IntheLandOf The Morning Calm
So, how did our seven-day South Korea holiday go?
AIRPORT TO AIRPORT
Cold air greets us as we make our way to the immigration counter at Incheon International Airport.Lines are already forming as we proceed to get our passports checked. As we need to catch our next flight to Jeju Island, the first stop in our holiday, we make sure we have all the documents ready before making our way to Gimpo International Aiport.
Thank goodness I had arranged for a later flight, otherwise all four of us — Mom and Dad, my little sister and I — would have to dash around like mad travellers.
At Jeju International Airport, Joanne, my Korean friend, who is also a Jeju native, greets us with bags of locally-produced tangerines and their famous hallabong, a variety of the mandarin oranges. Her gesture makes us feel more welcome. After a brief exchange, she shows us to our car and introduces us to our driver, a happygo-lucky ajushi (or uncle), who insists I call him Johny.
The seven-seater car is big enough to ferry us and our bulky luggage around. At around 200,000KRW (about RM800 for eight-hour service) a private taxi service can be pricey but considering we’re travelling in a group, comfort and convenience are more important.
We don’t do much sight-seeing on our first day in Jeju as it’s raining. We check into our hotel to freshen up before heading out again to meet Joanne for BBQ dinner, a must-have when in South Korea.Joanne has booked a table for us at a relatively new BBQ restaurant that serves the famous Jeju black pork. Again, Joanne extends her warm hospitality when she offers to pay for our dinner.
Surrounded by nature, Jeju Island remains one of those places where it’s unspoilt by pollution. Everywhere you go, you’ll be amazed by the natural beauty of rock formations, flowers, trees and mountains.
As it starts to drizzle on our arrival at the Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan, a kind-hearted grandmother and perhaps, daughter-in-law, invite us to go into their humble stall and stay as long as we have to. I love how these locals are always so welcoming and treat us like one of their own. Perhaps it’s my attempt to speak Korean that warms their hearts or maybe that’s just who they are ... people who are genuinely nice.
Lady luck smiles on us again as our trip in Busan is made extra special with the blooming cherry blossom trees. Just right across the street from our guesthouse is a long stretch of public park, where cherry blossom trees line up both sides of the road.
Romantic is perhaps the right word to describe how it feels to see tiny petals of the cherry blossom are carried by the wind and gently laid down on the ground.
Anyone who has watched that South Korean hit film thriller will definitely remember how its lead character tries to outrun the zombie apocalypse. Rest assured that Busan is quite a relatively safe city. Not a single zombie in sight, just plenty of picturesque scenes, friendly people and easy access places.