It's been such an exciting week so I'll be posting a few more blog posts in the next couple of days just to keep up with everything! This one is a bit long so bare with me if you can. We started with a super fun-filled weekend in Jindo, located about 5 or 6 hours south of Changnyeong. The group decided to take a trip with a travel company for the Jindo Sea Parting Festival. The festival is literally based around the sea actually parting and everyone walks through the low tide to a nearby island, but more on that later.
We left immediately for Busan after work on Friday to catch the travel group’s bus to Jindo. We ate dinner there and hung out for a couple of hours before we needed to leave which was a good time. But Busan is always a good time. We eventually boarded the bus and arrived to Jindo at about 4:30 AM.
We were given some information on what the rest of the day would look like but with little to no sleep and a crappy microphone, nobody was really sure other than what was on our schedule. We all got off the bus and followed the crowd where we were given torches. This was the beginning of our torch walk to the edge of the island. There were festive drums being played along the way and it was still before sunrise so something about it felt very “Survivor”-esque. Once we got to the end of the walk, a couple hundred people gathered around and watched a fireworks show which lasted about 5 minutes. It was really a great show and reminded me a lot of Thunder Over Louisville back home which is always one of my favorite events. They played a couple of songs during the show, one of which was from Pirates of the Caribbean haha. After the fireworks, we turned in our torches and watched the sunrise over the water - absolutely gorgeous!
We had a few hours until the festival started or we could check in so we took a nap on the beach - Luke and I planned on sleeping on the bus since we didn't have a tent, but that's a whole other story, so we ended up on a huge beach towel under a sleeping bag fort haha. We were very lucky it was perfect weather all weekend. We woke up as the festival was beginning. Tents and booths were being setup representing different countries around the world so naturally, we started with a coffee from Colombia (my favorite coffee)! There was a K-Pop contest late in the morning. We didn't watch a lot of it, but the two we stayed for were a hip hop routine and then a song from the musical Chicago, so there was definitely variety.
We walked around all day since the Sea Parting event was a bit before sunset. We tried Jindo Hongju which is a special alcoholic drink made exclusively on the island. It tasted a bit like vodka and medicine combined, but really wasn't terrible! For a little bit, Hannah and I wore paper Ajumma Visors that were being given away (all of the old ladies in Korea are another story in itself, but they all wear their visors religiously haha)! Luke and I had a chicken kebab from the Turkey tent, had a DELICIOUS and much needed craft beer from another tent, saw a wrestling tournament outside on a roped off mound of sand, and took in the rest of the festival's atmosphere before trying to catch a bus to Mordor.
Mordor is a nearby smaller island that many people take a boat to for the event. There, you can hang out with the locals and drink makgeolli before walking back through the sea. Unfortunately, they were not taking people there this year since the sea wasn't going to be parting as long as it normally does. In this case, people couldn't have made it from one island to the other in the allotted time. We all bought some awesome boots to walk through the water and slowly made our way into the middle of the sea. Liam was dressed like Moses, and even found the perfect tree branch to bring with him. There were others that were given a Moses outfit but Liam most definitely pulled it off the best, and was asked for a trillion photos with strangers haha. Anyway, the sea parting was VERY cool. We walked out to the middle and were then instructed to turn back around as the sun was setting. We ended the walk with some more festive drum music and some dancing. It was an awesome experience!!
We all grabbed some dinner, hung out for a bit and some of us went back down to the festival where there was a DJ and lots of people dancing and hanging out in another state of mind. We were there for about 4 minutes before someone came up to pour some vodka in our mouths. We split a couple of beers, had a blast dancing, and headed back up. Luke and I CRUSHED the dance floor, and had a few people super jealous of our moves. He even brought our beach towel and ended up wearing it as an awesome cape...and rocking it!
We woke up Sunday morning, ate breakfast and were on the road to our next stop - the Jindo Dog Show. We were all a bit hesitant at first and didn't know what to expect. We were told the dogs would be jumping through hoops of fire and we were not exactly excited but more concerned for these dogs. The show was alright. There were no firey hoops which was good, and there were some cute little tricks and a race at the end, but nothing too fancy. We drove another hour to the Boseong Green Tea Fields. Here, we had a couple of hours to explore and eat lunch. This place was unbelievable! It was so green and gorgeous everywhere, the landscaping was incredible, and the views were spectacular! On the way up, you could see the farmers picking the green tea leaves from the bushes. At the top, you saw islands, mountains and even the sea in the distance. There was even an "I <3 녹차" (I heart Nokcha, or Green Tea) that was spelled out in flowers that you could see from the top of the hills. Their cafes sold everything green tea. Before we toured the area, Luke and I each had Bibimbap with green tea rice, and an Iced Green Tea Latte. Afterwards, we devoured their delicious green tea ice cream! We got some good items from the souvenir shop and headed back to the bus.
We made it back home around 9:30 PM, cleaned up, got some sleep and headed out the next morning at 9 AM for our staff "harmony trip". A post on that trip to follow soon!