Into the Yellow Sea
Last night, the hotel manager had come to my hotel room to tell me about their 추석 Chuseok meal they'd offer this morning. So when I got downstairs to the lobby, I was shown into the parlor/cafe. I was surprised to see no one else there. As for their special meal, it was just some soup, shredded cabbage, and bread. I don't like soup and I'm not a fan of cabbage, so I had just bread, which was soggy... Not a good breakfast.
Yesterday I asked the clerk at the front desk about buses to the ferry terminal, but she misunderstook me, thinking I was going back to the bus terminal to leave Gunsan. She actually called my director/employer to clarify. So this morning I was surprised when the manager interrupted my soggy-bread breakfast to inform me that his wife was to drive me to the ferry terminal.
Koreans are not the best drivers. There was this big, empty, 6-lane avenue through the under developed industrial park on the edge of town. At every light, she would speed off like a race car driver only to get stopped at the next light a block away. We could clearly see the red light and it was obvious we'd have to stop, but she kept driving at nearly twice the speed limit only to have to hit the brakes hard to not run the red light. Then, the light would turn green and she'd speed off only to brake hard at the next light. It would have been so much better if she went the speed limit to catch every green light. Doesn't she realise how much gas she's wasting?
The Korean woman drove me to the wrong terminal. I had told her when we left the hotel that I wanted to go to 선유도 Seonyudo, a popular tourist attraction out in the Yellow Sea (서해 Seohae "West Sea" to Koreans). So we then had to drive to the other terminal, but she didn't know where it was. She actually stopped at a bus stop to ask the only guy sitting there who was waiting for a bus. Unlike what you'd expect in a high-crime Western nation, he got into the back seat to direct her to the ferry terminal.
When we arrived at our destination, she escorted me up to the ferry terminal. She walked past the small domestic terminal to the larger, empty, international terminal. Back in the domestic terminal, she actually escorted me to the counter and ordered my tickets for me.
This was quite a big service she provided at such a cheap hotel, but I guess the manager was excited that a rare foreigner had come to his little hotel.
The clerk at the ferry terminal wanted to ask a question, but she didn't know how to express it in English. So she got out her phone to use its Korean-English dictionary (all phones in Korea have one). The first English phrase for the entry she had searched was "coming and going". Well, that actually didn't make much sense when she tried to say it (in her very Korean accent that makes it impossible for Koreans to pronounce words they've never read before), so she showed me the screen and I read a little further "round trip". (btw, "round trip" is en-us, en-gb is "return".) I learned when using a bilingual dictionary is to translate back into my native language to ensure I get the right tense/sense to properly convy my message. More people need to, too...
선유도 Seonyudo is a quiet little island. There were various little seafood restaurants for tourists. There was a sandy beach, busy in summer. I had a nice day wandering around.
My real goal today was to see if the Yellow Sea was in fact yellow. Well, I can confirm there is a slight yellow hue around the horizon.
A beach boat on 선유도 Seonyudo
A look at 선유도 Seonyudo from a nearby island and one of the bridges connecting the islands together.