We had a faculty retreat this past weekend in Taechon Beach. We left Friday afternoon and it took about 3 hours by bus to get there. Friday night we stayed at a condo-like hotel resort place. It was nice. I got my first true cultural experience. In the room there was a bedroom with a regular western style bed and the other room was empty. I did quite understand it, but later that evening someone explained that Koreans like to sleep on what is called a "yo" which is a traditional Korean style bed. Basically it is a fluffy mat not as dense as a futon mattress would be, but just as thick. I stacked two on top of each other and then took the comforter and laid that on top of those. It was quite comfortable! I thought it was really cool too. I took some pics of my bed that night....so check out the pics section. Saturday morning there were more sessions that the speakers had for us. Then we had to pack and eat lunch. The retreat was over, but there were quite a few people who wanted to stay one more night down at the lodge that the school uses a lot. At the lodge it was great. The rooms had 4 bunk beds so all the single ladies stayed together which was fun! That afternoon we had loads of free time to hang out, go to the beach, or take a stroll around the area. One of the middle school teachers who is Korean was going to the Korean mud baths there. After inquiring about them I decided to take the giant step outside of my comfort zone to experience another traditional Korean activity. The baths are seen as a social place where women get together and visit with friends. The catch to the whole deal is that all the women are naked. Weird at first I know, but I just stop over thinking the whole deal and just did it. Sunny was really nice about being patient with all my questions and inquiries. We had a great time! There are showers, a hot bath, a sea bath, a mud bath (muddy water) and a sauna. After we took a soak in each one and sat in the sauna, we took a cool shower to rinse off and then painted ourselves with mud. Then we just got to sit around and wait for the mud to dry a bit and let our skin soak all the good minerals and such in. Everyone seemed quite shocked that I liked it so much. Most people aren't as brave from what I gather. I just decided that God loves me just the way I am and I should celebrate that. It was a very liberating experience for me. After the bath, I went down to the beach, took lots of pics, and then walked around. It was nice to get out and breath in the fresh air. :) Taechon Beach is known for good seafood.....especially really fresh seafood. So a group of us decided to take a walk in search of somewhere to eat dinner. Most of the places look the same---they all have many tanks full of live fish, crabs, eels, and such swimming around out front of the restaurant. Many of the places also had the short tables where you sit on the floor. We finally decided on a place that had chairs and with the help of friends YunJin and Suzy who were kind enough to order for us. We had a crab like stew which the crabs were removed from the tank near our table shortly after we placed our order. To some degree this was a bit disturbing to me. I have no problem eating meat or anything, but I am not a fan of being able to look at it swim around becoming some what attached and then to see it get taken out of the tank to go in a boiling pot of water. I just would rather not witness the murder first hand. Then we also had all sorts of clams which we cooked on our table. My favorite Korean dish so far was also included which the name I have a hard time remembering how to pronounce, but basically it is a pancake like thing with veggies and such. This one also had seafood in it, most noticeably squid. Not really a fan, but was hungry so I got over the chewy quality of squid which I do not really care for. It was quite a pricey meal, but worth it. The crab was ok---really challenging to get out the meat. I did not like the clams---too chewy.
After dinner we headed back to the lodge and some folks went off in search of firewood for the campfire on the beach. We decided to have it on the "back bay" which is more secluded area and it was quiet. After getting the fire going we sang some praise music and relaxed. It was nice.
Sunday morning we had great breakfast that some of the folks volunteered to make----pancakes and bacon with eggs. Yummy!!! I really liked the pancakes. After breakfast people meandered down to the beach to hang out. I loved the bath so much that I went back for round two on Sunday just before lunch. I went alone this time and had a great time just being solitary. Nice, quiet, and relaxing. There were some older Korean women there, but it was not that busy at all. I felt so refreshed and healthy afterwards. A great way to spend a Sunday. Lunch came next and then the bus ride back to school...................
I had a great weekend.......the beach was nice and it was really fun to get away and hang out with people without being "on the hill". I took lots of pics so be sure to check them out.