Cherry Blossom festival: Jinhae, Gyeongnamsam-do
Journey: Gimhae to Jinhae
Koreans and weather are like Danny and Sandy, salt and pepper, fish and chips, they go together! So sure enough when I heard the words rain and Saturday bandied around on the forecast front, it was an unfortunate ‘near cert’ a damp weekend lay ahead.
Saturday arrived and from the roof, arose such a clatter, not the arrival of an overweight man in a red suit, but the correctly forecasted splatters of satisfied clouds emptying their watery load. In keeping with my weeks idiomatic lesson theme, it was raining cats and dogs. But rain or no rain, soggy Korea or no soggy Korea, I was determined to cherish those moist blossoms!
As with most journeys, pretty much outside of walking distance, it required planning and requesting korean knowledge from my lovely, wonderful Korean superhero co-teacher, Kyeongseon. (A korean blossom constantly in full bloom!)
So keeping post-it notes in business, Miyun (the Geography teacher) and Changmi (an English teacher) stocked me up with helpful yellow sticky paper, alongside a printed map to keep me on the long and winding road to successful korean travel!
And success I managed to accomplish! My journey began with a short taxi ride, again, with the aid of a previously produced and repeatedly used Kyeongseon written post-it, noting ‘please take me to the bus terminal’ a la Hangul (the korean alphabet). Followed by a ticket purchase and a few successful steps in the right direction, I made it onto the stairs of the correct bus! I checked with the driver and his nod of agreement sent off a ‘ding ding ding’ accomplishment sound in my head! (Post-it note power!) Almost forgetting, post-it numero sam (3), my destination bus stop request. Again I disturbed the driver. He acknowleged post-it 3 and joined in on the ‘help the foreigner act!’
The dribbles of window rain painted a glum picture of the view outside so I abandoned the view for my never-ending quest to complete Bram Stoker’s Dracula and kept my nose in my kindle until the bus came to a halt. I heard some korean blurted down the bus, of which I understood none, but no passengers were disembarking and we remained stationary so I made the assumption it translated to ‘Waygook, you’re here!’ So hesitantly I moved forward and interpreted his hand-shooing motion, issued with the usual impatient temperament of korean bus drivers, as a ‘get off now.’
I accepted the shooing, shooed myself off the nearly re-started vehicle, kamsamnida-ed (thank(you)-ed) him for his help and continued on with post-it 4.With some misnavigation and further friendly korean aid I made it to my second stop and again navigated my second bus to success! Soggy blooms, I’m a-coming!
The sky was grey but the post-its were the colour of sunshine, much like the thoughts in my mind, after a lovely morning of kind help from koreans.
The whole reason for such a journey, and even the inspiration for this entire blog, was finally achieved. I arrived at Jinhae’s annual cherry blossom festival! Greeted by two lovely soggy ladies, Kate and Kendyl!
Much like my experience with Korea, the blossoms had bloomed prematurely this year. And a combination of heavy downpours and nature’s eager spirit had dampened the exquisite sight they usually express. Therefore one should not take these photos as a true representation of their beauty! But just an alternative, soggier blossom sight. Please see my (soon to be written) post on the Jangsan jaunt for further photos of them in fuller, dry bloom!
The day proceeded with delicious Korean street-food, not for the health-conscious; deep fried hotdogs decorated in sparsely sprinkled chips followed by waffles flavoured with fresh cream and strawberry sauce, washed down with some zestfully delicious hot lemonade. We also tried our hand at a korean bingo game! Unsuccessful but still taking away a small consolation prize, Kendyl, Brennand (a later in the day joinee)and I were happy participants, but showed up by pro-bingo winning Kate, earning her prize of a giant sugary horse!
We continued to peruse the stalls, stopping for a sample and photo opportunity, but not purchase, of the deliciously smelling octopus tentacles!
This was before working off the waffles and climbing the 267 steps to the top of Jinhae tower, greeted by a spectacular view of Gyeongnam by the sea! After my daily doses of Gimhae’s metallically lined streets, this was a real breath of fresh air!
It sure was a lovely day of blossom-cherishing! Thank you Kate, Kendyl and Brennand!
As I am behind with this blog, the blossoms have mostly fallen, but spring has accepted its invitation to join us for the succeeding few months, so please continue to join me as I slowly introduce my journey!