Marine Guesthouse in Sokcho AND some thoughts on Koreans

The place we stayed in Sokcho reminded me of guesthouses that we stayed in while traveling in Italy- homey and simple. I wanted to stay in a place that felt more like a home than a hotel, and I think we accomplished that. The bed was a little hard for Austin’s taste, but I actually liked it better than our hard bed in the hotel. Landon had his own sleeping mat and blanket and pillow and did pretty well sleeping there through the night. One night he got cold and ended up in bed with us, but other than that he was great!

Our room

There were 3 huge paintings decorating the upstairs walls

We ordered a smoothie the last morning and Onam brought Landon in and sat him down in her little shop out front and gave him cereal to munch on while she made the smoothie.

 For breakfast, we got to make our own in a self-service kitchen! Austin cooked up eggs while I made toast and hot dogs for Landon and I and we feasted on what we had made. Austin reflected that it was the first time in a few months that he had to make breakfast for himself. It was a welcome and refreshing change, though, and Landon ate so much more since he had fewer distractions.

Like I mentioned before, there were a few restaurants that did not serve raw fish in Daepo harbor. One was a gelato and waffles joint that we went to for dessert two nights. Both the waffles and this pastry we got the night after were delicious. There were a few fried food places but you can only eat a few of those things without feeling like your arteries are clogging. Our host Onam went out of her way to find a grilled fish place. There were plenty of places that would cook up crab or shellfish for you, but only this place would cook fish. She wrote it down for us and tried to give us good directions. We ended up in the fried food area and a very helpful gentleman walked us from the fried food area to the restaurant. What a saint. That brings me to my next point:
Brown family in Sokcho!
Koreans are seriously the best. We run into a lot of strangers in our wanderings about and everyone is so nice and gracious. Most of the time we can’t communicate adequately, but if they can, most people strike up conversation- asking me how old Landon is, how long we are here, where we are from, and always if we like Korea.  If they have visited the states or have family in the states that will inevitably come up. Then usually they give Landon some candy. So far in Korea, he has gotten a whole bag of some sort of sesame candy, little candies from countless grandmas on the train, a creme brulee from a fancy French bakery from a lady in the elevator, a Fruit-by-the-foot from a college kid on the train, some green Korean cake from a lady at the mall, etc etc. They are so loving and so giving and so helpful. They entertain Landon on the train, help us find where we are going, help us when our transit cards aren’t working correctly, and corral Landon when he is running away.
It seems to me that there are a ton of kids here in Korea. Lots of babies and small children running around. That means there are lots of kids with toys and possessions that Landon wants. He often will walk right up and take what he wants, and the parents here are so kind and gracious in how they react. Depending on what it is and what Landon is doing, I will sometimes tell him to stop and come along, but most often the reaction of the parents is “No, let him play”. They will share toys and tell me how cute he is and ask how old Landon is.
Here we are with our hostess, Onam. She has had the guesthouse for a year and enjoys running it!
This past weekend Landon and I went for a run. My destination was a vast neighborhood park built into the side of one of the mountains here in Seoul. It is a beautiful park and Landon enjoyed playing while I enjoyed taking a break from my run since I had not gone on a run in a couple weeks because of my sickness and vacation. Anyway, there was a dad there with his son, probably around 7-8 years old. I noticed them because the dad was doing some exercises and the son would do everything the father did. Then they started playing ball- first soccer, then basketball. Landon started noticing them when they were playing basketball. The dad was trying to teach his son some fundamental skills like throwing and shooting and dribbling. His son was kind of awkward and was having a hard time with these things. Landon wanted the ball really badly so they started sharing. No joke Landon was shooting the ball just about as high as this much bigger kid. I made Landon share the ball with the kid for awhile, then the dad called the kid over to work on baseball. The dad started asking me how old Landon was and stuff. One thing about ages here is that when a child is born, they are 1. So Landon is 2, almost 3 according to Korean age, although he is not even 2 according to US age. Anyway, I said he was 2, and then clarified when the guy asked me that he was 22 months. The man was amazed because Landon is so big, but also he said, “Your son is very sporty.” Best compliment ever. Landon tried to commandeer the baseball and bat, and then we had to leave because he was just being too disruptive and he had tripped and fallen and his knee was bleeding a lot. The funniest part is Landon didn’t care because he was chasing after a ball.  It was a funny experience that just encapsulated how nice and giving and sharing the Koreans are. 
Koreans also like to look nice. There are makeup stores everywhere- even at most subway stations and designer clothes are really important. The mall is still a major destination here and on the weekends, the mall under our hotel is packed with shoppers. The funny thing is people are actually shopping. It seems like mall shopping is going downhill in the US, but here in Korea people are prospering and buying like crazy. Even in the expensive department stores. Lots of women wear dresses and heels all the time here, so basically I look like a ragamuffin in my traveling clothes and sports bras and unkempt hair ALL OF THE TIME. Oh well, they probably think I just got off an airplane or something. Or I have a toddler. 

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