Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So, I bitch-slapped a jellyfish

I mean there's more to the story.  Although, just keeping it at that could be fun, too.

Anyway, so this past weekend, I went to Geoje to hang out with one of my friends who will be leaving soon.  I left my high school and walked to the subway station.  I grabbed some food at Shinsegae, because Mama's gotta have something in her tummy.

As I was eating my orange sesame chicken on the terrace, I spotted a gaggle of way-gooks come up the escalator.  Now, there are two different types of way-gooks in Busan.  The word "bunch" describes group one.  Whereas, "gaggle" can only describe group two...and geese.

Type 1.  The seasoned Busan-ite who either lives or works here.  You can tell who these people are by the giant hiking back pack OR no pack at all, sandals or flats, and a subtle awareness of knowing we are foreign. 
Type:2. These people have their Nikons hanging round their neck, money belts not so skillfully disguised under loose fitting Hawaiian shirts, tennis shoes, and a complete lack of awareness that they are the other OR complete and utter awareness that they are the other.  Both responses have them swiveling their heads from side to side like that rollie chair that your mom had for her office that you weren't allowed to sit in because you'd break it.  Yeah, that one.

Right.  So, this gaggle of way-gooks crosses my vantage point.  It was a hilarious moment.  I watched as 4 middle aged couples maneuver the escalator.  They stood right at the top of the escalator to decide what they would do next.  While stopped, Koreans ninja-ed around them, throwing scowls and natural bemusement at these people who cannot figure out how to handle themselves. Several threw furtive glances my way, and as I was about to walk over to help them out, no shit out of my seat, one woman tossed her hands in the air, turned on her heal, and entered the basement of Shinsegae.  Everyone shrugged their shoulders and followed her. 

Now, the revolving door at Shinsegae is huge.  Each of the three partitions could probably fit Clay Matthews, AJ Hawke and Ryan Grant comfortably.  But, in the States, the revolving doors are so small, you go through one at a time.  So, each of these people wait for their own partitions, much to the chagrin of all the Koreans queuing behind them.  After about 1 minute 30 seconds, the whole gaggle is in the store (the first woman impatient as all hell).  Then, the Koreans start piling through the revolving door 4-6 at a time.  On the other side of the glass, the way-gooks face palmed at the ingenuity of going more than one at a time.  They all guffawed about their silliness, while everyone else was plotting different ways to kill them, and I just quietly giggled.

That was the start to this adventure.  I took a subway and then a bus to Geoje.  I have been so immersed in my book that I took in absolutely zero surroundings.  When I disembark (which is seriously the antonym for embark....I thought it was too clunky, but alas, never lies, right?) the bus, I spot my friend Louis.  We wait at the bus stop for our friend, Daphne, to collect us. 

Daphne arrives with a tag-team of awesome Jenna and Jen.  We fuel up and catch the next bus to Gujora Beach.  When I commented to Daphne, "Oh, wow, there is a lot of coast here."  She sort of looked at me like a corgi always looks--head tilted to the side--, and said, "Well, Katie, it is an island." 

It was at this point that I mumbled and looked away.  It was a comical moment.

Our bus snaked around the island for about 45 minutes.  We passed giant shipyards and sunken beaches.  Finally, we arrive at the last stop.  We just had to cross over a ridge, go through a mildly sketchy part of town, then descend to the beach.

Once there, 3/5 of us went into the water.  I am a sucker for water.  I feel like Poseidon could have been my father.  I went in and under right away.  The salt water burned my eyes, my throat, my hair.  It was such an amazing feeling.  Jen, Daphne, and I swam out towards a smaller island in the distance.  About halfway, Daphne bid us adieu, and it was game time for Jen and I.

We didn't know each other, really at all.  We had met briefly, and I was super intimidated by this woman.  She is tall, beautiful, and fabulous.  The middle-schooler in me shrank back in fear that she wouldn't like me, but the adventure seeker in me said, "Put a sock in it, Insecurities.  I wanna go to that island."

We started swimming towards this island.  It was about 500-700 meters away depending on the diagonal.  I had been rocking the lifeguard approach stroke, but then my arms felt like they were going to fall off, so I switched to breast stroke.

Jen and I were talking about life experiences and whatever one talks about while swimming to a rocky shore.  I commented about how amazingly blue the water is.  About 130 meters from the shore, I could still see my feet as if I were looking through glass.  I pushed into the glide motion (rocket ship) of breast stroke, and I smacked into something less solid than rock, but more solid than water.  I looked down into the water and it looked like a clear swim cap full of water. 

It took me a split second to register that clear swim caps do not hang out in salt water.  Then, I screamed--like a child.  I freaked the hell out.  With a chorus of "Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!" I sputtered over towards Jen.  I explained that I just bitch-slapped a jelly fish in the face and that I was terrified that she would get her tentacle-y revenge.

She said, "Oh, yes, Gujora is known for their jellyfish population."

"Budegabah! What? Now is the time y'all let me know?  Aw, shoot."

At this time, we were only about 100 meters from the island, and I was too skeered to go back and face the Jelly, so we pressed on.

I am so glad we did, because we finally reached the island and pulled ourselves up on the rocks over the zebra mussels.  (Neat! Now I have blood to attract the sharks that are just jonesin for my sweet Wisconsin blood.) We scrambled about this giant rock pile, taking in the greatness that surrounded us.  The isthmus of land, the other bay, and the mountains enclosed us in this perfect time and place. 

As we surveyed our landing, we spied two sea caves.  We had to cross a small water path to get onto that island. Jen and I found a pretty good spot to start climbing this rock face (a solid 10 meters off of the water).  We boulder scrambled over to the caves and just took in their abyssal beauty.  We wanted to swim in them, but then decided against it for fear of being swept with the tide.

As we traversed back to shore, we simply marveled at what we accomplished.  I thought of the privileged life I live surrounded by so much fantastic beauty.  It really makes me think of how humans can possibly make something so amazing more perfect.  Then, I realized, we can't.

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