I was warned by a don from last year that it is really hard to get around Jeju-do without the use of a GPS. The roads, she said, are really confusing and they often made wrong turns and got lost. Undaunted, I decided to set off on an adventure this past weekend with the hope of finding a store called Hanaro Mart. You see, the school is pretty isolated and we've been busing/cabbing 40+ mins into either Jeju City or Seogwipo for any grocery or necessity shopping. I was hoping to find something more local that I could get to more easily via walking or cycling. After studying a map of the area, I thought I had a good idea of where to go and how long it would take to get to this mysterious Hanaro Mart. And so, Saturday morning, I set out.
Things did not go quite as smoothly as I anticipated. I realized early into my walk that the mapping software I had used was not as accurate as it could be. I should have used google maps, but I thought instead to try a different program. The mapping issue was the route of all my problems, I think.
Here is a map of where I was hoping to go.
|The original goal and rough map to Hanaro Mart--this map is not from the same mapping source I originally used and shows more detail than I had.|
|The roads were empty. I didn't pass many people either.|
It's 6 k, which honestly isn't that bad of a walk and should have taken about an hour, one way. Unfortunately, the first trail I was on wasn't really marked. It was more of a back-road trail and although it was really pretty, I walked a lot further west than I intended. Shortly after coming out on the 1136 I asked an older Korean woman, or ajumma, where Hanaro Mart was. I wanted her to point me in the right direction. She was very friendly and made wide gestures, but she also spoke to me in rapid Korean, probably giving me a lot of details, all of which were lost on me. Her gestures led me to go further west and I partly wonder if she was telling me to take the bus...
Anyway, I kept going and in the next 20 or so minutes, asked for directions a couple more times--one group of ladies definitely told me to get the bus, but I established that I wanted to walk.
|Beautiful (and humid-hazy) view as I walked.|
The next mistake I made was turning south. This one was all on me as I simply misplaced myself on my mind map of the area and thought I was still too far north. If it weren't for this mapping mistake, I probably would have made it. However, after I turned, I didn't run into any more people for 3 kilometers. By the time I found more people to ask (yellow-green dot on the next map), I was closer to the "next" Hanaro Mart than I was to my goal. Naturally, when I asked for directions, I was now directed further on.
At this point, I was continuing because of pure stubbornness. I really wanted to find Hanaro Mart. It was hot. I was really sweaty and I knew that despite the sunscreen I had put on I was getting a bit burned, but I really wanted to reach my goal.
|Map of the route I actually walked. At ~10k I turned around. |
Purple dots are Hanaro Mart.
At last I reached a city about 2 hours into my walk. Knowing that my initially walk should have only been 1 hour, I was a little confused. Where had I made the wrong turn? I explored the city for a bit, stocking up on liquids and searching for the elusive Hanaro Mart. In the end, after little success and after finding out it was 11h15, I decided to turn around. I wasn't sure how to take the bus back to Global Edu City and I would have to walk another 2 hours to get back to the school. In addition, there was a bus leaving for the beach at 2 and if I wanted to go, I would need to get back in time. So I set out the way I came.
|I could see Global Edu City and was depressed by how far away it still was...|
The sun was now a lot hotter, I was still extremely sweaty, and I knew I was definitely getting burned. Occasionally vehicles passed me by and I longed for them to stop and take me with them. I was so tired of walking. As I reached the 3 hour point (and 15k), a taxi came toward me. I must have cried out or looked at it with such longing that the driver stopped a ways from me. I didn't hesitate and rushed to the car. He understood where I wanted to go and not even 10 mins later I was walking up to my room.
I really did enjoy my walk despite the wrong turns and extra
kilometers, it was fun to explore the surrounding countryside. But I am so thankful that the taxi came along when it did, and even more thankful that he stopped for me.
Here's to more adventures to come!
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