Donghae - Day Two

Trip Start May 09, 2007
Trip End Jun 15, 2007

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sun cruise hotel

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Day two started dark and dreary.  We arrived at breakfast to find toast and jelly, fried eggs, fruit and a strange cream soup with croutons - some thought it was potato but I thought it was chicken.  Our hosts came and announced that because it was raining we wouldn't be hiking to a waterfall as planned but would instead drive up the coast to see a captured North Korean submarine.  A different woman Rotarian joined us today (two of the six   clubs in Donghae are women only clubs) and she also spoke some English.  She is a unversity art professor. 

We started up the coast and marveled at the wild and undeveloped coastline.  We stopped at a  memorial consisting of the plane that President Lee, the first post-war President, flew in from Hawaii.  Next stop was a museum dedicated to reunification and finally we arrived at the captured submarine.  It is dry-docked next to a de-commissioned battleship which is the only one of its kind to be pulled out of the water.  We toured through the battleship and then shimmied through the submarine wearing our requisite hardhats.  Mr. Kim had taken a liking to Jon's camera and delighted in catching us coming through the sub. 

Next stop was the Sun Cruise Hotel, built on  top of  mountain as an exact replica of a cruise ship that was used by the owner of Hyundai to ferry South Koreans to North Korea to visit a national park there.  We went to the top floor and had an amazing view of the valley below.  Lunch was at the Country Inn, in the valley below, a little restaurant of  local reknown.  We sat crosslegged and enjoyed a tofu soup, crab on the house along with soju and beer.  Jon was challenged by Mr. Kim to eat some hot peppers with chili sauce which he did gracefully.  At any restaurant  where you sit on the floor, you take your shoes off at the door. 

At this point since it had stopped raining, our hosts decided it was dry enough to climb to the waterfall.  We headed for the valley and started up a beautiful path strewn with paper  lanterns.  When asked, Yun Jeong, our translator, said they were for Buddha's birthday which is the 24th of May and quite a big holiday.  We also saw signs with Rotary on them which warned people to be careful of forest fires.  Further up the trail, we came across a bridge to a Korean treasure, an historic Buddhist temple.  There were people here decorating the temple with lotus blossoms for Buddha's birthday.  We headed back down the trail and stopped for ice cream.  I decided to try something different and had a red bean ice cream bar.  It was delicious.  

Next we drove to a soybean factory  to see how soybeans are processed into oil, powder and other extracts.  The first thing we saw were rows of ceramic pots in the yard containing the fermenting soy beans.  We tasted a variety of soy products and  then amused ourselves with traditional skill games that were set up outside.  Especially funny was watching the men try the seesaw which in  Korea is used standing up and jumping simultaneously and flying higher and higher. 

From here we stopped at a roadside stand famed for its buckwheat pancakes and rice wine.  We toasted with the wine and ate a snack of buckwheat rolls and potato pancakes.  Soon we were back at the hotel with an hour to change and go to dinner.

It had started to rain hard so we drove the two blocks to the restaurant and sat crosslegged again.  Much to my joy, we were given aprons to put on.  This time the wok was filled with a mixture including chicken, cabbage and spices.  Soon the toasting began and a few more Rotarians came in - mostly Presidents and Presidents elect.  We were introduced to "shot and beer" drinks and did a few of these throughout dinner. 

After the meal ended, we were invited to the song room owned by one of our hosts to practice our Korean song.  We drank beer, ate fruit and sang a number of our favorite songs.  Mr. Kim sang Sweet Caroline.  We thought that the more he drank, the better his English got!  We returned to the hotel  around midnight with another 9:30 breakfast call. 
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chkwag on

Happy Mothers Day!!!!
Morning Nancy, Your mini diary is wonderful. Hope everything is as wonderful as is written. Mothers Day was beautiful. I had Mom, Dad and Jean over for dinner. I had filet, it was wonderful and easy. We go to Eagles Mere this weekend hopefully the weather holds out. Keep up the good work. Love, Carol

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