Friday, December 10: We leave at 7 pm Friday night to go to Suncheon.  I’ve given Alex many options, showing him pictures of places I’ve been, and as he loves the outdoors, he decides he wants to see the tea plantations and Suncheon Ecological Bay, a wetlands area.  I’ve already been to both of these places, but, alas, we go again so Alex can see them.  We arrive in Suncheon late and go immediately to the BMW Motel, where I stayed when I was here before.  I say, “Dul chimdae isseumnika,” which my Moon Handbook says is “I want two beds please.”  They tell me they have no rooms in the entire hotel with two beds.  Thus we must find another motel.  I ask for a recommendation, and they suggest one that costs over 100,ooo won (!).  The BMW is 30,000!  I say, No, making the big “NO” gesture where you cross both forearms in front of your face.  I write: 30,000 or 40,000 won!!  Finally, they understand and write down a motel name, which we give to a taxi driver.  We end up at quite a nice motel in a far-flung part of town, the Ibama, for 60,000 won ~ still too much. Our room is decorated brightly with one wall of huge pink flowers.

First we get this room, but then we request another...

First we get this room, but then we request another…

Our pink and purple flowered room

Our pink and purple flowered room

the Ibama Hotel

the Ibama Hotel

Later we find a cute cafe with wine-colored Jacquard sofas surrounded by leafy trees, flowers, greenery of every sort, all abloom.  We drink beers and talk and talk.  It’s fun getting to know Alex ~ the adult he is becoming.  As a mom, it’s always hard to see your children as grown-ups, but I’m pleased to say he’s becoming quite a mature young man.  During this time, we have a few tense moments when he tells me about a job he had briefly at UPS.  He lost it because he didn’t show up for work after the first day.  When he explained the situation to me, he said the manager never let him know his schedule by email or phone.  I said, You didn’t ask her when you left at the end of the day when you were next supposed to show up?  He said no.  For some reason, this infuriated me so much; my blood was boiling!  This is the kind of thing I cannot understand.  It is for reasons such as these that Alex and I used to butt heads constantly when I lived at home in the States.  Sometimes our arguments escalated to huge screaming matches where we said regrettable things to each other.  Though we have some moments of tension on this night, we are able to get past them; I don’t want to get into huge disagreements with him while he is visiting me here in Korea.

having dinner at the leafy cafe

having dinner at the leafy cafe

the leafy cafe

the leafy cafe

Saturday, December 11:  In the morning, we take a bus to Boseong to see the tea plantations.  They’re not as bright green as they were when I was here in October, but there is still a richness to them.

Boseong Tea Plantations

Boseong Tea Plantations

Alex at the tea farm

Alex at the tea farm

topiary at the tea farm

topiary at the tea farm

me at the tea farm

me at the tea farm

tea farms

tea farms

Alex at tea farms

Alex at tea farms

tea farms in every direction

tea farms in every direction

lunch at the tea plantation

lunch at the tea plantation

Alex waits at the bus stop

Alex waits at the bus stop

Later we go to Suncheon Bay Ecological Park and walk through the wetlands and up to the observatory on the point of the mountain hugging the bay.  We try to wait till sunset to get some beautiful pictures but it’s cold and we’re tired, so we leave and take some sunset pictures down in the wetlands.  Later we eat dinner at a very lame sandwich shop.  Later we find a Japanese restaurant that would have been great for dinner if we had discovered it earlier.

me at Suncheon Bay Ecological Park

me at Suncheon Bay Ecological Park

Boats at Suncheon Bay

Boats at Suncheon Bay

Alex at Suncheon Bay

Alex at Suncheon Bay

the hard path or the easy path??

the hard path or the easy path??

Suncheon Bay wetlands

Suncheon Bay wetlands

Suncheon Bay

Suncheon Bay

sunset over the wetlands

sunset over the wetlands

boats in the wetlands

boats in the wetlands

on the bus back to the hotel

on the bus back to the hotel

Sunday, December 12:  Today is cold and gray, but we decide to try to see a temple called Songgwang-sa.  It takes us 1 1/2 hours by city bus to get there.  We’re thinking that after we see the temple we’ll visit a folk village another hour away, but the bus drops us off at noon and no bus returns to the temple, which is quite remote, until 3:00.  We’re stuck there, it seems, to kill 3 hours! We wander along the path to the temple, finding colorful shops & restaurants along the way.

fruits for sale

fruits for sale

colorful shops & restaurants along the path

colorful shops & restaurants along the path

at the entrance to the temple

at the entrance to songgwang-sa

The temple complex is quite nice with one of its main halls jutting out over a small river, but it’s bitter cold outside.  After we explore the grounds extensively, there is nothing to do but have a traditional Korean meal, sitting on the floor at a low table, to kill time (& stay warm) until the next bus comes.

Alex at the temple

Alex at the temple

inside one of the temples

inside one of the temples

Alex at the temple complex

Alex at the temple complex

Songgong-swa

songgwang-sa

Alex along the path between temples

Alex along the path between temples

peeking out from the door to nowhere

peeking out from the door to nowhere

temples galore

temples galore

Songgwangswa Temple near Suncheon

Songgwangswa Temple near Suncheon

Lunchtime at Songgong-swa

Lunchtime at songgwang-sa

a typical Korean lunch

a typical Korean lunch

By the time it comes, we’re tired and know we have a long way still back to Daegu.  We pass on the folk village and head back to Suncheon, where we then take the bus back to Daegu.  When we get back home, I scramble us some eggs and we head to the DVD bang to watch the movie Chloe.  It’s actually a little risqué to watch with my son, but oh well, here we are.  I’m sure he’s seen movies as risque as this without me, so why fight it?

 
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