Shout out to the home land … hope all is well!
This past weekend I was able to experience Jindo – the parting of the sea. It was a very long day, but definitely worth it! To begin this post – for a little Korean history please read…
The legend of Jindo Sea Parting:
Legend says that Grandma Ppong made the parting of the sea parting possible, just like Moses 3,000 years ago. The legend states that a long time ago, the people of Jindo Island were frequently attacked and killed by tigers, so they took a raft and moved to the nearby Modo Island. However, an elderly woman named Grandma Ppong was accidentally left behind. The old lady longed to be reunited with her family and prayed for help night and day to the Dragon King of the Sea. Then, one night, the Dragon King appeared to her in a dream and told her to cross the sea by walking on the rainbow that he will provide for her. When she awoke the next morning, she ran to the sea and a rainbow-shaped opening appeared in the water between Hoedong-ri and Modo-ri. The people of Jindo Island still perform an annual ritual dubbed the Yongdung Festival for the Dragon King in remembrance of the sea-parting miracle and Grandma Ppong.
To get to Jindo I had to endure a 5 hour + bus ride … which meant a very early start to the day! My Sunday morning started at 5 AM … catching the bus at 6:30 AM. Along the way we stopped off at numerous rest stops as well as stopping for lunch at a village famous for it’s Bamboo. At the first rest station we stopped at I experienced my first Korean riot in the women’s washroom – which was jam packed. It was intense. There is no such thing as lining up in a single file line and waiting your turn – instead, you push and shove your way through the hundreds of people and assume a position outside a single stall. Each stall has it’s own line – and you better have your hand on that door or someone will sneak right in between you and the door and take your place. It was literally shoulder to shoulder pushing, shoving and yelling … which I simply watched in amazement and laughed hysterically at. The Koreans ladies’ appreciated the fact that I found humor in this chaotic event … but I certainly did my fair share of pushing and shoving. Although, after the ordeal of just getting into the stall, I was almost too scared to leave it. But I put on a brave face and pushed my way back out. It was very interesting to say the least. The only downfall – this took up my entire break at the rest stop so I had to quickly make my way back to the bus. Definitely an experience I won’t forget any time soon.
At the Bamboo farm I traveled around the bamboo fields/paths for a bit, and then ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. This place served the most side dishes I’ve ever seen in Korea. It was unlimited amounts of sides and the rice was served in Bamboo bowls which made it fun! haha We spent a couple hours in this village – mainly browsing the nearby Bamboo gift shops, and then it was back on the bus destined for Jindo. We arrived in Jindo at 3 PM Sunday afternoon, with the sea parting expected to take place at 5 PM. There was no shortage of entertainment to pass the time. The streets were littered with food vendors and dancers, as well as many Korean “Cultural Experience” tents … there were also cages that held the infamous Jindo dogs … which are so adorable. I really really wanted one! But rather than blowing 300,000 won on a puppy, I purchased my pair of thigh-high rubber socks/boots for 5000 won and managed to find a seat by the sea to witness the spectacle.
At approximately 4:45 PM I could see the current start shifting and small wakes made where the sea road would emerge. In the meantime, Koreans were taking advantage of the low tide as they spent most of the time collecting fresh sea weed and any sea creatures they could find. At 5 PM the first of the travelers started to make their way across the sea road. It was quite the sight to see as hundreds of colorful boots made their way across the middle of the sea. I soon joined in on the fun and made it about 3/4’s of the way across the sea before turning back (in fear of missing my bus home!). Along the road it was quite exhilerating as at the half way point, I turned back to see how far I really was. It was pretty cool to be standing out in the middle of the sea! I also found numerous star fish that became the star of many of my photos. I brought some home with me but by the time I arrived home they were already starting to smell and I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to deal with them until Tuesday, so I threw them away … sadly. I turned back and made my way back to the start of the road and on the return walk I definitely could see the current coming back in some places. I managed to make it safely to shore and made it back on my bus for our 6:30 PM departure home.
The bus arrived at our arrival point around 11:30 PM and I was home and in bed by 12 midnight. It was a long day, but I managed to get some sleep on the bus so today is not a write off.
Tonight the teachers from my school are taking me out for my birthday dinner and then back to my apartment for some dessert. I’m sure it will be a good time!
I hope all is well at home. Miss and love you all. xoxoxo