Easter with Don Juan

My life here has become rather comfortable, which is great. It is, however, somewhat of a hindrance to blogging. I went to a meeting downtown and did not get lost. I went to the grocery store the other day and found everything that I needed. I met friends for lunch and ate a delicious sandwich. That was my week.  Are you still with me?  Fortunately, I have about a bazillion weeks of blog-worthy material about which I have yet to write. (See, my break from blogging wasn’t laziness. It was foresight!)  Let’s rewind all the way back to April 4th.

On Easter Sunday I met my friend from Korean lessons, Heidi, and we caught a bus out to Kanghwa-Do, an island on the West coast of Korea. We hadn’t planned exactly what we wanted to do, beyond getting to the island. So, after 90 minutes on a bus we were dumped in a parking lot with no clue where to go next. While we stood, staring at the oversized map in the parking lot, a man appeared from out of nowhere and gave us some English tourist maps before vanishing again. So we started to map out our day on the maps.

We knew a little about the island. It used to play an important role in defending Korea against the Japanese and any other countries who had their interests set on Korea. Consequently, the island has some impressive fortresses. It also has a few mountains to climb and in Korea where there’s a mountain, there’s usually a temple.  The real attraction for us though, was the beach.  We both craved the ocean and were hopeful that we would get to see the Pacific before the day was over.

It takes about 90 minutes to get to Gangwha-do (the pink island) from Seoul by bus.

It was while we were looking at our maps that we met Don Juan.  Well, at least that’s how I remember his name. In reality it was probably closer to Dong Won, but let’s not get caught up in details. To be fair, he remembered my name because he associated it with Megan Fox but that’s not how I spell my name either. Don Juan approached us to find out where we had found the tourist maps. We tried to explain about the disappearing map man but I think something got lost in translation. We offered to share our maps with Don Juan and then we got to talking.  It turned out that DJ, as he shall henceforth be known, was visiting the island for the day with his girlfriend. He offered to give us a ride to the various sights on the island and we took him up on the offer.

the entrance to a fortress on Ganghwa Island

Now, we had considered the safety of the situation before we agreed to get into a car with DJ and his girlfriend, and we decided that it was pretty safe. We did not, however, carefully consider how awkward it might be.  I’ll save you the full play-by-play, but we spent much of the day trying to make awkward small talk with DJ, who spoke very good English, and his girlfriend, who spoke very little English. When we weren’t making small talk in the car, we were following them around historical fortresses and temples.  We decided that it would be good to give them space; so instead of walking with them, we crept behind them and tried to be nonchalant. As it turns out, feigning nonchalance while you’re following a couple on a date is almost impossible.

The day was, however, a success. We saw a lot of sights and we even capped of the day with a visit to the mud beaches on the Western side of the island.  Awkwardness aside, it was a good way to spend an Easter Sunday.

Sadly, there was no message in this bottle. (That is, aside from social commentary about both alcohol AND littering. This just got deep.)

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1 Comment

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One response to “Easter with Don Juan

  1. Devon

    I can only imagine how awkward hanging out with people on a date who spoke varying degrees of a mutually spoken language could be. Miss you!

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