Sea Parting Festival, Jindo

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April 7th 2012
Published: May 21st 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Sat 7th: Up far too early for the weekend, 5 am, I would usually just be going to bed now. Made it in to Seoul by 6:30 and met the other lasses at the subway station. Our bus was leaving for Jindo at 7:20, so we decided to get some breakfast. After loitering outside Dunkin' Donuts, waiting for it to open at 7, the woman them proceeded to mess up our order and we nearly missed the bus. The drive to Jindo was long, approx. 6 hours, and uneventful. We stopped in Mokpo for lunch, Dolseot Bibimbap, yummy, and to stock up on booze and snacks for that evening and the next day.

When we arrived at the festival, our hostel was located there too. The hostel wasn't too hot. We failed to secure a room for the six of us, and ended up in a 20 person dorm room, not cool. After dumping our stuff and claiming a spot on the floor we headed to the festival.

Jindo is an island off the southwestern coast of the Korean peninsula. It is Korea's third largest island and is joined to the mainland by Korea's longest suspension bridge. Jindo is famous for Jindo dogs, the Sea Parting festival, and the Battle of Myeongnyang, in which Admial Yi Sun-sin defeated the Japanese in 1597. History lesson over.

We wandered over to the beach and bought the wellies we need to cross the water when it parted. These wellies weren't like normal wellies, but more like leggings, weggings? Mine were horrifically tight, as they were no doubt made for skinny Korean pins, not my western meaty stumps. Wellies on, we went and bought tickets, so we could enter the festival area proper and take part in the sea parting walk. The area was heaving, typical of Korean festivals. There was a drumming band playing traditional music and people were joining in and dancing. We found the place the walk was starting from. It goes from the main Jindo island to a smaller island Modo, which is almost 3 kilometres away. The water only parts like this for one weekend a year, I think. On each island there is a drumming band with bigger banners that lead the procession. They meet in the middle and sing to each other. The walk along was pretty good, felt like I was walking on water in some parts, in other parts it was still quite deep. We gave up just over halfway, as you have to go at quite a speed to make it to the other side and back before the tide comes back in. It was quite funny as they had a bloke dressed up as Moses to accompany the band from Jindo to Modo. Also all the adjosshis and adjumas were picking cockles in the low tide. Obviously I am far too mature to make any Morecambe Bay jokes.

After crossing the sea and the trauma of getting my wellies off. I thought I might of needed them surgically removed. We all needed to be fed and watered, so we went in search of some food. We got some traditional Korean snacks and some makgeolli (rice wine). Best part was that the makgeolli was free as our festival tickets were worth ther same value in free food and drink at the food stalls lining the road. Later we joined the organiser of our trip for the BBQ dinner that was included in our trip. However the dinner was disgusting and we ended up using the rest of our vouchers to buy seafood pancakes, which we enjoyed with our beers.

Sun 8th: It was an early start the next morning as we had a lot to cram in today before our return to Seoul. After a medicore breakfast, burnt sausage, plastic cheese, and a slice of bread we boarded the bgus and headed to our first stop, a place where they breed Jindo dogs, think it is called the Jindo Dog Research and Testing Centre. Jindo dogs are medium sized hunting dogs and known for their loyalty, attachment to home and their hunting abilities. Apparently some were send to America last years and were trialed as police dogs for the LAPD, however they were unsuccessful as they are not team players. They are seen as a cultural legacy and were even protected during the war. When we got to the centre, they put a load of puppies into a play area and let them run around, and we got to hold a fewand take sopme photos. So wanted to take one home. Then we watched a fully grown dog do some tricks with its master. It was really clever and did loads of things, like raising a flag, jumping through hoops, and even getting a beer from the fridge. That's my kind of dog!

Our next stop was to do a coastal walk around part of the island. There were a few different options, depending on how much walking you felt like doing. We walked for about an hour and a half, maybe a bit less. The weather was beautiful and we got a little sunburnt. The views on the walk were amazing ans we could see the beautiful coastline, which was empty not another person apart from our group in sight, and we could see for miles into the sea. We also got to chill on the beach for a bit, which was nice and dip our toes in the sea, bloody freezing!

Our final stop was at a culturtal centre, where we got to witness some performers singing tradtional songs and doing traditional dances. It was really interesting to watch. It was all older people performing, I hope that these traditions are being passed down to the younger generations. They performed about five different songs and dances, including traditional farmers songs, lots of drumming, and a bridal dance. After a quick lunch of kimbap, we were back on the coach for our six hour journey back to Seoul. We were lucky to get off closer to where we lived and because it was Easter we went for a curry and some beers to finish off our weekend.

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