Wednesday 30th March, 2011
The last couple of days were spent me being lazy. Monday I basically stayed indoors and updated my blog and put up my photos. On Tuesday the girls and I went to the Grand Markets in Daedong. On the way there, we stopped by a new two dollar shop which had opened. I was in LOVE! I think we all were. The two dollar shops here are very good. You find some amazing products, both useful and just damn straight weird, like a clip you put on the end of your nose to make it pointier. I ended up buying $25 worth of stuff. I bought all these cute greeting cards and stationary. I love collecting these. Back home I have a box full of them. I used to go into China Town in Sydney and buy up big! I also bought Monty a cute little blue polo t-shirt. I will definately be going back there. Geez I love shopping in Korea We spent about 40 minutes in the store, when finally, we managed to pull ourselves away and started walking towards the Grand Markets. Although they had alot of variety, I found most of the stalls to be abit expensive, especially the shoes. I ended up buying a couple of tshirts and that was about it. There was a nice pearl headband, which I was interested in, but it took the sales girl forever to get a price on it, that I think in the end, I was just over it and I took it as a sign that it shouldn't be mine.
Today (Wednesday) Tiger, Barry and Emma were flying back to Sydney, so Jenny and I decided to just do our own thing. I wanted to get out and about on my new wheels, but didn't really know where to go. Daniel suggested I go see the Shellmound. The reason why tourists come to South Korea (not!) Well, I thought.... it sounds interesting.... boring even. But it would be an easy ride. It was sort of close and for what it's worth, it would be something to write about on my blog. Or tell someone who would listen lol. I left the hotel around 10.30am and got my bike from the front desk. The girls were kind enough to let me park my bike inside the hotel so I wouldn't have to bring it up to our room every time I use it. I ensured I brought my trusty Changwon City map with me and off I went. I took my leopard print backpack and inside I had my awesome Nikon D7000,a bottle of water, a diary, some muesli bars and my phone, which I'll have to buy credit for on the way back.
To get to the Shellmound I basically had to ride straight the whole way. Eventually I would reach a sign saying LG and I would then turn right. The Shellmound is located just opposite the LG Factory. The ride there itself was smooth as I did mist of it riding on the footpath, but on some parts of the road, you are forced to ride on the side of the curb. I hate doing this. It freaks me out every time. Even though the cars and trucks aren't really near you, it's still too close for my liking.
Along the way, I stopped and took some really nice picturesque photos of the area. The trees are blooming now that were coming into spring and it's just such a beautiful sight. It was still early in the morning, so there wasn't a lot of traffic or pedestrians around, just how I like it. I love seeing the city wake up. I passed several parks, and one in particular had a big fountain with a cliff as a backdrop and dolphins dancing in the front of it. Opposite was another smaller fountain with the planet earth rotating. The fountains didn't have any water in them, but I imagined it would look amazing and relaxing to look at. From the fountain park, I had to cross an intersection, which just freaked me out. I made sure I looked left and right and left and right over and over, even when I was riding across the road. Scary! Korean drivers are scary.
I can say, I made it safely across, continuing on with my trip...
I made good time. I'm going to say it took me around 40 minutes to get the the Shell place. I wasn't too sure exactly where I was going, but, if you make some landmarks your pit points, then you should be alright. Worse comes to worse, just show a local the map and hopefully, they'll be willing to help you out. I pulled up the the gate entrance and looked around for somewhere to park my bike. I found a good, sturdy looking tree to claim as mind for the next hour. I thought this place would be in a more secluded area, but it wasn't. It was just off the main road. It did however, have a long, steep driveway. I started walking up and came across a welcome board with some information about the Shellmound. I then continued on, following a trail, which led me to a Buddha, looking out into the factories below. I took a few photos, then went over to the garden. It was so beautiful, with the white flowers in bloom, it looked so heavenly.
I had abit of a rest amongst the bamboo. As I had a snack, I noticed the bamboo trail and went over to have a look. Stepping down the stairs, it opened up to a pathway guarded by bamboo. I was really impressed by the Shellmound! It reminded me of Kyoto in Japan when Daniel and I were there last year in October. We wanted to go see the Japanese monkeys and to get to them, we had to walk through this labyrinth of bamboo. It was just so amazing. I couldn't wait to show and tell Daniel what I'd discovered.
The bamboo path, led me to the entrance of the museum so I though I'd have a look, seeing as I was here. I wondered inside and two little koreans scared me! I wasn't expecting anyone to be here, because up until now, they were the first people I'd seen at the mound. They were really cute and friendly and gave me a Korean/ English brochure to read. The museum was only tiny, like a two level town house. It displayed some artifacts they'd found, such as broken pieces of pottery, when they excavated. The Korean natives used bone as work tools and utensils. I said goodbye to my little Korean museum keepers and headed back down the steep drive way and back to my bike.
On the map, it showed that if I went straight across and over (so the opposite direction from where i came in) I would eventually come to a rose garden. I thought how pretty it would be and it deserved to be admired. It was actually much closer than what I thought. As I got closer, I noticed the gates were locked, so I chained up my bike, put my backpack on and walked around the the other side. I saw a couple of people inside the gates, having lunch on a bench. I managed to open the gate up as it didn't have a lock and wondered over to them. It was a man and a lady (husband and wife I assume) and they seemed to the the rose garden caretakers. When he saw me, he got up and started saying something to me in Korean. I did my best shoulder shrug at him and said 'English, English' as I crossed my arms. I thought to myself, 'ohh noooo, I've trespassed!!!' so I said 'photo, photo' as I showed him my camera and he did a forward motion with his hands- I'm thinking that was his way of saying 'yeah, go ahead' lol I have no idea! But atleast he didn't chase me out the gates!
Unfortunately, the roses were not in bloom, but as I walked around the garden, I noticed he had planted a variety of different roses, with a faint sign with a picture and rose name, I'm sure this would be a lovely little flower wonderland once they all flourish. After a few photos, especially one of the little cupid fountain (again, there was no water in it) I cross the playground and jumped back on my bike.
I headed back into Changwon City and I realised I'd been on this street before. I was on the same street we took when we went to see the Bulgoksa Temple. I basically did a big circle! I was so proud. I am now familiar with my bearings and confident it will be hard for me to get lost haha!
Before I went back home, I stopped in Changwon to get some phone credit for my phone. In South Korea, from what I've experienced, you can't buy phone credit on the weekends. I tried getting some on Saturday, but the sales guy told me to come back on Monday. Which I didn't, but anyway, here I am now. So I asked him for W20,000 worth of credit and he got on the phone to arrange it for me, As I waiting, I thought, this was taking forever... without realising he was talking to me, I snapped out of my day dreaming and realised what he was telling me. Apparently, my phone was expired, so I would have to get a new phone AND a new phone number. Grrrr. I shouldn't complain. This was a free phone, compliments from Daniel's boss. So I laughed. It's all I could do. The sales guy laughed with me. Or at me. I'm not sure which one, but atleast he didn't make me feel like a complete idiot.
It's now 2pm and my legs have had a pretty damn good workout. Time to head home and eat my spaghetti ramen noodles.