One weekend later, my friend John and I, who I've kept in touch with over the months, decide to get out of Seoul for the weekend. What better way than to spend it on another island? We met on a biking trip last October, and always seem to need to get out of the city at the same time. Since we both had some free time, we decided to hop a ferry and get out to live the island life!
We made essentially no plans, which turned out to be interesting. We made it as far as the subway station, when we realized we had no idea how to get to the ferry wharf, and we had aboutttt 20 minutes before our ferry took off. Both being very linguistically challenged, we thought about ways we could communicate to a taxi driver how to get to the islands. We settled on 덕적도 배. Whichhhhh is essentiallly the name of the island, followed by 'boat.' We figured that would get us there. After much deliberation, we finally cleared it up with the driver and made it with about 5 minutes to spare. It was here we realized, we definitely should've made reservations, as almost all the ferries were sold out. The next cheapest one that left about an hour later was out to Ijakd-do. so we settled on that. We had an hour to kill, so we visited a local seafood restaurant, got some incredible crab sushi, though we had to take most of it to go, because it took awhile to make.
So finally we were off. We took about an hour and a half ferry out to this small island, which ended up being absolutely beautiful. We had a couple of beers on the way. The five o clock somewhere rule holds no weight in the ROK. If you're awake on a weekend, or generally any day that ends in 'y,' you should have a beer in your hand. I have become way to comfortable with it, and have had no problem adjusting.
So we met this great couple on the ferry from Paju, and ended up spending the entire weekend with them. John and I tent-camped, because it just made the most sense, and it was free, so there was little debate. By the time we finally rolled in, it was much later in the day, around 3pm, and we had no idea where to go. Soooo we started walking with our backpacks. Realizing the beach was a few kms away, and we were pretttty hot and annoyed with carrying our packs, we hitched across the island with some kind strangers. They went out of their way to drop us off at the beach we were going to, where we set up camp and got a few more beers for the day. The tide was way out, so we made our way out and jumped in the ocean. Debated about jumping a fishing boat out to the sandbar, but decided on relaxing on the beach instead.
Not soon after we realized that there was going to be little to no food available to us where we were. As we were backpacking, we had no real food packed. We then ran into this huge Korean family up near the pension (which is like a hostel) on the land near the beach. They offered us a seat around their electric grill, and served us up 삼겹살 and 비빔빞(which is basically pork belly - so fatty, and SO delicious, along with rice mixed with vegetables, tofu, meat, etc).
They gave us unlimited food, alcohol, and this well water ( I think). It literallly looked like brown water, completely dirty which is supposedly straight from the ground - it was the most incredible water I've ever tasted. It was almost sweet, and so they say, it's really good for you. Ill choose to believe that.
The rest of the night involved chilling around the fire, listening to the older women singing traditional songs, and passing around makgeolli (rice wine) and cigarettes. I don't smoke cigarettes, but the endless feeling of community in the islands of South Korea was pretty phenomenal. A night to remember for sure.
The next morning, we spent the day hanging out before our 1pm departure ferry back to the mainland. We packed up, until this man from the night before begged us to switch ferry times with him. There were four of us, and four of them, and so it wasn't really a problem, once we figured that much out. But he still insisted on paying us for doing him that favor, as we had to leave much later in the day. He gave us two crisp 50,000워 bills (about 92 USD ) and went on his way. So we got to spend an extra 2.5 hours on the island, soaking up the sun, and though we took the slow ferry back, it was an incredible weekend. It's things like this that you realize you miss out on living in America. And really - things you miss out on when you plan too much. It's worth it to fly by chance sometimes.