So before I get started into my blog about my time in Jeonju let me tell you a story about how I first met Anna. It was after a very drunken night out in Nottingham, I think I was with Ryan Fitzpatrick a former work colleague and friend. We decided we were hungry so went to Greggs. Now Anna was a uni student in Nottingham, and worked at Greggs at weekends on the night shifts. So Anna was working this particular night when I stumbled into Greggs and I instantly took a shine to her, so being a bit drunk and a bit more confident than usual I started talking to her. Then I challenged her to a game of rock, paper, scissors. The stakes if I won I got her number, if she won she got mine. She won. I left thinking I would never here from her again but to my surprise a few days later when I was on one of my Dad's Blue Pigeon Trips I received a message from her. We text and talked a fair bit, but only managed to meet each other randomly on a few occasions, at an Ice Hockey game and most notably me stumbling into Greggs after a night out and we became good friends. So when she said she was going to teach in Korea I said I would try and visit. And as I like to be a man of my word I did.
So to continue my story from the last blog we woke up after a great night out and Raymond sorted me a bus to Jeonju. We got ready had some breakfast and before you knew it, it was time to leave. We made our way t the bus station but due to traffic we missed the bus by a mere 3 minutes. Luckily though Raymond managed to sweet talk the cashier and exchange the ticket for the next bus. I bided my little Korean friend a fond farewell, had a Burger King and then bordered the bus. Three hours later and a few chapters of 50 Shades of Grey later and I was in Jeonju. I met Anna and we dropped my bags off at her flat. We then went out and grabbed some food, where I tried Bibimbap, which Raymond had highly recommended me to have whilst I was in Jeonju. We were met then by her friend, an American chap by the name of Chris and we headed out for a few beers. Firstly to a brilliant self-serve bar and then to a bar called Woops. On our way back I got to see some of Jeonju's strange delicacy's as Anna tried a sweetcorn ice cream. It looked like Sweetcorn and even had sweetcorn bits in.
We woke up the next day and met two of Anna's friends Josie who was from England and Becky who was originally from England but had emigrated to New Zealand with her family quite some time ago. We headed up to Geumsansa temple. It was a nice temple in a lovely area. We then made our way to Gimje to meet another friend of Anna's. An American girl called Rosanna, I think. We grabbed a quick drink and then headed to a restaurant where we ate some Shabu Shabu. We had to sit down crossed legged and I immediately thought of my good friend Adam Frith and how he would cope as he cannot sit crossed legged despite his best efforts. The food was very nice. Despite me feeling like a 4-year-old as people were having to help me due to my very poor skills with chopsticks. It is something I definitely need to work on. We then took the bus back to Jeonju had an hour in the local Internet Café before heading to be ready for the next day's adventures.
So the next day the first job on the agenda was to get some food. So we made our way to get some Dakgalbi, which is basically Chicken, cheese and a spicy tomato sauce, all the makings of a great dish I thought. I wasn't disappointed it was delicious. We then made our way to Hanok Village which is a traditional Korean village, it was very nice but there wasn't much there despite a few café's. We then made our way to a little village across the bridge which had many graffiti and wall paintings, some were very impressive. We made our way back to Hanok Village where we tried to find a 600 year old tree with no success and then caught up with another one of Anna's friends, an Aussie lad called Chris for a drink before heading to Jeonju zoo. Now if you are a keen reader of this blog or you know me, you will know I love a good zoo so I was pretty excited to see what this Korean zoo had in store for me, despite Anna's claims that it was very poor I just put it down to her being dramatic but she was right. It was shocking. It was the worse zoo I have ever been too. Yeah it may have only been 50p to get in but the enclosures were tiny and claustrophobic and the animals looked like they hadn't been fed in weeks. One baby horse was even covered in some sort of purple substance that looked like paint, and a zebra was losing its black and white stripes and turning brown. It was horrendous, but we made the most of it and still managed to make the most of a bad situation and had a laugh. Anna thought a donkey had 5 legs, it was just very excited. The hippo's were in good form and the house where the aquarium was situated was an impressive building designed as a snorkel mask. Unfortunately, I think they should have used more of the budget on bigger enclosures rather than the snorkel hut as impressive as it was. We then made our exit and headed to a reptile café. Yeah you read right a reptile café. You sit and have a tea or coffee or whatever drink you want while being surrounded by snakes and lizards. In Korea they also have dog, cat and even sheep café's. It is mental. We faced more disappointment though when we arrived and found that the café was closed, so we made our way back to Anna's flat to make plans for the week. We couldn't decide what to do, we had a few ideas such as making cheese at Imsil, visiting Namwon, Guwjon, or go watch a film at the IMAX. So we decided the best way to decide was to draw what we would do out of the hat. We pulled out cheese making at Imsil. We opted against this as we thought Imsil cheese would be not a patch on English cheese so went against the hat and decided to go to Mount Maison instead where there was the Tap-sa Temple. We also made plans to head to Seoul at the end of the week and see the Toilet Museum, Seoul Zoo and maybe go to the trick eye museum. We ended the night meeting Chris and Chris for food to round off another busy day in Korea.
The next day we woke up unaware of the dramatic and funny events that were ahead of us. We headed to Mount Maison to see the Tap-sa temple but due to no direct buses we had to make our way to Jinan first. Jinan when pronounced in Korean sounds like your nan, which is quite appropriate as the ton is full, I mean jam packed with old people. We had an hour wait until our next bus so we decided to explore Jinan, there wasn't much. We walked up some stairs expecting to find a good view, but all we got was a crop field so we headed back to the station where we did a spot of people watching. One old guy had a go one of those kid's machines where you grab a cuddly toy with one of them claws, he won an electric fly squatter. Not sure what that was doing with the soft toys but he was well chuffed with it and that is how random Korea is. Always expect the unexpected. So the time for the bus came and passed and no bus came. I think due to language barrier and some confusion the girl on the info desk gave us the wrong info, to be fair to her she was running about 2 other shops as well. So we opted to jump into a taxi to go to the temple. The temple was really nice, full of stone sculptures. The stones were stacked on top of each other and the higher the sculpture was , the more chance of your wishes coming true was, but if they fell over your wish would not come true. I di a 7 stone sculpture and I think Anna made a 4 stone piece but neither got near the dazzling heights of some others which were probably getting on for about 25ft. We carried on looking around and came to a really scenic place where many people were taking photos. It was a massive shock to us when a 70+ Korean gent let off a loud, lingering long fart and then scuttled off like he was a schoolboy. We couldn't do anything but look at each other and burst into fits of giggles. We headed back to the bus where Anna wanted to sit down and admire a lake, the lake she wanted to sit and gaze at turned out to be a car park, something I made fun of her about for a while. We also spotted a few wild chipmunks on the trip. We eventually made it back to Jeonju and decided to go to the cinema and watch Will Smith's latest movie After Earth. For those who have not seen the movie. We both thought it was ok and good but nothing mind-blowing, but by no means was it poor. It is probably worth a watch if you have nothing better to do. What surprised me about the cinema is when we left and we went to throw away our trash. We noticed a bin saying can & PET. Now I couldn't get the image of throwing a can of coke in the bin and finding a rabbit or a Labrador in there, something else that had us in fits of giggles. But a Google search later revealed that they don't actually go to the cinema with their pets and then throw them away. It is just an abbreviation for something long and complicated meaning plastic bottles and things. We then made our way back and watched an episode of An Idiot Abroad rounding off another fun day in Korea, a country I was becoming increasingly attached to.
The next day we decided to go to Dangwang where there was a Bamboo Forest. It was ok and scenic but it was very hot and drained us and despite seeing a good waterfall and a few film locations all it really was as lots of bamboo. I think it would have been much better if the hut where the show you how to make traditional Korean tea was open but for some unknown reason this was closed. However, we still had fun. Anna was eager to try a bamboo related product was purchased some Bamboo candy. On the packet it claimed to be sweet and delicious and they looked a little like strawberry laces. But it tasted exactly how you would expect Bamboo to taste dry and lacking in any flavour. We headed back to Jeonju where we had a brief stop in Suncheon where we tried the Imsil cheese we came very close to making on a pizza. Once we got back despite being rather exhausted and worn out we decided to head out with some of Anna's friends. We first headed to self-bar with Becky and were joined there by a Korean guy called Big Ron, he had the smallest hands in the world I think. Two American chaps Ben and Keith and a Korean girl called Jasmine. A local also tried making friends with us, but he semt a bit mental and liked to tell us he was from Kenya. He was nice enough though. After a few beers we headed to a bar they called Dog bar, not because they serve dog, but because occasionally there is a dog roaming around the place. We rank Soju and played drinking games. I taught them 21 and a variation of the goggles game which I think went down ok. The after this we headed somewhere called a Nurrabeng. This is a place where there is several small rooms, where you can go in and hire out and sing karaoke with your friends. I initially didn't want to sing but after being forced in to singing eye of the tiger after Aussie Chris went AWOL you couldn't keep me from singing. My many hit's included Oasis - Don't Look Back in Anger, Spice Girls - Wannabee, Beach Boys - Barbara Ann, Craig David - Seven Days, Hanson - MmmBop, and probably the highlight and the song of the night was me and Aussie Chris covering The Killer - Mr Brightside. It was a really fun night and I was gutted to be leaving to head to Seoul the next day. Anna and her friends had made me feel very welcome, but me and Anna had places to visit in Seoul and a Toilet Museum to see on the way!
So until next time stay safe and take care