Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jungmun Beach (and other things that make me happy)

This is Jungmun Beach.  More on it in a minute.

Some weeks are better than others.  This last week was one of those better ones.  It started with the realization that my small school has a ping-pong table upstairs and quite a few teachers ready and willing to play with me.  This has helped instantly improve my relationship with almost all the teachers at my school and has provided the kids with some quality entertainment at lunch.

This is not related to the current topic at all but look at this crazy, ubiquitous tractor they use here.

This led into a bright sunny weekend where my friend Jason and I joined a gym.  He wants to learn how to lift weights and i'm more than happy to teach him.  Besides it's a good excuse for me to get back into shape too :)  To top it off, a Quiznos just opened here. Our post workout meal there was a delight few can comprehend who have not been without their native food for at least a year.  Even though it's 30 minutes away from my home, it's safe to say I'll be visiting there frequently.

Now good as the week had been up til then, Sunday was the pièce de résistance, a visit to Jungmun Beach.  Jungmun is the best surfing beach on Jeju.  It comes complete with soft sand, green hills, scenic views and huge waves.  A group of us went down at the peak of their power to try our hands at bodysurfing. 

I thought i'd bodysurfed before.  I was wrong.  The difference between riding normal waves and these, was like the difference between a waterpistol and a shotgun.  Many times I was standing in water less than a foot deep when suddenly an incoming wave would break 4 feet ABOVE my head.  When that happens you get thrown around completely beyond your control and you just hope A) I don't hit anyone  B) I don't swallow/breath too much water. 

Here are 6 of us (plus a very brave kid) waiting for the wave to break

And here we are literally 4 seconds later

When the waves were slightly smaller, say only breaking around head/shoulder height, we would jump into them and ride them to shore.  My personal record for the day was around 40 ft off a single wave.  30ft I hit routinely.  (Note: my personal preference is to ride in on my butt with my legs out.  Anything else resulted in me getting badly scraped up and bruised).  3 hours, a multitude of bumps, contusions, injuries and a nice sunburn later, we headed home.  And I can't wait to go back :) 

For now here are some more pictures and a video of one of the smaller waves we encountered.  If you are reading this by email, you might have to go to my actual blog to see the video.  For everyone else, enjoy!

Notice how powerful both the initial wave and the undertow are.  I saw retreating waves drag people 30 ft out (until the next surge hit)

sandy wave

racing back out to catch the next big wave


This is right before they made us get out of the water because the waves were getting too big

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