This last section will be a lot easier to write about because, not only do I have pictures from Jeremy to use, but nothing too emotional, difficult, or strange happened.
On our third day, we opened the doors to find sunshine! It had been rainy and cloudy since the time we'd arrived, so we packed up our things for a couple hours at the barbed wired beach. The guys and I made a stupendous sand castle complex complete with watch towers for the North Koreans, spears for defense, and (Jeremy's idea) a sacrificing stone in case any of the reds got too close. I added "statues" that symbolized the hope for reunification, and the guys nodded and said that was probably a good idea, too. (It really was a great sand creation. Jessica took a picture. I'll have to show you once I can!)
After the beach, we checked out of the minbak, said good bye to our friendly ajuma, got picked up by Homie again, and were dropped off at what seemed like a bus stop. There was a shut down bus and a building with a sleeping man inside, but we were at a loss for what to do. We couldn't wake the man, we saw no times, and we didn't know the language. We sat and waited. After about 8 minutes, another bus pulled up, the sleeping man woke up, and away we went with him and the first bus.
When we arrived at Sokcho, Patrick and Jamie from our school had already arrived. We met up with them at our hostel, The House. Guys. Guys, guys, guys. If you ever have reason to go to Korea, and if you ever have time to spare while you're there, go to The House. Just to be there. Who cares about the beach, the amazing food, the culture, and the shopping? The House was Awesome. The owner, Mr. Yoo, was so kind, helpful, and relaxed. The aesthetics were eclectic, cozy, and they seemed to say, "You're different? Then you belong here." The overall atmosphere was one of welcome and ease. There were so man flavors in this place. The walls were smothered in places from postcards, notes, and letters from previous customers who'd come from all over the world. I could go on and on, but here's my word: I loved it. You will, too. (Also, there was a dog. A big one. I loved him.)
|The guest eating, cooking, and internet area|
|These are the outdoor areas where we played cards and dice and where we were offered honey dew and chicken from other guests. We shared a Sickers bar in return.|
I can't wait to go back there. Seriously, I'm going back.
Images from The House
Dinner was sashimi, which is raw, cut fish laid out for you to eat. It's not wrapped with rice or seaweed like sushi, it's just raw fish. I still don't like it. Afterward, we watched The Goonies and we all snuggled in for bed on the mats on the floor.
The next day, we went to Seoraksan National Park and climbed up a mountain to some beautiful waterfalls. Commence photo tour: (Again, these are all from Jeremy.)
|Seoraksan National Park|
It was gorgeous.
|And this one has Jeremy on the right end. He was taking the previous picture.|
|This is the Buddha in the park. It was erected within the last 30 years. It was interesting seeing people bow and pray to it. I didn't really know what to do.|
I took the bus back to Seoul shortly after we returned from the hike due to dwindling funds, and I got to hear stories of the epic dinner that the crew had that night. I wish I didn't have to miss out on the feast, but I'm so glad I got to go at all! The hike was beautiful, the DMZ was educational, I've seen more of Korea, and I've become so much more comfortable with the crew! It was a great trip.