Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Daecheon Beach

Well, this weekend was another adventure. I am getting addicted! I think Muju re-lit the spark in my adventure spirit, and now that I feel more comfortable and confident in taking the buses into the Korean countryside, I think it will probably be growing into a full-fledged flame.
This weekend, I really wanted to go to a beach. Romeo agreed to accompany me once again, so we started planning. I had heard from a coworker about an island off of Incheon called Muuido, but it seemed very crowded and limited in what we could do. So then we looked at Sokcho. We had pretty much planned on that until the night before we were to leave, when we decided, due to weather, to stick to the west coast rather than the east (rain, cool temperatures, etc). We settled on Sapsido Island, a few kilometers off Daecheon Beach, near the city of Boryeong.

So, Saturday morning we left early for the bus station. Nothing too crazy happened, but apparently we got tickets on the luxury bus rather than the standard ones. It was actually a lot nicer and I would probably buy a ticket for that type of bus on purpose if I was going more than like 2 hours away. But, it was actually an accident this time! There was a lot more leg room and the seats were very comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised!

We left on the 9am bus and arrived in Daecheon around 11:20. We went to E-Mart to stock up on supplies (aka food and beverages). We then took a taxi to the ferry terminal. It was a little expensive, at around 9,000W. When we got there, there were quite a few people milling about. We had read online that the island feels kind of like a deserted island in places because it is much less crowded than Daecheon Beach. We stood in line for about 15 minutes behind this obnoxious guy who was arguing with the ticket lady for that entire time. It was very frustrating! Finally, Romeo asked what the hold up was (thank goodness for his Korean skills!), and we found out that the 1pm ferry was cancelled. The next one wasn't scheduled to leave until 4pm.

We decided to just explore the beach area we were at instead of waiting for the ferry. So from there we went south from the ferry terminal. We went through a fish market and stopped on the pier for a little picnic. We sat on these concrete blocks under a weird tent like thing. We ate our food purchased from Emart earlier, people-watched, and had a nice time. After finishing lunch, we ventured on along the coast, through some fish market restaurants, and to the beach finally. It was a little crowded, but we managed to find a spot near the water.

We ended up staying on the beach for several hours. It was fantastic. It was great to just get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax on a beach! And, bonus, I finally remembered to bring and USE my awesome ZTA coozie.

After several hours, we finally got up and took a few photos. Romeo's face is hilarious because the photo was taken right as the waves lapped up at our feet and we got hit with the freezing water. I maintained composure, though. :) 

Utilizing the holes dug by the previous tenants of the umbrella next to us, Romeo buried me. I've never been buried before, so it was an interesting experience. I felt like it was very hard to breathe without messing up the sand, so it didn't last long. By the way: those are "stegosaurus spikes" on my sand. ;P

After being buried, we decided to leave the beach and find accommodations for the night. We needed to rinse off because of all the sand, so we hit the showers next to the beach exit. It was 500W for 1minute, and it was probably the coldest shower I've ever taken in my life. It literally hurt to use, but I made myself. It was hilarious and miserable at the same time.

Finally we started to walk back from the beach and asked at few motels. One lady told us that her room was 60,000, and that was the best we would find. Which was a lie. The next place we found was 50,000, so we took it. It was technically a minbak, but I'm not totally sure the difference. All I know is, it was a LOT better than the ----hole we stayed in in Muju! It even had a tiny kitchenette (that we didn't use).

After cleaning up a bit (and taking much more comfortable showers), we headed out in search of fresh seafood. Romeo really wanted to have that, since we were at a beach town with a big fish market. We walked a ways back to the fish market from the afternoon, and found a little beachside restaurant  When we tried to ask what they served, we were led back to the fish market and pointed at an array of choices. We went with crab and paid for them there.

Back at the restaurant, they made a stew with the crab, some mussels, and some monstrous shrimp. It was my first time eating super-fresh crab right from the shell. Romeo had to show me how to get the meat out. It was pretty good! I was pleasantly surprised. If you know me, you know that I am not the best with unfamiliar food. But, I would say it was a success.

When we were finished, we were very surprised (and not in a good way) to find that we had to pay again. We initially paid 20,000 for the crab, etc. Then we had to pay 19,000 for 1 beer and the "labor" of throwing the crab, etc into a pot of boiling broth. Not pleased. But, it was what we had been wanting, so oh well.

We stopped for snacks/dessert on the walk back to our minbak, then turned in moderately early for the night. It was a long day: I woke up at 6am and spent at least 4 hours in the sun (which zaps my energy), and walked at least a couple miles in total. So, I was totally fine passing out early.

The next morning we took the 10am bus back to Seoul and I spent the rest of the day resting up for my crazy week to come...

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