6:30 a.m. and the foreign, barbarian hordes descended upon Seoul station. It was a rather drowsy horde, but we gathered nonetheless. Introductions were made, and coffee was consumed. We marched onto the platform and because we were a fairly large horde, we had a whole train car all to ourselves. Everyone settled in and we were off to Jinhae, a small town on the east coast, 5 hours away. The sun was kind enough to come out, and everyone was in high spirits despite the early hour.
The train chugged along, and I looked out my window and watched the world go by. The ground started off in shades of brown, tan and black. There were hints of green, that turned into whispers, then murmurs. An exclamation of yellow or purple flowers would punctuate the landscape as we moved further south. The river’s black water reflected the sky and flowed past the memory of ice.
We arrived in the station, gathered to get directions and times of meetings, then the barbarians dispersed for lunch. The big parade and main festivities were canceled because a navy ship had gone down last week. No one is really sure what exactly happened, but it lent a somber air to the festival, although the blossoms still managed to show beauty in the face of all.
I walked around and seriously contemplated eating roast pig, but since it was very overpriced, decided upon a street food munch along. There were little tents and stalls set up along the main road, selling everything from cotton candy, coconuts, kebab, and corn dogs. Vegetarians had a bit of a dearth of options, but us meat eaters were pretty well catered to.
After we gathered the horde again to go see the turtle boat. I don’t think it was the original turtle boat of Admiral Yi, but it was an excellent reproduction. ( Admiral Yi Sun-sin is one of the great heroes in Korean history– He was one of the greatest naval tactician that ever lived, and created a fleet of the turtle boat, an iron clad flat-bottomed boat that does indeed resemble the turtle it was named after. The boat was used to repel the Japanese navy in the late 1500s )
After the trip to the sea and the tour of the turtle boat, we climbed thousands, no, millions, well not really that many, but sure felt like it, stairs to go to the top of a mountain to see the town. I think I would have been better off to have stayed down, as I didn’t see anything spectacular on top, and I realized that I am indeed out of shape. After the climb, the horde gathered again to go to the romance bridge. It was kind of romantic, and is famous because it was used to film several romantic films and tv shows. It was indeed beautiful, and the blossoms strained to bloom over the small creek running past.
All in all a beautiful day.