last weekend was amazing. alisun and i went to gangneung, a small city on the northeast coast. gangneun is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, and we hit up gyeongpo beach. that's right, 1.8 sprawling sandy kilometers of ocean bliss. because it's still technically the "off-season," it wasn't overly crowded. we got a motel room right on the beach for 50,000 won. how can you beat a view like this from your motel room window?
so, i enjoyed the beach in all its sun-soaked glory. basked in the sun, watched the waves crash in, and reminisced about my own family vacations. it was also a great place for people watching:
sunday morning we got up at 8 am and went to the beach again to make the best of our few remaining hours before we had to check out. we hadn't gone swimming the day before, but decided to go for it. the water was cold, but it felt really good. after, we were laying out in our swimsuits to dry when we got that unwanted dose of "oh my gosh! foreigners on the beach!" that we had fortunately avoided until then. we were both laying on our stomachs, minding our own business, when i heard some giggling and saw from the corner of my eye a group of koreans discreetly trying to take pictures of us. a girl was standing somewhat in front of us, and they were obviously taking a picture of her just to get us in the background. sighing, but figuring there wasn't much i could do because, after all, aren't we all guilty of this every once in a while? i returned to my book, and glanced over to see if they were still taking pictures. what do i find? this same girl is now crouched RIGHT NEXT to alisun, posing and smiling for a picture. come ON! taking a picture from a safe distance is one thing, but to be blatantly using us for pictures is downright RUDE. alisun was obliviously dozing until i told her to look, and when she did finally see what was going on, there was hell to pay. "are you kidding me? no! this is not funny! go away!" she tossed a little bit of sand at the girl, who was by this point standing, apparently torn between giving another peace sign for a picture or backing away. the "photographer" was finally the one to motion her back over. we kept giving them dirty looks, but they weren't at all embarrassed or ashamed of their actions because they set up camp next to us.
alisun, still spitting daggers, was very upset. "it's like we're not even people!" she was about to get up, take my camera, and put it right in their faces to take pictures (she was actually standing and going for my bag) but i convinced her that that would only make the situation worse, but if we caught them taking pictures again, by all means go for it. so, we went back to lounging in the sun, but glanced over periodically to try to catch them "in the act."
11:00 rolled around, and we were closing up shop when a DIFFERENT group of koreans came up to us. a man started asking if he could take a picture with us. alisun right away said "NO!" and we marched back to the motel.
now i know what it feels like to be a celebrity on the beach.
in other news, i joined a new gym yesterday. it's actually the gym right next door to me. why it took so long for me to check it out, i couldn't tell you, but i'm sad that it took almost 11 months. i bought a month for 70,000 won, expensive, yes, but this gives me membership to the entire building- it's a jjimjilbang/sauna/fitness center all rolled into one, with seven floors. the gym itself is pretty nice, on the top floor, with treadmills that overlook the busy intersection below. the equipment is rather nice, also. after that i soaked in some hot tubs and sweated in the hot rooms. nothing soaking your muscles in warm water after a good workout.
also, i just read this morning about a movie that is in the works called "expats."
i'll definitely be seeing that one, finally a movie about living in south korea! although i have no experience with gangs in busan, i'm really looking forward to watching it, so i can say "that's EXACTLY what life was like in korea!"
going back to vacations, less than two months and my family and i will be renting this house on the cape for a week:
oh, i can't wait.