We’ve been in Korea for about a week now and we’re finally getting over the jet lag. Jet lag with one toddler/preschooler is tough. Jet lag with two kids is torture. I love kids in general, I love my kids, but it is really hard to love my kids and interact effectively when I’m so sleep deprived and they are up for the day at 3:00am! The best is when they stagger their awake and sleep times so parents get no sleep! We’ve made it to 6:15 am as of this morning, so we all feel almost normal.
Samgil-po is as small as we thought it was going to be. Note how puny it is on the map above. No parks, no grocery store, but some great hiking trails and fish! What I didn’t realize is that its size is restricted by the coastal mountains (Austin would call them hills) that surround the village and force it into a small flat area going down to the sea. The streets heading up the mountain are steep, and only about half of them are paved! There are a few convenience stores, a handful of restaurants (mostly fish/sashimi), and pensions- no hotels. There’s a billiards club and a brand new, empty apartment building. We arrived on a holiday three-day weekend, so Samgil-po was packed with vacationers that set up tents in the middle of the cement and dirt parking lots- it looked super comfy. The convenience stores have a wide variety of fishing gear for all these vacationers, and I think they spend most of their time fishing or hiking while they are here. There is really not much else to do!
The weather in Samgil-po is balmy, with a nice breeze coming off the sea. Our highs have been in the 70s F, and lows in the low 60s F. it has been hazy often since we’ve been here (Thanks, China!), with other days of sun and clouds. Apparently rainy season is starting soon, but no rain yet for us. Oh how I love living by the sea!
In the middle of the little bay is a dock where all the fishing boats come and sell their fish. If you want a fish, I assume that you climb on the boat, pick a fish, and they kill it and cut it up for you right the
re. Koreans love their sashimi (raw fresh fish, thinly sliced), and there is a little hut on the dock selling lettuce leaves and the hot sauce that usually accompany the sashimi in a meal. Over the weekend there were lots of families sitting on the rocky shoreline next to the fishing boat pier on mats enjoying feasts of sashimi, lettuce, garlic cloves and hot sauce. I’m hoping to buy a fish one of these days, but I’ll take it home and cook it. I’m just not a raw fish fan.
We’re staying in a pension, which is kind of like a vacation rental with a built in mother to take care of you. We have a small kitchen, washing machine, big refrigerator, separate bedroom, sleeping loft, two balconies, a living room area and a wet bathroom, where the shower is just attached to the sink. Our Korean mother and grandmother clean our room, hang our laundry to dry, do our dishes, and provide us with whatever we need to feel comfortable. They love kids, and our pension mother speaks a little English, so that’s good. They live on the first floor, so they are always around when we need them! I’ll post more on our accommodations in a separate post.
After the vacationers left, Samgil-po transformed into this sleepy little village. I have yet to see a child that lives here, and there are no formal playgrounds, but plenty of rocks, dirt and sand by the mountain and the shore that is perfect for Landon. The pace of life is just slower here, and it is relaxing to be so close to the sea. Islands off the coast are more visible on clear days, and the mountains with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees are lush and green. Unlike other areas of coastline I have seen, the greenery extends all the way to the coast. I know one thing for sure- we have a lot of hiking and exploring to do! Because Samgil-po does not have a proper grocery store, trucks and vans come around selling a variety of things. So far I’ve seen a chicken truck and a knife truck. Kind of like ice cream trucks but not as fun. They drive around blaring announcements in Korean. I knew one was a chicken truck because the prerecorded message started with a very loud and startling “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
Fortunately, we have a car that we’re hoping to use to go places and see things on Saturdays. There are only a few places I’m willing to go alone with both kids. There are going to be 8 workers, and one other wife here when everyone arrives. We are all staying in the same place and it is going to be a fun party to have such a big crew here! As we adjust being back “on the road,” and I figure out how to do that with two children in tow, I’m grateful for this assignment and the beauty that surrounds us daily. There may not be any parks close by, but nature is our playground here in Samgil-po.