Sunday, 5 August 2012

Vacation Preparation

Cycling around Jeju-do, an island off the south coast of South Korea, and Korea's largest island, seemed like a great idea when there were weeks to go to vacation time.  Yes, I said vacation! Forget your holidays in Korea, its all about vacation.  'Vacation' is understood, 'holidays' provokes a blank looking stare.  Such is life in this desperately American-centric, lunatic asylum of a country.

Anyway last Friday week was the start of our vacation/ holiday.  We got 12days.  An almost unheard number of days off in this work obsessed place.  Especially for a couple of hagwon workers.  2 days is not unusual, so we took our 12 days quite happily, and we skarpered.  

That Friday night was the birthday party of one of our co-workers.  It consisted of a dinner of pizza and fried chicken, paid for by the birthday girl as is tradition here.  We then moved to one of the many bars that are seperated into private rooms (heaven forbid you might talk to someone you don't know) where, upon the suggestion of beer by me, the menu came out because you can't possible have a drink if you don't eat, never mind the fact that we'd all just had dinner together ten minutes ago!  A chicken salad was ordered, as was a giant bowl of fruit salad drowned in a combination of milk, cider and ice cubes.  Cider is lemonade here, not cider.  The side dishes, that accompany every meal here in Korea, were not the usual kimchi and radish, but instead were 3 cherry tomatoes (to share?), a spoon full of sweetcorn and a bowl of puffed rice snacks, similar in appearance to hoola hoops!  A birthday cake was then produced.  We all sang happy birthday and the girl of the moment cut the cake up into nice neat sections, before chopsticks were handed around, and everyone attacked the cake.  The sections were redundant, completely.  All in all, a pretty normal Korean Friday night!

Chicken Salad and a somewhat dubious looking Fruit Salad, with the Birthday Girl to boot!

Appetizing Side Dishes!

Saturday was spent getting our bikes in order for this cycle, the extent of which I was trying not to think about, never having cycled much further than 15kms in one go before.  Actually, Nick sorted the bikes out, checked the tyres, attached new peddals, attached bottle holders and who knows what else.  I stuffed a few bits of first aid into a washbag, threw a couple of t-shirts into my rucksack, along with my ground mat, my book, bike lights and a lock, a touch, my camera charger, my phone charger, sun-cream and some mossie spray. 

We didn't actually leave 'til Sunday, we'd booked a ferry from Mokpo to Jeju-Si at 9am on Monday morning, so that we could relax at home on Saturday and not have to set an alarm on the very first day of our holidays.  When we woke on Sunday, a little bit worse for wear it must be said, it was raining...exactly what we didn't want on the first leg of the cycle.  It is monsoon season so it wasn't a total surprise, just not a very welcome one.  Anyway due to us being some what tri na ceile as I've mentioned, it took us a bit longer than it should have to get out the door and by that stage the rain had stopped.  Silver lining.  The combination of the humidity, the wet roads, the hastily, over packed rucksack and the hangover made for a pretty awful cycle to the bus stop but get there we did and got on a bus, bikes and all, with an uncharacteristic lack of hassle.  The vacation had well and truly started at this stage!

Tortoise Stef, leaving the apartment the first morning, wondering if this really was such a good idea after all!

We arrived to Mokpo about 4 pm that day.  Which way to the port? Good question.  A question we posed to a group of waygooks (the Korean term used to describe foreigners) who walked passed and, as it turned out, lived in Mokpo.  'Oh its quite a ways away' was the helpful response.  We're on our bikes, we clearly intend to cycle it, the distance is irrelevant, just point us in the right bloody direction would you?!!  Despite the waygooks mad answer, we did get there.  We found a nice cheap motel beside the port, went in search of dinner and got a much needed early night. There were many, many more kilometers ahead of us!

No comments:

Post a Comment