Somaemuldo & Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

This weekend we took our second overnight trip in Korea. We left Friday night and had a long, uncomfortable bus ride all the way down to Tongyeong on the southern coast. Saturday morning Lienna and I joined a small group to go to Somaemuldo (while Karen, the Daniels, and most of the other people on the trip went hiking on Saryangdo). Taking the ferry was another long, uncomfortable ride but the destination was well worth the journey. Somaemuldo is well known for its coastal cliffs and the beautiful Deungdaeseom, which means Lighthouse Island and is often shown in Korean movies and commercials. We hiked around the cliffs and then through the woods until we could finally get a great view of Deungdaeseom. There is a white lighthouse on the hill that was bulit by Japan during the Japanese Colonial Period. You can only walk from Somaemuldo to Deungdaeseom twice a day when the tides ebb and a pebble walkway appears. Unfortunately, we were not there at the right time. Lienna walked down to see Deungdaeseom closer up while I hiked up to Mangtaebong Peak for a better view. At the peak there was also an old building that has been used as a surveillance lookout to catch drug smugglers.

A brief side note: I have deciphered the Korean hiking system. If they don’t mention hiking at all then there will be an easy to moderate hike. If they say it is an easy hike, it will be incredibly difficult. And if they say it is moderate or difficult then it will be impossible! 🙂

After lunch we took the ferry back to Tongyeong. This ride was much more enjoyable as it wasn’t crowded so there was plenty of room for everyone to lie down and take a nap on the floor. It’s the Korean way!

We arrived at Rainbow Pension more than three hours before those who went to the other island. So Lienna and I took another long nap! When everyone returned we enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner with apple pie for dessert. We were all starving and it really hit the spot. Then we went back to the room we were sharing with approximate 20 other people and had some beers until bedtime. That night I delighted in the symphony of snoring surrounding me as well as the scalding hot floor I was sleeping on (sarcasm alert).

After breakfast Sunday morning, we went to see a turtle ship in Tongyeong. I had no idea until I just Googled it that turtle ships are specific to Korea: large warships belonging to the Panokseon class in Korea that were used intermittently by the Royal Korean Navy during the Joseon Dynasty from the early 15th century up until the 19th century. Interesting!

Then we headed to the 49th Jinhae Gunhangje, Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival. Apparently over two million tourists come from all over the world to walk along the tree-lined streets and picturesque mountain paths. The festival celebrates the blooming of the beautiful flowers and also honors the famous Korean naval hero, Admiral Yi Sun-sin, who helped defeat Japanese invasions over 400 years ago. They even had cherry blossom ice cream (not a fan)!

Instead of baking Ohee and I made chocolates this week. I bought DIY kits and we just melted down chocolate, put it in molds, and then decorated them. Fun!

So the public school job offer I accepted is no longer happening. First there were issues with my salary. I thought I would be making 2.2 million won a month but it turned out I would only be making 2.0 since I won’t technically have one year of experience (because my current contract is being cut short a month) and my TEFL certificate is only 40 hours instead of the required 100. But I came to terms with the low salary as the hours were also low. Then there were issues with my visa transfer and immigration rules and apparently I wouldn’t even be able to go home for two weeks, maybe one week or so, due to some bullshit that I can’t even understand. So I’m job hunting again and hopfeully will find something at the end of May or beginning of June so I can go home for a whole month! I am so ready for this entire process to be over!

Weird Korea Part 11: It is common here (especially for the older generation) to go to the fortune teller for advice. The director of my school went to the fortune teller more than once when she was looking to expand and open a new location. My language exchange partner’s father also went recently. If you go to a plaza or shopping area you will probably see little booths set up with one or more fortune tellers inside. I wonder where they get their credentials? It all seems so silly to me. Karen and Lienna both decided to get their fortunes told at the cherry blossom festival. They told Karen she will die young (but be rich and successful)… creepy!

-Jen Pace

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1 Comment

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One response to “Somaemuldo & Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

  1. Mary Baumgartner

    Hi Jen, Sorry about the job thing falling through, however, now you can spend more time here. Last night we had dinner with Zach, Kelly, Clay, James and I at your Mom’s. It was delicious. Sorry I’ll miss your barbecue when you get here. I’m leaving for Miami on Saturday. The scenes of Korea , as always, are beautiful. Love, Grandma

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