Rough Guide to Korea

Bogildo Magic

 

I knew two things about Bogildo Island before pulling up to it on an old Korean ferry: it was covered in pine trees, and compared to the other West Sea Islands Norbert Paxton wrote of in the Rough Guide, it was a ”well-kept secret.”


Boats to Bogildo

One of my professors in a first-year university class told us that writers are lucky.  Through the process of recording and thus reflecting on our experiences, he said, we get to “live twice.”  Somehow September has appeared and the Coco Busan blog is still riding the Coco July Vacation wave, as I’ve got an island called Bogildo to show you, a magic beach called Yesongri, and a tea plantation I hiked up into on the final morning of my week away. 


Where the Lava Flowed: Manjanggul Cave

Ever since I found myself belly-worming through an increasingly dark and unexpectedly narrow crevice in a cave in Vang Vieng, Laos, a few years back, I’ve been sketchy about spelunking.  Something about the cold, damp walls pressing in on both shoulders and the inability of the local boys guiding us to clarify how far the exit was gripped me with my first-ever claustrophobic pang.  Probably the worst thing you can think of during a moment like that is the possibility of an earthquake, but that of course is what crossed my mind.

“Dude,” I remember saying to my friend Melissa, who was edging her way forward on the ground behind me, “I don’t like this anymore.”

“Me neither,” she said.  “Keep going.”


Island Hop

 

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It’s nearing 3 a.m. here in Busan, and my bags, books, and beach mat are almost fully packed.  Five months after landing in Korea, and immediately embarking on a full-time, Monday-Friday gig teaching short-vowel sounds to tykes– the week-long summer vacay has arrived.  About a month ago I splurged on The Rough Guide to Korea (I highly recommend) and have enjoyed every second getting lost in its maps, descriptions, and region-by-region highlights.  In the end, deciding how best to spend eight days cruising around the country wasn’t hard–I’m an island girl at heart.

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