So The story starts of with a simple twist of fate--- I was allowed to leave work about 17 minutes early (4:13 compared to 4:30), which afforded me the opportunity to meet up with Jose, a fellow couchsurfer in Seoul
near the bus station. I went to work that day with my bag packed and wearing a more casual outfit as opposed to the usual collared shirt and ti. The trip took a 30minute bus ride to my subway station, an hour long ride to the meeting point in Seoul. So arrived at about 5:45 for the 6pm bus to Uljin, which was about a 4hour bus ride. Jose, provided great company, a Spanish guy from Madrid who is hear working at the Spnish embassy. I believe he speaks about 4 languages with fluency, so needless to say, he's a smart chap.
East Sea...Sea of Japan..same same
We got to Uljin Friday night and crashed with a friend of Jesse, the couchsurfing host who put together the meeting. Ryan was out host for the evening, we had to stay with him because we arrived so late and there was not a bus running to Hupo, our final destination. Ryan was a great host, he met us at the station and took us back to his pad, stopping along the way to grab some brews and soju, which he refused to let us pay for. We had a few at his place, then he took us around his town (population around 10,000), showed us his favorite drinking spot by the river. After a while we went back to his place to pound the rest of the beers, when his neighbor came by. This guy I will absolutely never forget. He couldn't speak really any English, but man was he lit.
He kept making the sound like he was hocking a loogy and saying how nice it was to meet us and what a good teacher Ryan was...what trip man! We woke up the next day and Ryan hooked up some toast and eggs. Jose and I grabbed the 9am bus and went down to Hupo where the festivities were to take place.
We got off the bus and followed the directions provided by Jesse to his place. We stopped in at a store to by some supplies and the lady kept speaking to us. I'm pretty sure she was saying something about how many foreigners were in town that weekend at Jesse's. Hupo is a pretty small village, so I don't think that they are accustomed to seeing more than 10 white folks in one place, but needless to say they welcomed us with a smile and an open cash register which we tried our best to help fill.
rooftop at Jesse's
We made it to Jesse's and greeted everyone for an hou or so. Jesse took us to his rooftop for a view and a group photo...then we trekked down to the crab Festival. I bought a hat along the way. We wet out to the pier to look at all the crabs they had for sale. You could get some rather large fresh snow crab for about $50 and I'd guess and say you could feed maybe 15 mouths or so, depending on the hunger factor of course. Man, it's been almost a week it's kinda hard to recall all the fun things, cause I'd really like to remember...come on espresso...help me recall--We wet into the festival area, where we were treated to some free crab, delicious...I made the first beer run of the day and picked up a twelve pack and a bottle of Soju. We sat there for about ten minutes for photo opps.
..I'm pretty sure we will be spokesmen for the festival next year. So many people took our pictures...a group of 10-15 white folks in a tiny village, sippin, eatin, laughin, talkin---ahhh, good times indeed. Someone even came with a video camera and made us chant something in Korean about the fest. After a while I got tired of the pics and started to munch down. I was quickly reminded of my times in Destin, Florida where I learned how to rip into a crab properly. It was fun cause I was able to share the useful knowledge with my companions. Everyone seemed in awe of my ability to waste none of the meet in the crab. So we sat around there for a bit and then there were some people making bandannas, some of us found the liquor sampling section..then there was a song and dance type thing going on.
Then there was an interesting event where they brought in some kids dressed in traditional clothing atop these large ropes, they brought out a pig's head and some men in suits came down for bowing and worship...all this was fun indeed. We did some other things, they was dancing involved, there was more cold beer involved, there was me giving away beer to old ladies involved, there was dancing with random old ladies involved, there was some eating of crabs in a tent with beer involved, there was some hiking up a steep hill through someone's backyard and garden involved to get to the top so we could watch the sunset :), there was some giving a korean boy a hard time cause he was way too young to be smoking involved, there was a bar involved, there was an after party at Jesse's involved and there was some passing out on the floor involved using the the sign Kady and I stole for a pillow involved.
The next day involved a lunch that took about 1.5 hours to receive after ordering in a restaurant where we were the only patrons, but it was so yummy, and the coffee was mighty fine. The establishment overlooked the East Sea, a nice scene. Afterwards we went for a little stroll through some of the local caves. We made it to the bus and about 5 of us made the long trek back to Seoul. We were even lucky enough to experience 8pm Sunday evening traffic heading into Seoul. Made it back to Seoul and I crashed with Colin, another CSer from the trip. His place was close by and in the morning I had to be at a teacher conference near Seoul, so I didn't quite want to head back to my hood. When we got back Yeji, my new friend :), and myself went out for dinner and then grabbed a cold drink and chatted for a bit.
She pt me on a bus headed to Colin's and told the bus driver when to alert me of my destination. Long story short...he forgot, I fetched a cab and met up with Colin, who lives in the absolute smallest place I have ever seen in my entire life. No Joke! This cat's pad is so small, I felt like I was walking into Willy Wonka's factory when I saw the tiny door you must duck to walk through (unless you're a short asian I guess). I couldn't stand up right in his place. When you sit on the toilet, the wall is a cool 3-5inches in front of your face.
I forgot to note, that I participated in my 2nd Guinness book world record, making the world's largest Kimbap ~100m long! And I caught a fish with my bare hands, chopped it's head off, fileted it and ate it raw.
I'm an adventurous eater, but no thanks
..Korean sashimi..we did grill some fish too which was also yummy
Next day, I woke up and headed to the GEPIK teacher training conference....Monday-Thursday...consisted of laughter, soju, fun times, frisbee, passing out in random places, soju, making new friends, acting a fool, soju, jokes, rubbing my cheeks cause they were sore from laughter and soju :)