Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Events concerning Steve's first night of camping at Pyeongdae Beach:

Warm welcome. Upon landing at the beach at dusk, within 30 minutes several older women ran over to Sherrin and knew about her being the first Western haenyeo and The Jeju Big Swim. Their warm smiles and kind hearts were genuine.

Help from Mrs. Chae. Soon after the above photo was taken, Sherrin was picked up by Hyun-mi and taken to the Maze Park for sleeping. A big thanks to Mrs. Chae - responsible for cooking all the meals for the Maze Park employees, looking after the guest apartment, its occupants, and keeping it clean - for providing a number of Sherrin's meals and help with her skin ailments during the first three days during her stay at the Maze Park.

Police wake-up call. With several villagers in the shadows, I attempted to set up my star-framed tent, but realized after the previous evening's tent take-down for KBS and ensuing rush to get home, it wasn't disassembled properly and was completely twisted and not worth the effort. My sleeping bag went on the sand next to the kayak, and my tent's rain flap served as a blanket (picture below taken at dawn). Soon after falling asleep about 9 p.m., I heard some commotion, got up, put my glasses on, saw a policeman's flashlight near and red lights from his vehicle far in the distance. He was shocked seeing a white man sleeping on Pyeongdae Beach, and left without creating any hassle.

Things that go bump in the night. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I wasn't dreaming. I was awoken again by people around. I wasn't threatened, so I ignored it. I heard pictures being taken, the flash of the camera. Away. Finally, alone. Up early and looking around. By 3:30 a.m., there was an old woman keeping watch over me or just watching me on the closest rock. Another woman joined her soon after. Jeju tribal reactions toward foreigners: a glimpse into the past, and alive and well in the villages.

Morning goodbyes. After examining all the garbage I was sleeping next to, Sherrin and I loaded up, and a man was screaming from shore about 6:15 a.m., giving us an X sign with his arms. He said - with limited English - "waves." Swimming and kayaking out of Pyeongdae, it was as flat as a United States Midwestern cornfield.


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