I was scheduled to meet my friend in Ulsan for the weekend before heading out to Jinae’s Cherry Blossom Festival.
After being given strange directions to get to the main area to exchange my confirmation number for the KTX ticket, I missed my train completely by 10 minutes. People looking to travel to Korea should know, that while many other things are not in a timely manner, the transportation system here runs ON time!
After standing for about an hour and a half and being asked to move as the train employees were pushing beverage carts through the different cars of the train, I finally arrived in Ulsan’s train station. I then boarded a “limousine bus” (think charter bus) to take to my friend’s neighborhood. I thought Los Angeles drivers were the best at being the worst on the road, this man, took the trophy leaving everyone else behind. Quite literally. A few customers who were looking to be dropped off at certain stops, were completely ignored and the bus driver had to stop in the middle of the road and let them out. (something i had never seen before in my life!)
But after landing semi safely, I met my friend Melissa!
Ulsan consisted of a walking tour, a bus ride through the entire city, going to two of their downtowns, and searching aimlessly for “Toolbox” (the local burger joint…we were craving American food!)
It did the trick..a little bit of home in our mouth! Heavenly.
Some new friends and I went to Ulsan’s local bar. I suppose every bar is the same, however when you walk into a foreigner bar…it is very entertaining. You have a few groups…the English speakers louder than the entire bunch..you have the intermediate English speakers mingled in with the foreigners group. Then you have what I would call foreigners…Koreans who are looking to practice their English with Native English Speakers. These conversations usually start the same. “Can I sit here?”
“Sure, hi, what’s your name? I don’t speak English well..i want to learn and speak better”
While I admire those people who come straight out of the gate and are honest about their intentions, I still have not gotten used to hearing that. Needless to say, we had one that hung around probably far longer than he should have. But it was a great night meeting new people in a new area and getting out of the daily same nothings.
The next day we were headed to Jinae for their famous Cherry Festival. I’ve never seen such a sight. The place was flooded with people…and I mean PEOPLE! as soon as we got off the bus we expected to see many other people who came with other groups to check out the festival..what I wasn’t expecting was seeing full size pig being cooked, vendors who were cooking restaurant style but serving in tents. Intense smells and sounds..both lovely and some I could do without. The most interesting part that my friends and I seem to notice, were the amount of partnered up pedestrians walking, not so many with cameras, but with selfie sticks. There were plenty of people pulling out these things like it’s nobody’s business…quite entertaining to say the least. The day was mostly spent trying to get through the crowds and stand there long enough to get some great pictures.