My Miraculous Birthday: Sea Parting in Jindo

Yo everyone, I just turned 27–WOOO! To celebrate my birthday, I decided to get out of Busan and have a birthday adventure. So, I packed my rain boots and my birthday flask (no I don’t have a problem–good booze is expensive in Korea) and hopped the bus to Jindo.

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Photo courtesy of the wonderous Lindsey Hansen (she’s in the yellow boots)

I know a lot of my followers are Americans and right this moment are going: “I’ve never heard of Jindo,” and waiting for my hipster traveler sigh while I point to a map. Jindo’s an island on the southwestern edge of Korea. And the most important thing to know about Jindo is it’s famous for having adorable puppies. Yeah I might have shrieked “PUPPY!” whenever I saw one…
jindopuppy

However, this time I was there to see the Miraculous Sea Parting event. Due to weird tidal variance stuff (I’m an English major–look it up if you care about the science!) the sea actually separates for an hour. And you can walk across the ocean floor to a nearby island. I’m serious, the ocean parts–we’re talking Biblical “the ocean went away and you can walk on dry ground” parting. Pic4
I am very disappointed that this isn’t a more well-known festival, just because I want to see Americans loose their shit describing it.

Now, back to what you really care about: my Jeannette adventures! I caught a bus out of Busan with a crew of other expats and got to the festival around 2 pm. The sea parts at roughly 6pm, so we proceeded to explore the unique cultural offerings of southwestern rural Korea. Which means drinking, eating, and eating while drinking. For added fun, the local wrestling team had decided to host a fundraiser at the festival. Being intelligent kids, they realized that nothing entertains drunk people better than violence and public humiliation. So, they staged a wrestling tournament between random people at the festival. There were also a couple random guys flying around in what can only be described as a redneck’s dream vehicle.

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Lawnchair + giant fan + wings = flight!

While watching random people get knocked on their asses, my friends also went shoe shopping– for bright orange thigh-high boots. Because I’m cheap, I used my own rainboots. A choice I would live to regret.

After we got bored of causing trouble at the festival, we headed over the the start of the Sea Road. It looked like the rest of the ocean, aside of the giant marble statue of a Korean grandmother. Legend states that the sea first parted because ancient villagers forgot their grandma when they fled to the islands–and left her to eaten by tigers. So the sea god took pity on her and caused the ocean to part–allowing her to get away from the tigers and, I assume, kick the ass of her kids for forgetting her.

Around 6:00, the Sea Road was officially open–which meant that the water was about ankle/calf high. I started walking through the water, which remained about ankle-high as I got further and further into the ocean. I noticed a bunch of Koreans digging frantically in the exposed mud–apparently it’s a once-a-year opportunity to harvest some tasty shellfish in that area.
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About 20 minutes later, the sea had completely parted. Which meant that I was walking on a gravel road in the middle of the ocean–plus a bunch of unhappy starfish.

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I’d somehow lost my people in the middle of my “OH SHIT COLD!” boots flooding–yeah, told you I regreted not buying the thigh-highs. That meant I was alone while trying to race the tides and make it to the island at the end of the road. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it in time.
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I did manage to get a selfie before the Korean patrol chased me off with threats of: “We aren’t going to rescue your dumb ass, leave now!” So I reversed and tried to dodge the increasing puddles and watery ditches of doom in the path. I made it back to shore with plenty of time, and wet up to my knees.

About 8 pm, we piled onto the Enjoy Korea bus and headed to our hotel. We had a 2-hour bus ride to our hotel, because the following day we were scheduled to explore the green tea fields in Boseong. Being considerate and sober people, HA, we decided to have an impromptu Bus Sing-A-Long, which is commonly known as a No-Re-Bus among Korean ex-pats.

We got to the hotel and our group of 9 ladies decided that one of our rooms was the Sleeping Room and one was the Party Room. Which means I spent the rest of my birthday playing cards, drinking beer in our hotel room, and then chilling on the beach, drinking the rest of my whiskey, and making inappropriate jokes with random people.

BIRTHDAY, SUCCESS!

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