Homeless but not without shelter. Our wonderful friends have helped store our stuff and have even given us shelter. We consider ourselves lucky that even after being kicked out of our apartment without another lined up, we still can find a safe, dry and warm place to put our heads at night. We lived with our good friends Chris and Lucy for a long weekend and then decided to live on the road in towns not too far from Gwangju.
Our first stop was Mokpo. A town just 50 minutes by bus from Gwangju and a little longer by train. We love spending time in this quiet coastal town that sometimes seems to be in a state of arrested development. It is a wonderful town with fantastic views from a couple of different mountain peaks. Our favorite is the famous Yudalsan just a few hundred meters from the ferry terminal. From the peak you can see some of the thousands of islands off of Korea’s coast and at the base you can listen to a guy playing saxophone. For us he played Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” when he found out we are American.
Instead of taking off on a ferry to Biguemdo or Heuksando we opted to take a bus to Jindo fot the day. Our mistake. For a 20,000W cab ride we were dropped off at a beach under construction and right across from a youth’s training facility. Our plans to camp were thwarted by the facilities’ frequent announcements over a loadspeaker and the front endloaders working on the beach right in front of us. The highlight of the trip was eating maeuntang(spicy fish soup) at an outdoor restaurant on the beach. We decided to make the short trip back to Mokpo after a brief and unimpressive day trip to Jindo. Unfortunately for us, we did not have a good day on an island that otherwise has a very good reputation.
So we spent the remainder of the week walking the streets of Mokpo and enjoying the sea air amongst people that are far less concerned with foreigners than they are in Gwangju. Their indifference is kind of nice actually, they look at you like they look at anyone else, Korean or otherwise. We spent most of our time just looking in old storefronts, snapping photos of old houses and marveling at the way Mokpo seems like it is stuck in the 1950s, in a good way.
On Friday we headed to Yeong-am so I could run in the King of the Mountain race on Wolchulsan. Once we checked into our hotel I checked my e-mail to find that it had been canceled due to the tons of rain that would be hitting the peninsula. The next morning I ran anyway. It was wonderful. A constant rain, thick clouds and hardly anyone on the mountain. To make it even better the clouds broke a little on the way down giving me a great view of the valley.
Now we are in Seoul, getting ready to leave for a “babymoon” in the Philippines. As always we love the sights, sounds and shopping of Seoul, but find ourselves missing the superior cuisine of the Jeolla Province. But for now our home is the road and in a few days our home will be on a beach in the Philippines. We’ll manage…somehow.