We had incredibly beautiful weather for another April weekend, so we joined up with our buddies Scott and Noelle (teachers of English and French, respectively, at Kongju University) to go to the beach. This time we went west to the Yellow Sea, about four and a half hours by bus from Taejon, where we found endless sea and sand at Mallip'o beach in T'aean Haean National Park. Scott had been there once before--thanks to him for showing us the way! It was virtually deserted--evidently the Koreans don't like to go to the beaches until the water's ready for swimming--so we had the place almost to ourselves for walking, tossing the frisbee and football, and soaking up the hot sun.

On Saturday night, not long after sunset, we wandered up the beach until we spotted a campfire. There we found a group of Koreans who'd come down from Seoul, members of the Korean Broadcasting System's Documentary Team out for a weekend trip with their wives or girlfriends. A few of them spoke good English, and all were happy to be joined by some adventuresome foreigners, so they insisted that we stick around for a huge picnic dinner, plenty of beer and soju, talking about our travels, campfire games, and lots of singing. What a wonderful experience it is to make what felt like lifelong friends in the span of just 3 or 4 hours...

We slept like corpses after we retired to our minbak to sleep... a minbak is kind of like a shoestring-budget motel. At the place we stayed, you get a tiny room with about 5 feet 10 inches of headroom, mats and blankets for crashing on the floor, no private bathrooms and no showers anywhere... but it was well worth $15 a night to be a one-minute walk from the beach.

The next day we walked way north to the park's next beach, Cheollip'o, and found a beautiful spot to spend the day. Rob burned to a crisp, but the pain has taught him very quickly to never step onto a Korean beach without sunscreen again.

Hope you enjoy these pictures from our memorable weekend. Click on any image to see the full-size version, then hit the back button on your browser to return to this page.

Cheris and Noelle at the gateway to Mallip'o beach.
Our two heroines strolling merrily along.
Watch out for the fishing net, Noelle!
These fish had earlier suffered Noelle's fate as seen above.
Snails and trails. There were about 90 zillion of them on the beach that day, all headed in the general direction of the tideline. How do they know which way to go?
CJB and the lighthouse at the south end of Mallip'o.
Scott dreams of being a fisherman?
Scott and Noelle in serious frolicking mode.
Gilligan! Where are you, little buddy?!?
Rob huckin' the football at sunset. Thanks, Noelle, for snapping this one.
Sunday morning: RWL and Mr. Park, the gracious host at our minbak.
Scott making use of the bathing facilities.
Stalking the elusive frisbee in its natural habitat.
Before our departure, we swung by the camp of our new friends from the night before to get a group shot. Then (sigh) back to civilization...

take me back to the index, please