After Middle School camp, everyone not doing a homestay met up in Mokpo for a night. We stayed in the football center again, which was a step up from the accommodations at everyone’s camp. I decided to go out with a few people from my camp for some shopping, dinner, and a few drinks. Thank god we had a Korean speaker with us.

Mokpo

I’ve decided shopping at Korean supermarkets, and I’m sure Asian supermarkets in general, are an experience that must be had by every foreigner before one dies. There’s no other feeling like walking into a 4 story store, not being able to read ANYTHING, and having so many colors thrown in your face at once. Not to mention the smell of seafood and the fact that nearly every child that walks by does a double take. Also there is an ENTIRE aisle dedicated to ramen noodles…any college student’s dream. AND Koreans love their bonus items and they pair them with really random things. For example, toilet paper with olive oil…really? Yes.

After shopping, we walked to a restaurant nearby and had some tasty, non-cafeteria, Korean food. A few of us walked to a few bars after dinner, which turned out to be a fabulous idea. I’ve definitely acquired a taste for soju, Korean rice wine. We had the best waiter at the first bar. He tried to practice his English with us. He could say words but it was hard for him to say a full sentence. He told us he wanted to give us something since we were foreigners. He pointed to a few things on the menu, written in Korean of course. We told him whatever was fine. It turned out to be a kind of squid jerky. It was nearly impossible to bite off and very hard to chew. We did our best to finish it.

Dinner in Mokpo

Squid Jerky-ish

After a few bars, we went and drank at a table outside a 7-11 with some really old Korean men. They were probably 80 and didn’t speak a word of English. Our Korean speaker had left by this point so we were left by ourselves. We were trying really hard to remember all of the intricate formalities in the Korean drinking culture. We failed miserably. We did get a few pictures with the guys but we were just mostly laughing at each other. They kept speaking Korean to us and we kept speaking English to them. Neither one of us had any idea what was going on. Probably the most interesting experience in Korea thus far.

The next day, Friday, we went from Mokpo to Gwangju via a really random not fun water park, an awesome green tea farm, and a folk village. The day was stifling hot and everyone was pretty tired from the night before. We got to our hotel in Gwangju and had dinner nearby. Our hotel was amazing and we had great views of the city lights by night. All the cities in Korea seem really big downtown because the population is so concentrated. In reality, the cities aren’t that big compared to the U.S. but they seem really big.

Green Tea Farm, Boseong

View from the Hotel, Gwangju

Saturday, I slept in and got a total of 12 hours of sleep…more than I knew what to do with. I got up for lunch, which consisted of Burger King burgers. Definitely not what I was expecting. We headed to a Buddhist temple a few hours from Gwangju…amazing! I’d never seen anything like it before, very cool to see. After the temple, we drove back to Gwangju for a baseball game. Korean baseball is basically like American baseball but the fans make it more exciting. The baseball fans are more like soccer fans. We watched the KIA Tigers play the Doosan Bears.

Buddhist Temple

Sunday, we went to a shopping mall for like 2 hours. More, crazy, random, shopping adventures.. We did have some awesome sushi at the food court. I bought some food for camp and walked around for a while. We picked up our Korean co-teachers in Gwangju and split up into our camps. Back to Wando it was for week 2 of camp with the 6th graders.

 

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