I had a really long weekend recently and decided to take a short personal vacation. I headed off to 강원도 a province on the north-eastern edge of Korea. It is famous for the mountains and beaches, but I was just looking to get out of 서울. All of my long-distance travel within Korea has been by train or car, so I decided to take busses this time around. I boght a ticket for 강릉 and settled in what turned out to be a 4hr drive. It should have taken around 2~3 hours, but I guess everyone else had the same idea! I was hoping to speak as little English as possible on this trip, and since I was travelling alone, I stood a pretty good chance to getting to do just that. When I got to 강릉 the first thing I did was find a PC방. When travelling in Korea, it’s always a good idea to go there first. I used it to get my bearings in the city using Naver maps, and try to locate a good 찜질방 to spend the night in. With all my information, I sat out to get a taxi. I wanted to practice a particular pattern in the real world, something new from my class: It works out to “what’s a good thing to…….?” or “what’s the best way to…….?”
So, I started my conversation with the taxi driver:
저는 강릉에 처음이라서 뭐 하는게 좋을까요?
This is my first time in 강릉, what should I do?
He responded by listing all the things that were on my tourist map, so I guess I had sucessfully asked the question. He recommended going to the beach, seeing some old traditional houses and temples, etc. And of course eating 회 fresh, raw seafood. So he dropped me off at the 찌질방 and I went off to find dinner. I stumbled across a 왕갈비집 a few blocks away. They were advertising one serving for 8,000 원. However, I haven’t had much success at these places ordering by myself. They aren’t so into that, and usually require that you order two servings. But since I was eating alone, I had to ask the 아줌마 about that:
안녕하새요? 혹시 혼자서 주문하면도 돼요?
Hello, excuse me, but is it alright if I order by myself?
She turned around and looked at me and imediately responded with:
돌어오세요! Come on in!
I ordered a mamoth sized portion of marinated pork with all of the fixings. It was delicous and I had a really pleasant conversation with the 아저씨 who was cooking my meal for me.
In the morning, the weather was looking pretty awful. I went to a convienience store to have some yogurt and juice and get a recommendation about what to do.
ME: 오늘 날씨가 안좋아서 뭐하는게 좋을까요?
Today’s weather isn’t so good, so what is there that’s good to do?
CLERK: 어린이날이라니까 어린이랑 놀았으면 좋겠죠?
Today is children’s day, so wouldn’t it be good to play with your kids?
ME: 사실은 어린이 없으면…
Actually, I dont have any kids…
CLERK: 없으면은 그녕 여자친구랑 지내 보새요
If you don’t have kids, then just spend time with your girlfriend.
ME: 근데 혼자서 왔어요.
I came here alone!
CLERK: 혼자서 왔군요. 그런데 바다에 가보고 경포대에서 구경해 보세요.
Oh you came alone. In that case, go to the beach and also do some sightseeing at 경포대.
I didn’t really leave that conversation with anymore information than before, but I headed to the beach. (The weather cleared up just a short while later) That’s where the picture came from! There isn’t much more to say about the trip. I also went to the nearby town of 속초. But I really enjoy travelling around Korea outside of Seoul. It is where I can really see the benefits of my Korean study.