Since returning to Korea, I’ve been averaging about two new words a month. Considering my Very Demanding New Job and the amount of space in my brain that is occupied with an unnecessary amount of information about consumer electronics, this is an amazing feat. I’ve learned turn left, turn right, I understand, an extra shot of espresso, and I’m tired. One word that I finally learned this winter was chuwoyo, which means it’s cold. More appropriately, I learned nomu chuwoyo, which roughly translates to what the fuck is with this shit?
Yes, it’s been an exceptionally cold winter in Seoul, and I’ve had quite enough. Last weekend, I removed my friends HeeAh and Wayne from the city and insisted on a weekend where it was both warmer and quieter. I didn’t care, really. I just wanted umbrellas in my drink and a Thai massage. Macau or Boracay, perhaps. Without any concrete plans, we hopped in the car and headed east! [At this time, you may find it amusing to refer to a map.]
This brought us north to the mountains, where I complained and froze and nearly perished. Fortunately, it began raining, which proved to all parties that I was right. So we drove. We drove south, through the endless winding mountains, as far as we could go until it was warm. We drove south and then east, until the mountains curled into the sea and we reached the shore.
We landed in Yeongdeok, about half way down the eastern seaboard, which is famous for its rugged coastline and giant crab. Or as it’s sometimes known in Korea “crap.” You know, like “Fried Fork Cutlet.” This crab was not crap. Not anything close, I promise you. I grew up on New England lobster, and crap/crab has always been a bit of an “eh” for me. But this was exquisite, tender, buttery, messy, huge crab.
We slept in a minbak and woke early to wander around town, where we were suprisingly offered…more crab. At 9am. We saw a crab auction, enjoyed the giant blinking crabs, and went to a lighthouse with a giant crab claw on it. Yes, Yeongdeok is all about crab and it’s sticking to it.
The nice thing about visiting the quieter parts of Korea is the people. They are curious of and friendly to strangers, and they want to show you the best impression of their country. We enjoyed waves and smiles and questions and that hand-held experience that is reserved for foreigners. It’s this part I like best.
Yeongdeok did not have Thai massages or umbrellas for my Hite, but it was the complete opposite of chuwoyo. And that was the point, really.