Saturday, May 30, 2015

Jindo Sea Parting, The Sequel

Vatos Tacos action!
So, if I'm going to tell everyone my travels from the last few months, I might as well go back to the beginning. Right, so the first stop was South Korea, where I was joined by my friend Libby. One of our first stops was my favorite restaurant in Itaewon, Vatos Tacos. Their kimchi fries are absolutely amazing!
I also met up with lots of my favorite people in the entire world! This is Danielle. She's one of the reasons I like Canadians so much!

Amazingly, one of the weekends we were there coincided with the Jindo Miracle Sea Parting Festival. I've done this one before when I lived in Korea, and it was one of the best trips I have ever gone on. So we decided to go again!

The Sea Parting Festival entails exactly what you would imagine--a land bridge forms, usually once a year, between mainland Korea and a nearby island called Jindo (it's actually the third largest island in the country). Because we were part of a group, we were able to take a ferry to the island and walk back to the mainland. Typically, visitors depart from the mainland, walk part of the way, then turn around.

There is a legend to go with the festival, of course. Apparently, the island was once teeming with tigers. Jindo villagers fled the island to escape being eaten, but poor Grandma Bbong was left behind. She prayed to the Sea God to reunite her with her family (although she probably should have been asking for protection against hungry tigers). The god heard her cries, and answered them in the form of a rainbow bridge that would lead her to safety. She made the crossing, but died of exhaustion in the arms of her family. Which probably taught them a good lesson about forgetting people on a tiger-infested island!

We spent the night on a bus traveling from Seoul to Jindo, but it was well worth it. The Yellow Sea apparently was to part TWICE for this particular festival. So we arrived around 4:30 AM and walked from the bus to the shore. They handed us all torches (probably not the safest choice.) As you can see in the picture, we all had to wear special gloves--hopefully they were flame retardant, but I really have no idea. There was live drumming. And dancing. And then fireworks, all before dawn!


After all of that excitement, we headed back to our hotel to get some sleep. Sleeping on a bus is never fun. After a bit of shut eye, we headed back to the shore. There were tons of food stalls, shows, and soju going around. We took our ferry to the island, and watched even more traditional performances. There was drumming, fan dances, and musical performers. Once the sea had parted far enough, we got the green light to walk across. I'm always amazed by the kinds of things people pull out of the sea: octopus, starfish, crab, seaweed, clams. Last time I saw an ajumma snatch an octopus out of the water ninja-style!


There was a banner that you could write wishes on in the middle of everything. Libby and I quickly took advantage of that. Being in Korea was incredibly cold after sweltering Thailand, so I was wearing my scarf like a jacket in pretty much all of these pictures. I was freezing cold! And I got to wear bright orange rain boots. That was cool.

This is an ajumma. They all look similar, (they usually wear a visor, leopard print something, a big handbag and a frown) and they are extremely terrifying. None of these women will hesitate to take you out with a hand bag or anything in their hands! Beware the ajumma...

Libby, Kelsen (a new friend who was awesome) and myself attempting to look cool.

We found a starfish! And tried to save it by putting it in the water.

Of course, Moses was in attendance. What would a sea parting be without him?!

Mmm, dinner.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Heading Home, Part 1

So, I might be a bit behind on blog posts. As in, I traveled for two whole months and have written very little about it. Sorry about that, but hopefully I'll be able to share some more pictures and stories with everyone soon.

Hands down, my favorite part of the break from school was the week that I went home. Granted, it meant a full 48 hours on airplanes within 8 days, but it was absolutely worth it for the time I was able to spend with friends and family. It's nice to be reminded that I have been blessed with fantastic friends and family. The whole week was spent darting around for coffees, lunches, brunches, and dinners with many different people. I felt the love, people, and it was exactly what I was in need of.

One of my favorite memories for the week was a little family party that my aunties graciously set up. It was nice, it was simple, and I coerced politely asked everyone to take a selfie with me. Many of these pictures are first-time selfies, so I hope you enjoy them!

Aunt Ann and Uncle Gary

Uncle Rich and Aunt Cheryl

My father does not often willingly pose for pictures...

Granny and Gramps

Such good-looking people in one picture.

Aunt Gail

Granny and I

Gramps and I

I was asked to delete this. But how could I possibly not share such a gem of a picture?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunnin' on Samui

Hey everyone! So I realize that I have many, many blogs to catch up on, and I'll do my best to write about the places I've been traveling to within the past few months. I'm sad to think that my vacation is almost at an end, but I am absolutely ready to be settled in one place for a bit rather than traipsing around with my backpack every day. I flew back to Thailand from Indonesia on Sunday, so I'm back at my (expat) home base!

Where I am now, Koh Samui!
My way home was quite long. I was on the island of Karimunjawa with my friend Terceira, who works for the Peace Corps. First I had to take the ferry back to the mainland, then a three-hour bus ride to a different city, then a train to Jakarta, then a flight to Bangkok, then a bus to the other airport in Bangkok, then another flight to Koh Samui. We started Saturday morning and I arrived in Thailand on Sunday night, and I am glad to be back home now! The journey was well worth it, but that's a post for a different day!

So, when I came back I immediately went to Koh Samui, one of the beautiful islands located on the eastern side of Thailand. I have just been trying to relax and do some schoolwork, but I have also taken some pretty breathtaking pictures of the island. Have a look!

View from across the street from my hostel, 2W Beach Hostel.

This is a mini golf place!

Tomorrow, I'm off on a ferry to Koh Tao so that I can get my Open Water SCUBA license with Roctopus Dive. I'm super excited to be doing this, and if you hear of a tourist getting eaten by a shark off of Koh Tao, it's probably me (because I am super lucky). Just kidding, I've been assured that it's really safe.