Monday, April 26, 2010

short weekend trip down south - Geoje Island &Tongyong (March 19~21)

It was a long drive but fortunately the traffic wasn't that bad. We left early Friday morning of March 19th and spent 3days and 2 nights and came back home. Our first stop was Geoje Island, a not so big of an island famous for its natural harbors and shipyards, is located on the southern coast of Gyeongsangnamdo province. There were lots of things to see like the P.O.W camp museum, Windy Hill, former President Kim Yong Sam's hometown, Oedo(island) and lots more.. had this whole thing planned out.. however, we only made it to the P.O.W. museum because of the bad weather. It was drizzling, windy, and cold. Hence, the boat ride to Oedo was out of the question because on a really windy day or bad weather the ship doestn't sail. Now, the interesting site I have to point out and tell you is when we got there it was around 6 and I guess all the men and women working at the shipyard were punching out for the day.. so when I saw a sea of people on motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles flooding out to the streets.. well, what a site! It reminded me of the scene that I saw on TV where there are flood of bike riders commuting on the streets of China or Vietnam. It was ver interesting and my mother, sister and myself included we were all laughing and giggling with delight. (No, we weren't laughing at them we'd never do that.. it just was a thrilling scenery to witness, that's all)

Complimentary of my mother's friend who lives and runs a tourist office and accomodations we were able to stay at a pretty nice motel and settle in for the night after we had a full meal of raw seafood.

The next day, we called the dock and asked if the boat was running but we were told 'no' because of the weather. So, we decided to go to the P.O.W museum and while mother stayed in the car with our dog (she didn't come with us because she already had a tour of the place) we went around the place. There were some interesting things we saw and some part of the history of Korea that I didn't know about. My sister and I thought the did a great job in creating the park/museum and on a better day it would have been a much better tour.
After the tour of P.O.W we were planning to go to the Windy Hill, but since it was TOO windy we decided to just head out to Tongyong and meet up with a distant relative, a very distant aunt, whom I saw for the very first time. It was really nice meeting her and getting to know her even though it was for a short while. I really like meeting distant realtives because I don't really see myself as a Korean and being connected.. meeting relatives kind of gives me proof of that I am in deed and it also gives me a detailed description and explanation into our family tree and who's who and whatnot.. Plus, my dad's side of the family, though there are 4 brothers and a sister, they never have been close and they never will be. And I don't really think I'll see much of them since my dad passed. I mean they didn't really care before so why care when he isn't even around right? Anyways, enough of the Ko family history.. 

So, off we went to the bus termial in Tongyong and met our aunt(she came from Busan to visit Tongyong) and headed to another relatives house in Tongyong. We had great time chatting about families who's related to who and how and we got a better idea of things. It was weird because I felt really comfortable with them as if we've known each other for some time and kept in touch all these years even though it was my first time and my sister's to meet them. (My mom had seen them at ther wedding and couple of times afterwards so it's been a long time for her as well.) It was totally different from meeting my dad's brothers' families.. I'm always ill at ease with them. I'm not being prejudiced here nor do I have any feelings of hatred(no, that's not 100% true). But, I've always felt they were more distant than neighbors or even strangers.. Ok, I'm going to stop.. not a good thing to express all these negative on my blog..
... back to Tongyong, our uncle(my paternal grandmother's sister's son) took us for a drive around the little town of Tongyong and gave us an brief tour after lunch. Again, since the weather was too windy the cable car was not in operation so had to skip that and just be satisfied by driving by and hope for better weather tomorrow. They had just kicked off Tongyong Oyster Festival so we made a trip to the festival grounds within a university and had a taste of delicious oyster and our uncle bought us a box to take home. We also visited a really nice private resort and was mesmerized by it.. wanting to visit sometime in the future.. however, it's members only so not very likely to happen. We had dinner at a restaurant run by another relative of ours then turned oursleves in for the night. The next morning my sister and I went up on the cable car since the weather had cleared up while my mother went with our aunts and uncle to attend mass at their beautiful catholic church. After we came down from the mountain which was wonderful we said our good-byes and parted our ways. My mom, sister, and I took turns driving home.. and arrived save and sound.
I've posted all the pictures so you can view them on this HERE ;)

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