The weekend of September 7-9 was my first Korean camping trip! A group of 6 women from SIS all decided to rent a school van, borrow some camping gear, and head off to the beach after school on Friday! We lucked out with the weather...after raining all week, it got sunny and warm and it was a lot of fun!
We went to Taean Seashore National Park, which is about 2 hours southwest of Seoul. If you look on a map, you may see the town of Mallipo, which is in the park. It's on the Yellow Sea and has quite a bit of camping in the summer. We left on Friday and got to Mallipo just in time for sunset, which was beautiful. When you don't know Korean it's pretty hard to find a camp ground in the dark, so we ended up finding an empty lot owned by a family that owns a minbak in the area. A minbak is a guesthouse. I've not stayed in one, but I've seen the insides of a couple. Basically you get a room with no furniture except a TV. You get a bedroll-type thing, called a yo to sleep on and that's about it. We could have stayed in the minbak, but since we had our tents and it was a beautiful night, we went for the empty lot. It was fantastic to be able to see some stars for basically the first time since I got here (light pollution and clouds), and go to sleep with the sound of the waves in the background.
The next morning, we got up and it was HOT! After breakfast, we headed down to the beach for a couple of hours. It was beautiful and I can now say I've swam in the Yellow Sea. The other good thing about going down there was that we found an actual camping spot, so we moved our stuff down there. The only bummer was that garbage cans are not all that plentiful in Korea and there was all sorts of garbage all over, which was gross. But other than that, it was fantastic.
That day some of us went to a nearby restaurant and had some crab. We picked out our live crabs and then the woman made a soup out of them. It was good, but very spicy (Koreans love their spicy food and I don't like spicy food, so that's been a bit of an issue so far). Luckily she had only quartered the crabs, so the meat wasn't that spicy at all.
On Sunday, we got up pretty early and headed back to Seoul. Traffic on Sundays can apparently be pretty bad because so many people go home to their small towns and villages on the weekends and then all head back to Seoul on Sunday. We hit the road early enough to miss most of the traffic, but still got stopped a few times.
One of the great things about the camping trip was that I had gone to the Korean version of Target, GS Mart, and bought a tent and it ended up being a fantastic tent! It's a nice 3-4 person tent that's easy to put up and was only 90,000 won, which is about $100. I'm excited about having this great tent for future camping trips!
The pictures, from top to bottom:
* A Korean sunset from Mallipo beach...beautiful!
* Heading out for a morning of relaxing on the beach.
* Coleen, Heather, and I making dinner on Saturday night
* The same Korean sunset, a few minutes earlier (the sunsets don't look this good in Seoul!)
* Alana, Heather, Coleen, and Francie enjoying our crab soup