Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Busan to Sokcho
25 May Busan to Sokcho
7am. First time in a week we are and running early. By 9.30 we are boarding a bus bound for Sokcho. The bus trip took six hours although we hardly noticed the time, both of us lost in thought, dozing or enjoying the view of the coast and towns we past.
Reading other travellers blogs often takes the guess work out where to go, stay and what to do when you arrive in a new place. Within 30 minutes of arriving we had our accomodation and directions to find the ferry terminal. Our accomodation is a backpackers by the name of 'The House'. The owners are perfect hosts and speak english relatively well. WIth a place to sleep all sorted we grab our papers and head for the Dongchun Ferry terminal. The attendants at the ferry terminal are very helpful and not without a sense of humour - albeit a bit dry! With bookings in place and a time to return the following day to uncrate the bikes we leave in search of food - anything but noodles!!
26 May Sokcho Bike uncrating
It still amazes us how helpful and friendly the Korean people are. Sokcho is a place under construction, the city centre is all relativey new and ther is neww apartments and motels popping up all over the place but dig a little deeper and take a few of the back streets and allies and you find a place a little lost in time and possibly struggling to keep up.
With breakfast of cornflakes and toast out of the way we eagerly head out the door in the direction of of bikes. Upon arrival we are escorted to a warehouse and ther sitting side by side are our 2 crated bikes. Both J'ean and I are relieved and happy to see them. It seems finally something had gone right and to plan. For the next five hours we unpack and assemble the bikes and gear. At 2.30pm we leave and return to 'The House', to make a quick list of the groceries we will need for our ferry crossing and a day or so on the road in Russia. Finding the local E Mart (large supermarket) was an adventure all of its own, involving alot of walking, map reading, a hand pull ferry and backtracking. With the shopping completed ther was no way we where going to return the sam way we came and so opted for a taxi. After a few minutes of the standard arm gestures of pointing and trying to show on the map (our being in english - duh!) were we wanted to go, the driver got the idea and we headed back.
The people you meet at backpacker places are always interesting. We meet another american, two germans and a czech guy. Guess what? The Czech knew where Napier/Hastings is and had worked in Hastings for Hopkins Joinery for 2 years. We have all heard it before 'the world is a small place'
Tomorrow ferry day :))))
27 May Sokcho - Dongchun Ferry
With another good breakfast in us we head back to finalise our passage to Zarubino, Russia. We have to be back at the terminal to load our bikes onto the ferry at 3.00pm. In the mean time I need a coffee, J'ean thinks I'm addicated to the stuff. If you are a coffee drinker you will know that the world just does not rotate the same way until you have had your morning cup.
Returning to the terminal at 2pm so we are not late, we are happy to sit and people watch. At 3pm we are lead to our to our bikes and at which point we can ride them onto the ferry. Returning to the terminal we again wait until boarding time at 5pm.
About four hours into the trip a friendly, maybe a little intoxicated Russian makes idle conversation with us, non of which we understand. With many arm gestures and limited language skills we manage to communicate on a basic level. Now we are friends Sergey, his name, wants to hold a toast and proceeds to pour the contents of his cup equally into ours. J'eans first taste of Russian vodka and I dont think anything could have prepared him for the shock to to his taste buds that he experienced. If only I could have got a photo! Declining any further drinking we head for ours bunks. Russian hospitality is not so easily declined as he finds us and brings with him 3 bottles of rice wine. A few more small toasts and Sergey is happy and leaves up to sleep - whew!