Sunday, March 17, 2013


One of the things on my Korean bucket list was to go to a small island (or 3) off the coast of Goeje (which is itself an island). Oedo, a botanical garden island, is still on my list, but I wanted to wait until the weather was nicer for that one. Spring is starting and when we went to Busan 2 weeks ago (well 3 now but 2 when I originally wrote this post), I saw flowers out. So I decided to go to Jisimdo, aka Camilla Island.
Welcome sign when you get to the island
I had heard about it from a friend who went during the fall and said it was pretty even without the flowers. I hoped there would be some out, but was semi-prepared to not see any. I went even though it was still cool because the next 5-6 weeks are already full and by late spring the camillas are off the trees in Jinju already. Dallas went with me and we followed bus directions from another friend which turned out to be wrong, so we sat at the bus terminal for about 30 minutes. Luckily we stopped off at Paris Baguette on the way, so we ate breakfast salads at the bus terminal. We both fell asleep on the bus and got there around 1ish. I didn't know exactly where we were going and Dallas was hungry, so we went into a Top Mart, which is basically a grocery store, to get some snacks. A clerk there was super helpful and spoke really good English and gave us directions. Of course we got them slightly wrong, but we found the port eventually.

We then had to wait for about 30 minutes or so to get our ferry. We weren't really sure what we were supposed to do, but another nice man showed us where to stand and we just followed his lead. We had to fill out boarding cards with address and phone numbers and stuff on it, which was a first for me here. I had heard that the inside of the ferry wasn't very good and that there was a really loud narrator who gave history about the island in Korean, so to stand outside. Well the outside isn't that large of a place and you get crazy hair (which I was expecting) and also hit pretty badly by waves/mist. We stood at the back of the boat for most of the trip there once the boat picked up speed and started to really splash us. The trip lasted maybe 15 minutes and you could see some of the coast line and other islands. It was really pretty.

Island coast line - all the islands looked rocky like this, at least in the areas we passed
Dallas was cold
The two of us standing at the front before the big waves hit
This is what my hair looked like for about 15 minutes. It didn't look much better after I got off the boat either.

When we arrived at the island, we hopped off the boat and immediately had to walk up a steep walkway. Then there were paths that led in different directions to different parts of the island. We took the one that didn't require going straight up.
One red camilla and a small white camilla bush - these were popular picture areas as there weren't many other flowers
There were lots of cool trees and vines, but not many flowers. Dallas swung on some vines and freaked me out because if the branch had broken, he would have fallen down a fairly steep hill. He then told me to go into some weird vines because they looked like my hair. I got stuck in them and he took pictures while laughing as I tried to get out.
Me in the vines
We walked for a long time and found a place to eat, but the one place didn't have seats and the other ran out of food. So we got smoothies and weird herbal cookies (they had flowers on them but tasted like butter cookies). Then we walked some more.
Kimchi pots near the one restaurant
The best parts were toward the end of our path when we had some pretty scenic views of the ocean and some cliffs. Dallas yelled at me for not being aggressive enough to jump in front of Koreans at a certain picture spot, which happens a lot. Then we walked back down the same path because it was getting late and we weren't sure of the rules for the ferry home.
Coastline from the end of the island back towards the middle

This was my favorite spot - it was a little open area and no people were there but it had great views
Me sitting on a wall overlooking another island. It was a little hazy so we couldn't see that well, but there were other islands all over the place.
Looking straight down from the wall I was sitting on
My hair looked like this all day. I brought a brush but after 5 minutes of trying to get the knots out, I gave up and just left it. Dallas tried to be nice and say it looked curly messy. I actually looked homeless. But I get stared at anyway, so whatevs.
When we got back down, there was already a huge line for ferries. A man handed us another ticket as a way to count people I think. We listened to music on Dallas's phone while we waited in line and watched Korean babies do funny things (except for the one kid who took a header down a cement hill). We had to wait for maybe 45 minutes (3-4 ferries) before we got on one and we sat inside this time. The sun started to set on the way back and it was very pretty.
We were in the end of the line when this picture was taken - it went up a hill in the bottom right corner.
Sunset starting from the helipad (aka where we waited in line)
Cabs in Geoje suck, but luckily we knew which bus number to take to get back to Okpo. Unfortunetly, we stood on the wrong side of the road and had to wait for a second bus before we went the correct direction. I did recognize the stop though and we got off at the right place. The bus filled with dock workers while we were on it so we were ready to get off! Then we went to the Mexican restaurant that I went to a month earlier with Corinne. I had a burrito and he had tacos and we both had beers. I was dehydrated so my beer hit me pretty hard. We talked with the server/owner/chef (not exactly sure what he does) who lived in Seattle and Florida for awhile. I told him I was from Atlanta and we talked about the aquarium which I thought was kind of funny.
Dinner aftermath
After dinner we decided to go home. There was a bus coming in the next 10 minutes, so we skipped going to the foreigner market. A really nice lady named Gina helped us find the bus. She works in Geoje but is from Jinju and goes "home" every weekend. She gave us her business card in case we go back to Geoje and need help.

When we got back to Jinju, I went home and showered and had a snack and Dallas went home and did who knows what (actually I think he did laundry). A couple of hours later I went over and we played Catan and had tea then watched X-men 2. I was very tired and fell asleep before it ended. Even though the island wasn't what I had hoped it would be, I am still glad that I went. It was really nice and now I know how to get to the port for my next adventure!

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