August 10, 2010

the surf ... (Jeju pt. V)

(This is the fifth part in the multi part Jeju Island saga.)

Our luck with weather changed on the final full day we would spend on Jeju. Good thing as well, it was beach day! Our hostel owner told us to catch the bus down to the Hyatt hotel on jungmun beach. According to Kevin this was the best beach on the southern coast of Jeju, because all the 5 star hotels were on it. His logic seemed pretty sound, I didn’t argue. We decided to take advantage of these hotels; one of them had laid out umbrellas and beach chairs. We gladly relaxed in style and pretended to be hotel guests. The chairs and prime beach location was more than probably only for registered guests of the hotel. We took advantage of the fact that a Korean employee would probably never confront us to ask us. I noticed some wary looks from a couple of the staff, but they were distracted as they had to run after guests attempting to tackle the water.

   (This sign is a perfect example of Konglish)

There were people surfing about 70 feet offshore, the waves were breaking nicely. Along the shore the waves would break and send water splashing 7-8 feet into the air, they were the most violent waves I’ve ever seen. I stood wishing more than ever that my knee was healthy. I would have had a blast in that water, I would have come out with bruises over my entire body, but it would have been worth it. Instead I sat down in the surf, and I was still able to appreciate the power of the waves. The riptide was incredibly strong; it would spin and slide me down the beach, in only 6 inches of water! When I stood up I had a couple pounds of sand in my board shorts, which was easy for me to dump out. The girls in their bikinis however, looked like they crapped themselves as the sand weighed down their bottoms.

The beach was cordoned off in sections; the swimming section of the beach had the most active lifeguards I’ve ever seen. It seemed every half hour or so they were pulling people out of the waves. It was surreal how many people couldn’t handle the tides. I think the lifeguards got tired of rescuing people and forced people to swim in a very tight area. This section of water looked like a moving yellow fungus, there were inner tubes everywhere, people were almost literally swimming on top of each other. Thankfully we were sitting out of earshot of this calamity; our adopted hotel was a couple hundred feet down the beach. It was almost like it was our own little slice of heaven, it was peaceful. You could sit and only hear the sounds of the waves crashing into the shore.

I pushed my knee way too hard after the beach. I walked along a path that winded its way up and down along the coastline without my crutches. I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could... ... I really couldn’t (I'm not a fictictous train). My knee was killing me, for the first time on the Jeju I felt I had overdone it. The rest of the night wasn’t the most pleasant as I was tired, hot, and hurting.

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