Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cherry Blossoms in Jinhae

As spring approaches the number of festivals every weekend increases. It seems like there is a festival for just about every occasion and season change. Festivities abound. The festivals bring a taste of the culture in various form such as dress, merchants, decorations and of course, food. Last weekend we went to the famous Cherry Blossom festival in nearby Jinhae. We left the island via ferry. It was a short and beautiful 45 minute ride through islands and inlets. We were accompanied by a good group of friends who also teach English here on the island. We never really went out into open sea as we were just going from island to mainland. The ferry makes the trip every two hours and transports cars as well. There are a few words in Korean which sound similar to English, one of them is ferry, "p'e-ri". Its always helpful to know what you are looking for.
Figuring out where you are headed around here can be a challenge. We have found it easiest to request directions by pointing to our destination on the map, or simply following the crowd. It is always an an adventure.

Upon arrival in Jinhae we followed the general flow of traffic, occasionally pointing and asking "ch'uk-jje!!?"(festival) until we began to hear the music and see the little white tents. Blossoming cherry trees lined the streets decorated with hundreds of Korean flags. The beautiful spring weather made the experience all the more enjoyable.

UMMMMMMMMM UMMMMMMM UMMMMM. There were many who enjoyed the white and pink cherry flowers.

A stage was set up in the center of town and constantly hosted entertainment for all ages. Below is a traditional Korean fan dance.

Chelsie and Lindsay strolling along the shoreline as we looked for the famous turtle ship located at the naval base.
The turtle ships were first designed and built by Admiral Ye Sunshin in anticipation of Japan's invasion of Korea. They were heavily armed and are especially known for their steel spiked roofs which discouraged the enemy from boarding. The ships became famous as a result of their many victories in the late 1500's.
Chelsie and Alissa got to "ride" on a sweet police Harley.

The vendor filled tents were quiet earlier in the day, but as afternoon approached the bustle increased. By the time we left it was a massive traffic jam. There are quite a few foreigners in Korea, but not as many in this providence. The Koreans always watch us and are very interested in where we are from, what we have in our grocery cart and what we think of the area. We have been amazed at how kind they are and how willing they are to help. During many of our adventures we have made, or should I say been adopted as "ch'in-gu" (friends). They are often excited to practice their bits and pieces of English with you. Baked goods, candies, rice cakes, Turkish kabobs, ice cream, herbal medicines, sunglasses, clothes, tennis shoes and just about any other Asian trinket you can dream up.Anyone thirsty? Coconut milk.

We stopped in a small restaurant and enjoyed a meal of "pul-go-gi", what they consider barbecue beef. We were surrounded by tons of little side dishes which accompany every entree order. Some quite tasty and we passed up. Neither of us are particularly fond of the Kimchi, spicy rotten cabbage, but they say it grows on you!??

The area was beautiful. We meandered off away from the festivities and enjoyed the town.
Still looking healthy for all of you who worry.


Amber said...

Hey Guys! I love looking at your posts:) Wow, it looks like you guys are having so much fun... I'm very jealous. I love you! - Amber

Jeff said...

Gosh d*rn it! I just posted a long comment and forgot to do it in IE. Now it's gone. My brilliant thoughts are quite fleeting, and so they are all gone now. Well, I had a kimchi story. When my nephews were, like, 2 and 4 y.o. at most, the lived in a little town in N.C. in a second-floor apartment. A Korean family moved in below them. The stairs descended right near the front door, outside of which sat an earthen vessel filled with ... kimchi! Cabbage and fish all summer long. They couldn't escape the fumes. When my sister had to scold the boys, she took to saying, "You'll be in deep kimchi ..." and they understood immediately. Also, watch out for those coconuts. I bet they refill them ...

Jessica said...

Wow, it is so beautiful and so are ya'll. Glad you're have such an adventure. -Jessica P.

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