Today was epic. We were picked up at 9:30am by Kim and her husband (and the two other teachers from Ha So). All we knew was that we were going to see the caves and eat bimbimbop. The rest was a mystery. Language barriers have a tendency to create mysteries.
I took a ton of photos, so I'll let them show you our day. You'll have to forgive us. We only know Kim's name. That's because it's her English name, and she's been very helpful. As for the others, I'm not sure. They introduce themselves with their Korean names (a full three names) and it's very difficult to keep track, so for now, I will work as best I can without names.
When we went outside to meet the group, they were in two separate vehicles. Three of us (Ian, Kim and myself) in one and three (her husband and the two Korean English teachers) in the other. Because both Kim and her husband were driving, I assumed they were both their cars, but I was wrong. The two teachers went home in the one he was driving at the end of the day. How strange.
The day was very busy. Koreans go through attractions very quickly, and it was obvious that they had a lot to show us. As soon as they were satisfied that we'd seen everything we could at one location it was "Let's go! Okay!" At each attraction, however, Kim and her husband stayed behind. They just met us (me, Ian and the teachers) with the car wherever the attraction ended. It was weird and a little parental, but very kind of them.
First stop: Cheongpung Lake.
Ian and I at Cheongpung Lake.
Another picture of Ian and I at Cheongpung Lake. They insisted on taking a lot if photos of the two of us. There was a crane set up in the tourism area for: bungee jumping, "big swing"-ing, and "ejection seat"-ing. We thought maybe next time would be better for us.
But, these folks (you can see the kids being hoisted up) decided to give it a go. We watched them... it looked very dangerous.
We had black coffee (as opposed to the Nescafe type coffee most Koreans drink) at the little tourist cafe near the lake. It was good, but still very weak by American standards. Still, the caffeine was appreciated.
A tourism map of Jecheon. There is apparently a lot to do here. Very PNW style tourism, too. There's even a valley where you can go rafting.
Next, we went to a relocated and recreated village near the lake. The original village was buried under water when the lake was dammed in 1985. The area is also used for filming period dramas. Today was a filming day, so we did not get to see the whole park.
Ian and a Plexiglas guard outside the entrance of the park ("Cheongpung Cultural Property Complex").
A relocated "house" (more like a mini housing complex). It was difficult to stop and get decent photos without any of us in them (that's the younger of the two teachers) because we did everything so quickly.
The house's "living room," complete with fire extinguishers.
A giant outdoor rice maker in the complex. You build a fire underneath. Inside, it smelled like it had been used and looked a bit like it had, too.
An adjacent room in the complex, complete with television. It was funny to our native companions, too.
Part of the outer wall around the housing area.
We didn't actually get to go up and see this Buddha. That man was there to inform us that we could not go any further down this path because a television crew was currently filming. Bummer. I'm pretty sure there is a temple at the top of the hill.
So we took a different path, which led us through this gate.
A Plexiglas court outside of a relocated government building.
A close-up of the judge.
A view of "Asia's largest water view fountain" from our path. You may recognize the area from the first Google searches that we did of Jecheon before we left.
The ornate roof of a relocated pavilion.
We came across the tv set. It was wide open and no one even cared that we were there while active filming was happening. The scene must happen right after a battle scene. The one man is injured (background) and two are tending to him.
Evil, dangerous stairs going down to the rest of the park. We thought they would never end.
A recreated market for the television set. It was awesome, we just walked right through.
Another shot of the fake market.
A functioning sedan chair on the set.
A functioning, but tarp covered, Palanquin on the set.
A very large poster for the drama on its set.
Yet another thing that would be closed off in the states, but is out in the open air here. We came across this right outside the park. This is a women's field hockey team practicing. Not just any team, though. This is "team Korea" for the International Hockey Federation.
The ferry station where we boarded for our scenic trip on the South Han River branch. The dock was pretty sketchy.
Some ducks near the dock!
Kim's husband bought us some snacks for the ferry ride. This was the beginning of the unbelievable amount of food pur in front of us today. The teachers got some dried and grilled squid.
Ian and I on the boat. We were up top before it started raining (pouring). We don't know what the guys in uniform were all about. There were a lot of them and they seemed very tired.
The beautiful scenery of our tour on the South Han River:
The two English teachers from Ha So. They are freezing their butts off. Ian and I were excited because the air felt like home.
The view of the South Han branch from the back of the boat.
From the river, we went to the Gosu Caves in Danyang (just outside of Jecheon, Korea is very small, it's amazing how close everything is together).
Ian and I at the entrance.
Pictures of scary things that make the Gosu caves their home. Ian almost threw up. :)
Kim's husband joked that the caves were narrow and that Ian might get stuck. Well, he was only mostly joking. I'm all for being in charge of your own safety, but some of the conditions in the caves were ridiculous.
Really? Seriously? And it was wet and very slippery, too. That's Ian's hunched back, by the way.
Some of the amazing things we saw in the cave:
Then we stopped for lunch. They ordered Ian and I bimbimbop, rice with stuff (yachae [veggies], in our case).
There was so much food (this is just for Ian and I). They thought we didn't like it because we didn't finish everything. They bought us snacks later because they thought we were still hungry. Ian is drinking makgeolli (sounds a little like broccoli without the r), a Korean rice wine that is creamy, milky in color and sweet.
After lunch we went to the Uirimji Reservoir. These three rocks are said to be a husband (center), his wife, and his lover. The wife supposedly looks like her back is turned in anger.
Ian and I walked up a set of stairs to find an outdoor singing stage. The fountain jumped to the singer's voice.
In the parking lot, near the Uirimji tourism info, a man was giving horse rides. Just around the parking lot. The horse was in good shape, much better than any carnival horses in the states. But, he was lame in his right shoulder. Probably from being on asphalt all day.
After the reservoir, we went to a carnival.
We went on two rides. This one and the Viking ship.
The whole point of this ride is to dislodge the riders and have them roll around in the center. Our particular ride could have been called "Let's pick on the foreigners!" We managed to stay in our seats for the most part. Not the safest ride.
Kim's husband across from us on the Viking ship. He's a lot of fun.
The bar closed on Ian, but left me with quite a gap (the metal bar is at the top of the photo). Also, not my safest adventure on a ride.
There were these weird robot animal rides.
You put your money in, hop on and steer, I guess.
We finished our day with rice cookies (like thin rice cakes) and a walk around a little park.
This is the LEFT OVER food from the day. Koreans are big eaters, and (for some reason) they assume we eat even more than them.
All of us at Uirimji.
Today was epically fun. Korean's like to do their business with friends, and they sure make an effort at the whole "friend" bit. It was a great, but tiring day.
Tomorrow, we are meeting Tina downtown at 6:30pm and going somewhere famous and/or popular. It should be another exciting blog!