It’s nearing 3 a.m. here in Busan, and my bags, books, and beach mat are almost fully packed. Five months after landing in Korea, and immediately embarking on a full-time, Monday-Friday gig teaching short-vowel sounds to tykes– the week-long summer vacay has arrived. About a month ago I splurged on The Rough Guide to Korea (I highly recommend) and have enjoyed every second getting lost in its maps, descriptions, and region-by-region highlights. In the end, deciding how best to spend eight days cruising around the country wasn’t hard–I’m an island girl at heart.
This is a pretty ancient map of Jeju-do, Korea’s biggest island, jutting out of the South Sea and apparently created around two million years back through a burst of volcanic eruptions. From Busan it’s an 11-hour boat ride, or 50 minutes by plane. After landing there tomorrow afternoon (thank you, cheap flight found on Expedia), I’ll be bussing to a town on the East Coast called Seongsan. I’ve got a mat in a minbak reserved for the night, close to the edge of a caldera called Ilchulbong, which I plan to climb on a sunrise hike the following morning, kicking off what I’ve decided is a nature-themed trip.
After four days on Jeju, a morning ferry will float me to a smaller West Sea Island connected to the coast called Wando. I plan to spend a couple days and nights chilling out there as well as on a smaller, nearby island called Bogildo which I’ve read is filled with pine trees. Then it’s off on a few more busses through the South West province of Jeolla to Daehan-dawon–a green tea plantation sprawling between a town called Boseong and another called Yulpo.
The rest of the Busan crew are also jetting off a few hours from now: Leah’s flying solo to Japan, while Ashley and Jason, Bryan and Dianna are missioning to China for some Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, and Shanghai massage. A major group reconvene will occur upon return; I figure the six of us will have a few stories to tell!
See you in a week, everybody…