It’s Monday. I’m glad the weekend is over. It was fun, but exhausting and I’m sure it will take me a few days to recover. All cause I decided that it was damned well time that I learned how to use the bus transportation in this town, to get OUT of this town for a day.
So I went to the bus stop, stared at the map blankly for a few minutes, gave up trying to read it and asked the lady for a ticket to Jinju. She said “No jinju” and pointed me to the other bus terminal a little farther south….the out-of-town bus terminal. I was at the intra-town bus terminal. Oh. I didn’t know there were two. So I headed there, asked for a ticket to Jinju, asked when the next bus would leave (all of this with the help of my cell phone translator program, of course)…and rightfully confused the answer. Thankfully, a young high school kid asked if I needed help, and he clarified that the bus would come in 5 minutes. I got the ticket (A grand total of 6400 won – $5.75) and he pointed me to the correct point where the bus would arrive, and then when the bus pulled up – pointed out that the bus had “Hamyang – Jinju” right in the window. Oh. Cool! I am now glad that I can read, albeit very slowly, the Korean language.
Got on the bus with a few other people, we set off for Jinju, and I pointed my phone at the window, taking video and watching the beautiful mountains and streams fly by. Till I got carsick, that is. Kept my phone pointed at the window, closed my eyes, laid back, and told my stomach to calm the hell down. I shouldn’t have had those Pringles for breakfast.
Upon arriving in Jinju, I promptly sat my butt down and let my stomach calm for about 10 minutes, until I was able to get something substantial in my stomach. Oh look, a Lotteria right across the street from the terminal! Perfect! I go in, enjoy some fries, coke, and a chicken sandwich (Warning: Chicken here is eaten with skin on. I find it not all that great usually, but knew a burger wouldn’t have gone down quite as well).
…30 minutes later, I was lost in Jinju. Destination: Nowhere in particular. I walked around, then when I got tired, I asked a cabbie for directions to Emart. He pointed me down a street and I took off walking again, stopping at a Galleria. It was like being back in St. Louis for a few minutes. It was 8 levels tall, and only the size of a small K-mart in width/length. It was just as upscale, but nowhere near as nice looking (though they tried). After walking up and down the Galleria, I asked for directions to Emart again, and started down a whole different street. 15 minutes later, I was there. I walked in, expecting to see a Walmart (non-suspersize) or something. Gosh was I disappointed. It wasn’t even quite the size of a Kohl’s on the first level. There was two levels at least, but the second one – same size. That was it. THIS IS A BIG STORE HERE?!
Wanted: Friend to take video of a Walmart Supersize, a Lowe’s, and a Shop n Save or Dierbergs. (Look on facebook for more details). I can’t wait to show these people what big really means. I have a feeling the adults will be just as shocked.
After buying a few things at E-mart (Like chocolate syrup and vinegrette dressing), I left and then decided to go up the hill towards a interesting looking wall. Following it, I found out it was a open air memorial museum type place, and it was close to the main river running through Jinju. It was gorgeous, and I walked it for a little while, hanging out in the beautiful grounds overlooking the river. It was quiet, no cars or noise. It was a nice place to rest after walking so much.
Upon leaving, I pretty much just caught a cab and went back to the bus station, and headed home. The nice thing is? It started raining the moment I got on the bus. The bad part? Walking home in the rain, without a umbrella. I left for Jinju before it was even cloudy, so I didn’t know to bring one. Oh well, rain doesn’t hurt.
Next day – I went with a friend to her friend’s house. Her friends and her are Nepalese, NOT Korean (Although some are married to Koreans). I enjoyed playing with their four adorable little girls under the age of 4, speaking the little Korean to them that I knew, and drinking Chai tea (Something I missed sorely here, there is no Chai in this area of my country). They taught me how to make Chai, which is pretty easy, and I’m picking up some Chai leaves from my friend later this week. They made Nepalese food, which was BETTER THAN KOREAN but just about as spicy (hot) – although I could definitely taste the flavor more than I can with Korean food.
Side Note: Koreans don’t know how to make food spicy without ruining food. Simply put. They drown the food in red chili pepper sauce and serve it – that is all. I swear, someone needs to send a bunch of rural Korean cooks to France, or hell, even Mexico, to learn how to cook properly, with or without spice. The flavors get completely covered with red pepper and ruin the meal.
That about wraps up my weekend. It was a mess and a lot of walking, but fun. I think I’ll head back to Jinju in a few weeks, stop by a restaurant that isn’t in Hamyang, and head to LotteMart next. I have high hopes for that store, also considered large by Korean standards.