out that one or two Germans settled there a while back and some more came over and married Koreans and so it grew into its own little German village. I will attach photos to this and you can see what I am talking about.

It was definitely a great way to spend our last night! Most people left very early the next morning but Gabby(my American friend) and I stuck around to catch the last few rays of sun and sand before heading back to city life. These outings into the beautiful parts of Korea make me realize just how much I miss nature, and scenery and mountains! I never thought that I would be that person who says they could never live in a city, or somewhere that is not near a beach. Turns out I have more of my Dad’s sea loving blood than I thought! The beach is my home <3

Gabby and I literally had a toy tent. Haha but it was small enough that we stayed warm and it fit us both so that's all that matters i guess! 

You can see the sea behind the trees. So close :)

Korean chicken and beer for lunch 

The nights were coooooold!

The days were amazing :)

Our fishing spot

My disgusted face. Wriggly worms!

Don't be too impressed. I caught a rock ;)

German village

Cute houses!

German Beer!

A little too much sun i think?

Gabby and I catching the last few rays!

Gustaf being a retard ;)
For more photo's you can look on my facebook page :)

Toodles for now!