(Wherein a girl with a broken knee discover’s she’s in love)
The Namhae Adventure
Being broken didn’t stop me, and it never fucking will!
So, truthfully I drunkenly booked this trip well in advance of my injury. I had no idea it was on the way and by the time I had realized that the trip was looming and my leg was still throbbing, it was past the refund date. I could have gotten a 50% refund but that was indeed giving up 50% of money… and I’m no giver-upper-er-er.
But I was still broken and temporarily crippled. So the very normal idea of traveling alone, making new connections and enjoying a stunning vacation suddenly became terrifying and daunting. What if I limp behind the others? Vintage is my friend and she OFTEN leaves me behind even when I’m not injured. I decided it might be good to ask The Dreamboat, the unlikely man that I have been seeing for a couple of months at this point, who is a lover of adventure as well. I asked if he would be willing to go with me on my trip to the south.
After some hesitation, he agreed and paid his fare.
The bus left from Hongdae station just a few hobbly hops away from my home on the hill. We got on the bus and rode 4 sleepy hours southward arriving at the break of dawn at Geumsan. (Gold mountain) A place famous for its glorious view of a golden sunrise, and a temple which is daily bathed in fresh morning light. Regrettably, I couldn’t make it to the top, but I enjoyed the walk in the trees and the sound of the dirt under my shoes.
The Dreamboat walked with me slowly and took breaks with me as I needed them. Eventually, I urged him to go ahead of me. I promised to wait while he got to a good place to see at least some of the view. He didn’t want to leave me behind, but after several assertions that I would be fine, and that I indeed wanted him to see the view, he scuttled ahead.
He captured this gorgeous sun-washed mountainside, and came back to me. We were worried about time, so he piggybacked me down the mountain and back to the buses.
There were gathered on the benches, our various traveling companions, to whom we had spoken to jack fucking none. But they hadn’t spoken to us either. The Dreamboat and I are both somewhat shy, me for general fear of people and I believe him for general use of English as the majority of our group were foreign, and native English speakers.
We watched the world wake up while we waited for the other hikers to return to the bus and then headed out to our second destination.
We arrived at the Silver Sand beach and were told we may do as we please until 1pm. The Dreamboat and I elected to get breakfast.
We went to a more traditional direction and got grilled fish and a sort of sea cucumber soup thing. It was fantastically delicious. I had never had sea cucumber. It was soft and chewy. Cold and sort of snotty. One might imagine a texture similar to muscles, however, I’ve never eaten a muscle so this is just my speculation.
After lunch we went to the actual shores of Silver Sand beach. The sands were not actually silver, unless the name comes from the sensation of stepping on metal silver that has been sitting in the sun for hours. I’m saying I burned the everloving fuck out of my feet.
We got a parasol, slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and got in the water. For a dreamboat, he can’t actually swim well. So we spent a lot of time playing around in the shallows and helping him remember to float.
While we were floating, I pointed out his own personal sail. I have to mention here that the Dreamboat is more than well-endowed, he is gifted in a sort of terrifying bulky way that makes a woman worry if she will be able to walk later (of course I couldn’t walk anyway so whatever). So even without stimulation, the mast and sails were protruding from the water quite a bit. Which, as anyone who knows me will understand, I HAD TO grab it, bother it, excite it and make it stand tall. RAISE THE MAINSAIL!
You can’t just leave a vulnerable schlong un-bothered.
To my utter surprise and supreme delight, the dreamboat mentioned… well… you know . . . making the beast with two backs. I said I’ve never fucked in the ocean, and I recall it being somewhat dangerous. However, we threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it. Remember though, he can’t swim, let alone tread water. So there we were in the relative shallows, with the water up our necks, families no more than 50 feet away from us, but still fucking with ninja levels of subtlety. pride.
We left the ocean a little saltier than when we arrived, and showered and returned to the bus at the requested time.
After another half hour of travel, we arrived at one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in the whole of my life.
The Dreamboat snapped this gorgeous panorama of Darengi Maul (Rice paddy village) which is a traditional style village on the edge of the sea. The rice paddies were carved into the hills and the houses were all cuddled together in the center. Each home had something painted on the wall, on the roof, or along the fences. There was something lovely at every place the eye might fall. The view from every point in the village looked out at clear blue waters and a gently fading sky. There was a wideness to the sky that I had forgotten about. Seoul is settled in between mountains, and the sky is sectioned in every direction. Darengi Maul reminded me what open sky looks like, reminded me what a feast that visual freedom is to the eyes, and made me itch for the world.
My heart is swollen with love for this place. Every detail endears me to it further. Rather than hotels, the accommodations were Minbaks, which are basically a local resident opening his/her home to guests while providing dinner and breakfast for them.
After checking in to our little room, we changed into our swimsuits and headed down the gauntlet of hills and steps that led to the pebble beach.
Behind us in the photo you can see the beach we were heading for. You can also see how damn far down that shit was. But eventually we got there.
Far behind our travel companions whom we still had not spoken much too.
There next to the rocky shore was a deep and cool water, a damp cave, and rocks just begging to leapt from.
They told us that our minbak hosts would be serving dinner at 7, so the dreamboat and I decided to head back up the steps a little early. Knowing that it would take me far longer to scale than our peers. Unfortunately, it started to hurt a bit and between the climb and the pain I was getting a bit exhausted. My beloved dreamboat did something astounding.
That man piggybacked me up the epic steps and got me to the top. Of course, breaks were taken.
The elderly woman who hosted our Minbak made an elaborate and delicious dinner for us.
She spoke no English and I imagine that her typical guests spoke no Korean. However, the Dreamboat, being a Korean man, was fluent and willing. In this moment I saw a side of him that I had yet to enjoy. He was polite, attentive, respectful, encouraging, and kind to her in everything that he said and did. He had unending patience to listen to her as she told him about everything from her married children, to her general tourism business troubles. He never ignored her, never cut her off, gave her his full attention and treated her as if her words mattered to him deeply.
I never told him how important it is to me that elders be respected. I never once mentioned that my heart pulls at me to treat people well. I don’t mean bowing, and saying yes ma’am, no ma’am. I mean treating them as you would treat someone you actually care about. Too often are children, the elderly, or the handicapped brushed off or dismissed. Too often are their words unheard. He didn’t and doesn’t know that this is something I feel strongly about, which means that he behaved that way on his own motivation. In my eyes he was glowing. I was so proud in that moment to be his girl. I was so elated to see him, to hold his hand, to be affiliated in anyway with this amazing man seated next to me.
After dinner we were invited to come to the community hall where we wrote wishes on paper lanterns and sent them into the sky.
Some of them went into trees.
That night was the peak time for Perseid Meteor Shower, and the dreamboat and I tried to catch a few. Unfortunately, I saw one massive one, and he couldn’t catch any. Fortunately, the shower happens every year, and I anticipate that he and I will have another chance next August. If I had my way, I’d watch the shower with him every year until our eyes drop out of our heads.
The next day we packed up, had breakfast, showered and got back on the bus heading to our next beach.