I don’t exactly relish bus travel, but I still find it impressive that there’s buses running from everytown to every-othertown, every 5mins. This travelator is a neat thing for sorting yr shit out. I just wish they had toilets. Ten minutes after getting on I start obsessing about how I’ll need to go to the toilet in half an hour, imagine wetting myself – and all kinds of crazy head-screws.
So I just went the jaunt to Wonju, an hr east. Checked the skanky little bus terminal there and then jumped on another headed for Gangneung, although you say it gungnung, and really it’s written: 강 릉 — but then that thing that kinda looks like a digital 2 is usually an ‘L’ or ‘R’ — so go figure. I’m starting to realise that the transforming of mouth-sounds to 2D lines is as subjective and impressionist as painting.
The mountains actually start to look like mountains out along the way – a spot called Pyeong Chang — so a nice chap, business man from Uljin – daughter studying lingustics at the university of sydney, tells me that it’s getting the winter Olympics in 2014. By looking in the book I found out that Uljin, further down the coast, has 4 nuclear reactors so I might go visit sometime.
It was like a breath of fresh air getting off the bus in gangneung. No humidity at all, just a cool/warm spring ocean breeze. I got directions and caught buses for a while, but as often happens, as soon as the guided-by-PT bit finishes, I wander off in one direction or another and have no idea where I’m going. Like Columbus. I wound up in — of all places — E-Mart-uh, having udon noodle for lunch and resigning myself to the possibility that I might not see the sea at all. A little boy, obviously distraught with my chop-stick handling, brought me a fork.
[Conversely, I find it amusing to see folks using forks here. They’re given as standard with the dish, pork-uh cutulet, and I often see people hold it with a fist in a dagger-stabbing grip.]
I eventually did hit the coast, afterall, it is one whole direction out of 4, got the shoes and socks off and dipped in to the east sea. Bloody cold. Not much of a swell either, but dang nice to see a marine horizon again. The sand was much grittier than australian beaches, but then I wasn’t sure if they’d have beaches there at all.
There is a national fear of something crawling up out of the sea and laying waste to the air-breathers. So they put large fences with razor wire along most of the coast. Also there’s dug-outs ready for machine guns.
Gangneung is a really nice looking town – they actually have some architecture – and trees along the streets. It gets some tourism in summer. Military jets were tearing holes in the audio-landscape the whole day. I got the non-stop bus home, driven by Elvis, which only took two hours.