We made plans to meet our friends from Gwangju (we worked with them in Gwangju, but now two live in Seoul and one in Jeonju) in Jinhae and were very excited for the Cherry Blossom Festival. We left our motel around 8:45 and hopped on the subway heading to Sasang Station. The exit to the station is right next to the bus station using Exit #3. There we went inside to buy a ticket to Jinhae and it seems that all of Busan was going to Jinhae for the festival. The line to get on a bus literally wrapped in a spiral formation through the lobby of the bus station.
We bought our tickets for 4,200 and jumped in line behind 3 Koreans decked out in hiking gear. I would imagine they were in their early 50s and even though they spoke no English, we kept smiling at them and pretending we were now a group of 5…being sure to all make it on the bus together. We lucked out and all got the back row of the bus…there are 5 seats.
They broke out their picnic in true Korean style and fed us coffee, pringles, boiled potatoes and pretzels. We took pictures together and then exited the bus, shook hands, bowed and parted ways.
We walked around the festival for an hour or so, looking at the flea market type tables full of goodies, seeing the traditional Korean folk comedians, staring at all of the festival foods and then went to wait for our friends to arrive. They were driving in and the traffic was quite heavy for the festival.
2 hours later we saw them drive around the corner in their little matiz, we jumped in the car, screamed, hugged and laughed. From there the weekend just got better and better. We found a parking spot and the 5 of us headed into the festival. We were all a bit hungry so we decided to grab a bite to eat before exploring. A bite to eat ended up being hours of eating and Makgeolli drinking (rice wine). We were there for a good 3-4 hours…sitting in the food tent, near the back with the server glaring at us. Two Korean men were loving our enjoyment and bought us another bowl of Makgeolli (it comes served in a bowl and you drink it out of little copper bowls).
We then decided to leave because it was beginning to get dark (we had a DD, thank you Kelsey!) just to find out the battery had died on the car. So, we were a bit inebriated, standing in the road, trying to get someone to understand battery, jump…and of course my hand sign language looked more like driving a motorcycle, Adam tried flashing some leg, I tried flashing some shoulder….Many people told us no no no…one family parked and walked over to our car, but was unable to help. The police told us to call their equivalent to 911… eventually 2 men in a SUV of somesort jumped the car and off we went.
We headed to a Pension the girls had rented in Myreong. It was up in the country/mountains a good 2 hours away. The ride was a bit of a blur of laughter. I know we stopped at a grocery store to get some meat and wine and breakfast food… we made it back to the Pension. (A pension is a condo that you can rent…it has a kitchen and this one had a hot tub)
Kelsey and Adam cooked up a schmorgasboard. Felicity, Kaisa and I ate chips and salsa, drank wine and I made guacamole. We had a feast for dinner and then all got in the metal wash tub of a hot tub…stayed up talking about who knows what then all crashed.
The next morning Kelsey and I made breakfast while everyone else packed and cleaned…Adam was still sleeping. We ate then jumped in the car and headed on a mystery trip to find brown signs on the highway (nature spots)
We found a beautiful Dam, some windy roads and a huge Temple.
We ended up in Masan for a late lunch, (which cost the 5 of us 41,000 won to eat…about $35) we were dropped at the bus station to head back to Busan, Kelsey and Felicity took the train back to Seoul and Kaisa drove back to Jeonju.
It was an absolutely fabulous weekend and I can’t wait to see everyone again. I think what is so perfect is that we come from three different parts of the country, almost in the shape of a perfect triangle…Seoul being at the top, Busan being in the East and Jeonju being in the West…but with a great public transportation system we are all able to meet up anywhere for super cheap and a lot of fun.