Every Monday morning from 820 to 9 am, I have to find ways to keep myself busy during the weekly teachers’ meeting; since I have to be there but don’t speak enough Korean to understand the finer details (ok, I don’t know enough to understand even the broader details). This particular morning, I was pretending to look extremely diligent…while really I was thinking back to the weekend trip I took to the Jindo Sea Parting & Green Tea Fields trip last year.
Despite the cold weather and cold I remember contracting, the trip itself had some wonderful highlights…even if, after 14+ hours of travel and a total of 12 hours of sleep over 3 days, I’m sure I was fully feeling the adage “I need a vacation from my vacation.”
Our weekend of no sleep and wiping camera lenses in hopes of getting pictures without rain drops started Friday night, when short Kat, Chanel and I went out for a friend’s one-of-many last dinners in Ulsan. As it so often happens here, dinner turned into drinks and drinks turned into falling into bed at 3:30 am for a 6:30 wake up call.
Despite the fact that neither other Kat nor I are very good morning people, we got our butts in gear – shower and all! – and played “walk, cab, train and subway” to get to our bus rendezvous point in Busan…with time left to grab a bread bowl of mushroom soup. It’s the small victories that make our days brighter (or, in our case, a little less hungover and morning grumpy). And thus began our 5.5 hour bus trip to Jindo. Lucky for us, our trip there was broken up by a beautiful, if rainy, stop at the Boseong Green Tea Fields (or, in Korean, 보성녹차밭 ).
There were 4 buses full of Waygooks on the trip, and we were all dying to stretch our legs and get some green tea ice cream, so you can imagine the mad rush when we finally got there. Armed with cameras, umbrellas and wellies, I’m sure we presented quite the sight. The families already there were, however, gracious enough not to be upset by the loud foreigners who undoubtedly crowded their professionally set-up camera shots, and created large queues at the gift shop and ice cream stand. Add in the steep climb up the side of the “mountain” the fields were perched on, and some badly thought-out footwear, and us Waygooks were a veritable slip and slide of messy hair, red faces, heavy breathing and a slight damp dog smell that clung to us the whole way home.
As much as we might have grumbled about the rain, it sure did make those fields great for photographs (and isn’t that what it’s all about? just kidding!) There were tulips everywhere, a pink cherry blossom tree (of which we took TONS of photos because, you know, first cherry tree in Korea), and endlessly rolling tea fields…amazing. Of course, the way back DOWN was interesting, mainly because it was SUPER muddy and, if you know me, you’ll know that I’m clumsier than a certain carrot-top from the Archie comics. I slipped a lot, short Kat rolled her eyes a lot; it was a good time. It was also awesome because the forested area reminded two pretty homesick Canadians (it’s us, if you didn’t figure that out) of home…and now that it’s almost a year later and I get to go home in 5 months I’m even happier remembering it!
Of course, no trip to the tea fields would have been complete without the requisite co-teacher gifts, green tea ice cream and a brand spanking new tea mug to add to what my girlfriends at university might have label a crazy tea-obsessed collection…no regrets. So, after all was said and done, and short Kat and I had repeatedly established our “last ones on the bus” routine, we made it back to our traditional, Korean hotel (which means mats on the floor) to catch some shut eye before the Jindo Sea Parting festival….the details of which will come in a later Throwback Thursday Tale.