On Tuesday morning Mr. Choi and the other students picked us up at the hotel. We went to E-Mart to buy groceries for our over night stay at the cottage we rented for the night. E-Mart is something to compare to Wal-Mart. It is 3 stories. The basement is the sporting goods and other outdoor activities department. The main floor is groceries and some clothes. The 3rd floor has stuff like office supplies and other home ware type things. The quality of everything looked very nice. It reminded me of Belks. The home ware department reminded me of Target or Pier 1 because of the colors and style of things.
We bought a lot of groceries. Beef, lettuce, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, watermelon, rice, noodles and mushrooms were all on the list. We got to pick out snacks and candy on the candy isle too. Along with the food and snacks we got coke, sprite and water, that was labeled DMZ Water… I questioned the safety. But it was good.
There was a food court in the E-Mart. It had McDonalds, Pop-Eyes and other names that were Korean style. We dined at a Chinese place. It was not my favorite, but still a very nice meal. After finishing lunch we went to the parking deck, which was on the top floor. Escalators carried us to different floors in the store. With all the food be got and our bags for the overnight trip it was very crowded in the van. I got lucky and had to ride in the very back with all of the bags and food. The ride to the island was a little over an hour and very bumpy roads but we did get to see some more rural areas. On the drive I asked where they get oil from here. They said the Middle East. We also asked how much gas is here after calculating it we think it is around $7 per gallon. So we cannot complain in the US.
We finally arrived at the house. It was a cute 2 bedroom cottage. It reminded me of the house I stayed in in Mure-Cho, Japan. After getting all of the food in we changed clothes and took a 5 minute drive to a beach area. I can now say I have been to the Yellow Sea. It was very cold water so we just put our feet in and sat on the sand and socialized. The group stayed there for a little while and then we drove about 10 minutes to another beach area. This water seemed even colder. There were people on this beach taking naps and fishing. I saw a few strange looking trees so I asked Mr. Choi what kind they were, he responded with “green trees” and laughed. Earlier in the week at the seafood meal he asked me what kind of shells were on the table (4 different kinds) I told him seashell for all. So this has been a joke for the week.
After time on the beach we went back to our cottage to the pool. Once again this water was too cold for my liking so I just sat on the edge. Lane was the only one of us to get in. Wansai, EunJi and JiAhn all got in. Mr. Choi joined along too. The group finally decided the water was too cold and we went back to the cottage. Dinner was grilled on charcoal type grills. We sat outside on the screened in porch area while the men cooked for the ladies. We had traditional Korean barbeque. They grilled the beef and veggies. To eat the meal you take a piece of lettuce and put a small piece off beef on it and then add kimchi and kimchi sauce and roll it up and put the whole thing in your mouth. It can be a bit messy but it was delicious.
Through out the meal we all went around the table talked about our life and what we want to do with it. And why we wanted to come to Korea. Mr. Choi asked some deep questions like what was the hardest time in our life. I felt like I was either at an interview or on stage at a pageant. I also explained what a sorority was and went through the history of ZTA.
I expressed my feeling about how sad it is that America is considered the melting pot of the world because it has many different types of cultures. But yet many Americans never leave our borders to explore another part of the world. And learn what other cultures are really like. Traveling only makes you smarter, but it seems that Americans are closed minded when it comes to accepting people that are not like them. It was then time for me to ask my famous question. “Is the granite in Korea?” The Lander students started laughing. I told them I was talking business. I learned there is granite on an island off the southern coast. It is very red in color. My Dad may want to look into buying Korean granite now, especially if I take well to the Korean language.
I learned that Mr. Choi used to write the news for TV stations. I was fascinated during this conversation. The hard hours were getting to him and being away from family so he then got into the international program at the university because his English was so well. After listening to music and talking more we turned in for the night. Our beds were mats on the floor like I had in Japan. I slept rather well.
We woke up to pouring down rain. We were sadly informed the DMZ tour was cancelled because of the heavy rain. For breakfast we had bacon, eggs, and fruit, all very good. After we all helped in cleaning up the kitchen we packed our bags and left. The ride back was not fun, I was very sleepy, still sitting with all of the bags and the road was bumpy.
Because the tour was cancelled we decided to go see a movie. We saw Transformers 3 in 3-D. I’m not an action movie person but the movie was fun to watch because of the 3-D and other features. At least I can say I saw he movie in Korea. After catching a taxi back to the hotel, which only cost about $5.50, we checked back into the hotel and had dinner in the hotel restaurant.
As I right this I am watching Korea’s Got Talent and enjoying the view from our room. We are across from the tallest building in Korea. I counted 75 floors, but that may be slightly off. Because of the economy the building is not complete, but will hold different business offices when it is finished.