So, sunday morning 8am, under the threat of grey skys and rain I met my friends in the parking lot and we wait. No one comes. We wait some more, still no one comes. I decide to cross the road to the community center to see if anyone is there. I have to mention here that crossing the road is not an easy feat as it is a major intersection so to get across you have to go down into the subway and walk underground and come up the other side. I cross the road and sure enough there are 2 other english speaking people standing there. I later findout that their names are Andre and Donovan from America and S. Africa respectively. It seems they are also waiting for the beach trip but have no idea where to go and the community center is locked. The three of us now cross back over the road to join my other 2 friends where we wait some more. 15 minutes later after numerous phone calls to a woman who barely speaks english and crossing the road a couple more times, 2 women approach us and herd us into 2 taxis. I climb into one taxi with Andre and Donovan, leaving my other friends standing on the side of the road looking slightly anxious and a little bewildered. I am sure we were all thinking the same thing - where are we going and what have we gotten into. As we have affectionatly started calling it Dynamic Korea - you just have to go with the flow. After driving for 10 minutes we pull into a parking lot where there are 2 busloads of people waiting for us. we manouver our way onto the bus and manage to find seats we realize that we are the only white, english people on the entire trip.
We drive for about 2 hours before reaching our destination, Mongsanpo beach. Mongsanpo beach is on the west coast of Korea, on the yellow sea. They shepherd us off the bus and make gestures of taking pictures and eating. They then pull out this huge banner and make us all stand under it to take a group photo. At this point the 5 of us are doubled over in laughter because the whole thing is absurd. We think how funny this photo is going to look with all these asians and 4 very white people and 1 very black man. Then they pull out these big coolers and start handing out lunch. This is when things become chaotic as Koreans have no sense of how to line up. Everyone makes a mad dash for the coolers while the 5 of us are pushed to the back. It was like a free for all at a bargain basement sale. We just stand there in amusement waiting for the crowd to clear. Eventually we get our lunch, which was a rather delicious meal of rice, chicken , fish and vegetables. We grab our lunch, seperate from the crowd and make our way to the beach.
The beach was really beautiful although the tide was out when we arrived so it was a long walk to the water, but well worth it. Of course we were the only white people on the beach so our every move was being watched and analysed. We managed to get a table which we then had to pay 20,000 to use but it was worth it. It was very similar to beaches at home except every 20 minutes or so they would start saying things over a loud speaker and at one point some man starting driving down the beach in a tractor. We are still not sure what that was about.
We kepy trying to guess what they were saying over the loud speakers and the joke of the day was that they were making comments about the funny white people. At this point Kristina and I went into the water and we discovered what they were saying. We were standing in the water talking when the loud speaker came on and then I hear Kristina say Oh my god and I turn around and there is a seadoo coming towards us, towing a giant raft with people on it. It seems we were standing in the boating zone, and they were not slowing down. We made a mad dash to get out of the way and just made it. We are pretty sure the lady on the loud speaker was yelling at us.
At one point I go in the water and I see the only black guy in our group being surrounded by all these Mongolians. They all want their picture taken with him. They all give me their cameras and pose in various positions . It was hilarious but they were happy.
After many hours of soaking up the sun and copious amounts of beer it is time to go. We head back to the bus find our seats and head home. We had a slight altercation on the bus as we decided to change seats so that we can sit together. It seems the people who had originally sat there weren't so happy to move and proceeded to yell at us until we moved back to our original seats. We knew dinner was at some point but we didn't know where or when. We drive back to Daejeon and then they come over the microphone and make an announcement, in Korean of course. I make a joke saying that they are saying that everyone but the white people get to have the dinner. Little did I know how true my statement was. We pull up to the restaurant, get out, climb up 3 flights of stairs and enter a room full of tables. Once again it became a madhouse with people running in all directions, pushing people out of the way to find a seat. The 5 of us just stand there in dazed bewilderment with no where to sit. At this point we decide we have had enough and opt to leave rather that stay for dinner. We say goodbye to the coordinators and head out to a more civilized restaurant and have dinner with just the 5 of us. Despite the chaos, we had a great day and it all just added to the adventure.