Saturday, September 7, 2013

Gyeongpo

Today I went to the Gyeongpo and visited the pavilion (Gyeongpodae) and the beach (Gyeongpohaebyeon).  I flagged down my first taxi ever (wow, totally showing my suburban roots) and took it to the beach.  I actually wanted to go to the pavilion itself, but I think 1) the taxi drivers are used to foreigners asking for the beach so they just go there, and 2) I think he may have asked if the beach was fine and I may have said yes.  I really need to work on my listening comprehension (and just Korean in general).  


At the beach, I wandered a little bit and then started heading towards the pavilion (took a picture on my phone so I had some maps with me).  As I was walking, a girl came up alongside me and said, "Hello!  Where are you from?"  Turns out she studied abroad in America for 3.5 years and then in South Africa for about a year before returning to Gangneung which is where her parents work (she's actually originally from Seoul).  She wants to be a nurse and is in the process of applying to university.  We exchanged Kakao Talk IDs so hopefully we'll be able to hang out some.  She lives right by Gyeongpoho Lake which has a little island called the "Rock of Birds" because migratory birds would visit it and rest.  The information plaque said that Uam Song Siyeol wrote Joam (Rock of Birds) during King Sukjong's reign.
Can you see the little pavilion on the rocks?
The lake was surrounding by a walking path with little decks that went out over the water.  There was also a bike/pedaling cart path that many families/couples were traveling.  One grandpa and his grandson pedaled by (well, the grandpa was pedaling) and he said, "안녕하세요! (Hello!)" and then his grandson saw me and turned around, calling out "Hello!" in an adorable voice.  One of my daily goals is to say 안녕하세요 and I think I may have ended up saying it and/or nodding to a dozen people today.

There were flowers blooming in many places...


Water fountains of interesting designs...


Psy's face on a billboard...


Benches covered in mosaic tiles, depicting fish, the pavilion on the lake, flowers...


Butterflies frolicking along the water's edge...

Do you see them?  There are butterflies all over this city!
Fake trees which are actually blossoms with Christmas lights inside of them (can't wait for winter time!)...


And a series of statues along the edge depicting a love story.


The actual pavilion itself was pretty small, but the surrounding area and view over the lake was great.  Gyeongpodae is actually famous for the view of the moon on the 15th day of the first lunar month.  The saying goes that one can see the moon five times at Gyeongpodae: once in the sky, once reflected in the lake, once reflected in the see, once reflected in a drinking glass, and once in the eyes of a lover.









When we were there, there were couples wandering about, Korean tour buses letting out their passengers, and a group of old people having a picnic on the steps just down from the pavilion.  There was also a group of kids reciting something inside the actual pavilion itself.  Not quite sure what it was...

After Gyeongpodae it was a short walk back to the beach where I grabbed this beauty from a street food cart:


It's basically a hash brown-covered bread-covered hot dog on a chopstick.  There were many other corn dog look-a-likes at the food stand.  I really should learn how to say "Can I take a picture?" so that you guys can see the tantalizing spread these vendors put out.

The weather was perfect for a day at the beach so there were tons of people laying down, strolling along, and getting rides in the horse-drawn carriages.



A walk down the beach led to Gangmungyo Bridge where we watched a boat of scuba divers head out for a swim...



And just on the other side of the bridge was Cafe Paul & Mary, the first of many places that sells coffee along this corridor...



I ordered a mint chocolate frappuccino and a Hawaiian burger (the beef tasted... different, but still: beef!).  Yes, they serve coffee, burgers, and beer.  And you can get all of it as take-out.


The frappuccino was fantabulous!  I would definitely get it again and I will be going back. 


While we got take-out so I can't write about the experience of eating at the Cafe, I cannot begin to describe how messy this burger was.  It was about 2.5 times the size of my mouth and had so many onions on it.  About four bites in, I gave up and literally just took it apart and ate it with my fingers.  There was absolutely nothing that could be done.

I walked back from Rudy's place (new adventure!) and even took a detour on my route home once I had crossed south of the river into familiar territory.  I ended up walking down a road that ran right next to my school.  The houses were very beautiful, some of them set up on top of hills, covered in growing things.  I even saw a house with pumpkins on its roof; pumpkins!  I didn't want to be creepy taking pictures of people's houses (there was an old Korean couple behind me), but I did snag a shot of this pretty gated door:


I'll try to return on another day and hopefully be able to grab some shots without seeming like the weird foreigner (though it may be too late for that).

This picture is for you dad!  Chevrolet in downtown Gangneung.





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