Thursday, December 23, 2010

A bridge, a POW camp, and some sushi

Today has been a long one.  I started my day at 5:40 am with a trip to the gym.  Thank you Gym Lady for putting on some Mariah Carey Christmas music.  She only had two songs, but it was enough Christmas to get me going.  I spent my morning at school reading magazines and trying to catch up on the news in America.  After lunch, all the teachers boarded a large bus and we set off on our field trip (just teachers no students).  We drove to Busan and then drove on the newly opened Geoga Grand Bridge.  It was a pretty big deal.  It used to take like 3.5 hours to travel from Busan to Geoje Island, but we did it 50 minutes.  Part of the passage is a bridge and part is a tunnel that goes under the South Sea.  You can read more by clicking here.

Our first stop on the island was Geoje POW camp; I had no idea we were going to visit this place until we pulled up.  I think I could talk about this for quite a while, but I will try to contain myself.  

Welcome to the POW camp

We got off the bus and I was greeted with the sight of 16 flags of the countries that aided South Korea during the war.  Yup, there was Old Glory.   I have not seen an American flag for probably 4 months.  I, of course, got to hold the job of being the only American at the entire place.  I took a few moments just to stare at our flag.  There were quite a few older people there.  I wondered what their memories of the Korean War were.  The exhibits were really nicely done I thought.  Almost all the informative sign posts were translated in English.  I really appreciated not having to constantly be asking questions.  I am not really sure I can describe why I felt sad during our tour other than this was real.  This really was a POW camp; there were pictures of the spot I was standing in 1950s and now, same mountains, same layout.  The people walking by me could remember the major events of the war.  
What the camp looked like
One of my co-teachers stuck pretty close to me to explain about some things that were not translated.  As we strolled through the exhibits, we talked about our impressions of the war – she seemed surprised when I told her that I had learned about the Korean War in high school.  I also shared with her that my Grandpa had come to Korea during the war.  I think it was a bonding experience for us.  

I am hungry!
Overall, I am really thankful for the experience.  I learned some new things and I was reminded how blessed I am to be an American.  (click here to see good pictures and more info)

Then we went to a sushi restaurant.  As I was waiting for our food to come, I looked towards the kitchen area and saw a huge aquarium.  This was the real deal.  There were the fish that we were going to be eating.  Great.  Through a turn of events, I ended up sitting next to all office secretaries.  I was happy to meet new people, however none of them spoke English.  One of them had a translator on her phone, so she kept showing me what we were eating by typing in Korean and I would read it in English.  
You can see some fish and crawdad like animals
I ate sushi (I do not know if I will ever eat this again) a sea squirt, crawdads (I think it was a crawdad or a close relative), oysters (Also will not be eating these again in the near future) anchovies, and soup with a whole entire fish in it (This fish was cooked).  Here is the secret to eating Korean food: rice.  Koreans never go a meal without eating some rice.  So whatever you have to eat, try to mix with rice.  It makes life much better.  After dinner, we boarded the bus for our 3 hour trip home.  It was a good day.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun!! Not sure I would be all happy about the sushi and all, but the field trip sounds like a neat experience.

    Miss you!