Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mom & Dad's Visit, Part II

Once we returned from Busan, Keegan had to go back to work, so I had my parents to myself.  On Monday, I had the chance to show them my usual running route, to the Buddha park and back.  I think they both enjoyed the chance to see the small rice farms and the pretty countryside in the valley leading to the park.  In the afternoon, we went to Home Plus to do some grocery shopping.  It was a funny trip because I spent most of it worrying that it was not really very interesting.  I guess I have gotten used to seeing counters full of kimchee and the extensive aisles of sesame oil and red pepper paste.  But my parents insisted that it was an interesting trip.  After returning from the store, we spent some time in the garden, and Keegan came home from work early.  We took a quick visit to the exercise park near our house, which has a very good view of the DSME shipyard.  Keegan and I did our best to walk all the way around the stone foot massage path around the park.  

Keegan and I are smoked by a Korean woman on the foot massage path.

I gave up about three-quarters of the way around because my feet were getting tired.  Keegan made it the whole way, but he was lapped by a speedy Korean lady who looked like she was out for a comfortable stroll.  We made burritos for dinner and retired after a relaxing day.

On Tuesday morning, I took Mom with me to the pool in Jangseungpo.  Fortunately, we were able to get a lane to ourselves, so it was a pleasant experience.  In the afternoon, we decided not to go to Oedo because the day was a little overcast.  So we went on a hike instead, taking the wooded path from Deokpo to Okpo.  The hike ends along a beautiful boardwalk that winds along the coast and into Okpo.   Unfortunately, the view there is full of heavy machinery and huge ships under construction at DSME.  

The boardwalk in Okpo

Along the last part of the trail was a huge pile of rocks.  We watched in horror as a huge excavator pulled itself up by the bucket onto the top of the pile.  We were horrified because it seemed to us that it would be very easy for the excavator to start a mini-landslide that would immediately bury the path we were walking on under a pile of huge rocks.  Fortunately, we survived to make lots of comments about how unsafe the situation was!  We were all tired after the hike, so we got drinks and sandwiches at my favorite little coffee shop, Pompeii.  We walked back into town on the main road, and had a few minutes to rest before a delicious dinner of stir fry with fresh peas from the garden, our first harvest!

Stir fry with fresh peas from the garden

On Wednesday, we decided to take our trip to Oedo, the island with the beautiful botanical garden, where Keegan and I have gone several times.  The weather was sunny as we headed to the boat launch in Jangseungpo.  As soon as we left the harbor, however, we got a nasty surprise:  the water was very, very rough.  So rough, in fact, that other passengers were shouting and throwing their hands in the air, roller coaster style, with every toss and turn.  The ride was very unenjoyable, and unfortunately, the pilots wisely decided not to try to steer the boat in between the large cliffs of Haegeumgang, a craggy island that is usually the first highlight of the tour.  Mom and Dad were afraid to get out of the boat to get a closer look at the cliffs (so was I, to be honest).  So that part of the trip was very disappointing.

Finally, we were back on solid land and ready to start our tour of the island.  We had planned to have lunch on the boat, but that was clearly out of the question, so we ate a quick lunch on the island instead.  Then we proceeded to rush through the beautiful springtime gardens, enjoying the colorful flowers and the beautiful views of the ocean and other islands.  

Mom among the azaleas on Oedo Botania

There were a lot of schoolchildren on a trip to the gardens, so Mom and Dad got to experience firsthand the habit of Korean kids to practice their English on unsuspecting foreigners.  At last it was time to get back on the boat.  Unbelievably, the ride back to Jangseungpo was even worse than the ride to the island!  I gripped the handle on the back of the seat in front of me so hard that my knuckles were white, all the while reminding myself that holding on to another seat would be useless when the boat capsized, which it was sure to do.  Fortunately, I was wrong, and we all made it back to Geoje Island safe and sound.  I apologized profusely for the horrible trip, but my parents looked at it as another unique adventure.  I was thankful for their good attitudes.

Back at home, I cooked up a soup for dinner, and we ate quickly before heading out to Gohyeon to watch Keegan and his ABS team play soccer.  Since Dad played soccer in high school, he kept up a running commentary on what everyone was doing, how their skills were, and what sort of strategy they should adopt.  It's too bad he didn't stay longer, as the team could use some practice and coaching.  But we all had a good time, which is the most important thing.

On Thursday, we decided to venture off of the island to visit the Dinosaur Expo in Geoseong.  The Matiz performed admirably on its first trip off of Geoje Island, and we made it to the huge, empty parking lot of the expo and tried to get oriented.  I had thought that there might be some interesting fossils and some cool dinosaur footprints for Dad to enjoy, but the whole expo was a study in campiness and was geared mostly toward kids.  

Those raptors were scary!

Still, it was a chance to show my parents the type of activities we do on the weekends when we're exploring and looking for something new to do.  And we did see some interesting fossils and real dinosaur footprints (much less impressive than you'd think).  Plus, we got to see the absolute weirdest exhibit ever, which featured numerous plastic, animatronic, cartoonish dinosaurs and cavemen.  AND, Mom and I tried out Korea's longest slide, which was made out of those metal rollers that pinch your butt.  We got stuck behind Korea's slowest slider, so the ride was less thrilling than it could have been.  So we made the best of our adventure.  In the evening, we had homemade pizza and used the first of our homegrown basil.  Delicious!  

Having seen most of what Geoje and the area had to offer, we prepared for the next leg of the journey:  Seoul.


Jamie said...

I can't wait to come! I have never heard of a foot massage path - it looks like a challenge!

KIM! said...

campy dinosaurs in Korea? I thought that was a US specialty! Lauren and I skipped Dinosaur World because it cost twenty dollars, but we did take some similar photos outside. :)

See you soonish!

chrissy said...

I'm glad I wasn't on that boat: I would have been seasick for sure!

Kim, Lauren, Ryan, and I also got to see the dinosaurs at the Creationist Museum (playing nicely along with some children). Even though we didn't exactly agree with most of its message, the dinosaur exhibit was pretty good. Plug: See Kim's blog for more detail!