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Published: April 2nd 2007
Pavement fish vendors
It's either really fresh (still living) or dried. 1 guess what all of Mokpo smells like
We found a beach! WoW! Where to begin?!
Our journey started at 5:45am, to try and get as much time at the coast as possible, however, after missing not only one... and no, not 2 either, after missing THREE
busses (trying to decide which bus stop to wait at and which side of the road to be on, frik!), a subway trip, a sense of humour failure, and an Express Bus Terminal, we were settled into our final four and a half hour leg of the best and most beautiful trip we've had!
The "Excellence bus" made a stop 2 hours into the journey for a MUCH needed stretch your legs and restore your blood sugar break (I get really
cranky when I don't eat... ). I got a coconut doughnut roll with jam which turned out to be a breadcrumbed roll with tomato paste, equally delicious, and D got 4 mini steak pies which turned out to be fantastical cinnamon and syrup flap jacks! Equipped with an arm full of 'relationship saver' emergency food from the nearby convenience store, we were back on the road again.
The great thing about the bus is that you get to see
Everything a local Popeye could want
a lot of the scenery and how it changes over the provinces. We passed leafless forested hills, rice paddies, grassy mountains and wide open untouched plains. And then there was the strange... Like steps up a mountain that seem to start from the highway's edge and end in the middle of nowhere, and a massive elevator in the middle of nothing much really... It was fantastic
After arriving in Mokpo at about 14:30 we made a bee-line to the coast. It was really cold and the wind was in full force but we were by the sea again!
The first thing to catch our eye was the enormity of the harbour, with fishing boats, ferries, private ships and even rescue boats! The streets edging the harbour were all lined with stores for anything that you may possibly need for fishing, from nets stalls to hooks stalls and overalls and wellingtons and... actually... everything! And thats not to mention the catch of the day stalls with their fish, squid and rays all drying out or defrosting on the pavement. Mokpo is a fishing village through and through. It's wonderful!
We went to the ferry terminal to get an
idea of the prices and availability of a trip to one of the 1004-1700 islands around the peninsula. Unfortunatly every thing was closed but the tall building did give us a fantastic view of the city! We spotted a yeogwan
(a pay per room but you can put as many people into it as you like type set up) so we decided to make that our next stop.
We got to the room and luckily we arrived at the same time as a Korean business man because all we found was a notice and a phone number on the window. The business man whipped out his phone and in no time an ajuma
(old woman/aunty - polite in Korean custom) was spotted running up the street! We were taken to our $20 room.
The room was really cozy with a futon and double bed (shotgun the double bed), a television and a heater. However, the best part of the room was that there was a place we could leave everything except a few thousand Won (ooh that sounds like such a lot of money! ...but alas) and go and explore!
We walked around the harbour a bit
more and then moseyed our way to the tiniest beach I've ever seen! My grandad always says that when you're at the coast you must make sure you swim at least once everyday... but in what we guessed was about 6degree C wind, the "no swimming until 1 june" signs and our sense of self preservation we decided to compromise and as tough as it was we took off our shoes and socks and got ankle deep into the freezing South China Sea at Yudal beach (see the video link at the start). ...for you Grandpa! The up side of this of course, was that we couldn't feel our feet for the rest of the night, so in effect they became the warmest part of us!
After much debate, we settled on a restaurant called the "Jazz cafe et restuarant" for supper. Although it was really fantastic walking around and exploring the area, it was great to be out of the feezing wind, sit down and take in the view from our second storey window. We ordered something fish (pishie) and something pork off the menu, and two cocktails. (we actually spent about 15 min with our Lonely Planet
guidebook trying to figure out what everything was before our stomachs got the better of us and we asked the waitress.) And happy days, best surprise! The food was fantastic! It was a three course meal of wonderfulness! To top it all off, half way through the meal the mountain on one of the nerby islands lit up, with a row of coloured lights outlining it's peaks!
The feezing wind and the walk back to our Yoegwan after such a fantastically unusual day was all that lay ahead and was the best way to realise how lucky and blessed we are to be here!
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