Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Korean Massage With An Unhappy Ending

**Parental Discretion Advised**

J/K... but seriously. This is gonna get personal.

This week has been filled with injuries and pain. At taekwondo on Thursday (June 10th), we started learning (loosely translated) wrist grabs and falls... which is completely fun. There's something hilarious about a 12 year old who's 1/2 your size being able to grab your wrist and flip you to the floor. After that lesson we had some time at the end, so our instructor started teaching cartwheels and round-offs because next week he wants to teach back handsprings. WIN FOR ME. You would think with my 9 year cheerleading and gymnastics background this would have been a piece of cake... you would think. After the first few round-offs... I pulled my hamstring. FAIL FOR ME. The rest of the practice was spent having a massage from my instructor, then a massage from a chiropractor/massage therapist, a trip to the pharmacy for some Korean "Icy Hot," then a trip for some acupuncture. I should mention that I hate needles... almost more than I hate spiders. The acupuncture ended up being pointless because I was extremely uncomfortable.

So Saturday (June 12th), my cousin and I decided to have a "spa day" to help heal my injuries and unwind from the week. We found a cute little massage parlor a few blocks from my apartment. They were all so friendly, told us the prices were cheap (18,000 for a neck and back, 30,000 for a full body and facial), gave us amazing tea and even more amazing "gowns" to lounge in:

^^ adorable right? haha.

After we changed into our... things, we were escorted into a large room where naked Korean women were just laying around on the tables. That should have been our first clue to peace out. I was a little mortified, but once I laid down and got my facial I was completely relaxed (please refrain from dirty jokes, I know it sounds bad). Suddenly, 2 more Korean women came over to my table and pulled my gown off... like, completely off. So here I am, completely naked with mud on my face, having 3 Korean women beating the fat off me. Literally, rubbing so hard I'm surprised I still have skin.

I never thought I would get a boob massage from 2 Korean women. Funny enough, that's not entirely the most awkward moment. They had me stand up, walk to another room (still completely naked with mud on my face), and lay on my stomach. Cue 2 Korean women giving me a butt massage while the 3rd scalped me with her devil hands. The back massage was nothing compared to how the rest of my body felt... until they brought out the large rock to rub all over me. Now you may be wondering, "why didn't she just say no or ouch?" Well I did, and they just laughed and said "Cellulite Cellulite!" Stupid language barrier.

^^My back 1 hour after my massage. Now picture bruises like this all over my body. Oh, and remember that time I was told the full body was only going to be 30,000? Funny thing... it was actually 80,000 and the neck and back was 30,000.

Needless to say I wasn't feeling very relaxed after my massage. But the bruises and swelling are healing quickly, the soreness isn't nearly as excruciating as it was after the first day, it distracted me from the pain in my leg, and certainly gave me a hilarious memory.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm In Gamami Trick

This past Saturday (June 5th) marked my 1 month anniversary of living in Korea, and what better way to celebrate than taking a day trip to the beach! The girls (Kelsey, Bess, Megan) and myself packed up early and headed out around 8am to try and get there before the crowds. Thinking this would be an easy bus trip, we got off at the stop that everyone else got off at because we thought we had to...

You ever get that feeling that everyone is staring at you when you walk into a room? Well this was definitely more than a feeling. As soon as we walked into the shady McShadytown bus station, we were the center of attention. For the entire 20 minutes we were in the station, all eyes were focused on us. And it was obvious. Remember that one time I said using the vibrating belt machine was the greatest "awkward turtle" moment of my life? Well, I think this one topped it.

... So like I said, we were expecting this to be an easy bus trip. Once we bought tickets to our next destination, we were informed that we had to get right back on the bus we just stepped off. fail. We finally arrived at our destination (and we knew it was correct because we asked the bus driver every time he made a stop), we hopped in a cab and arrived at Gamami Beach (only after a little dispute with the cab driver because he forgot to turn on his meter and we waaaay over paid for that taxi ride).

^^shot of the beach and mountains taken while I was swimmin' in the Yellow Sea.

As I mentioned earlier, we left early in the morning to try and beat the crowds/get a full beach day in. Well, for about the first hour or so there was not a soul to be found on the beach. AWESOME. So after exploring the land a bit we set up our picnic area (picnic food consists of watermelon, apples, bugles, kimbap, and beer) and got our relaxation on. The majority of the day was spent sunbathing, a little swimming, wandering around the beach, and eating.

Kimbap is clearly an acceptable beach snack.

The above 3 are just a few shots I took from around the beach. As you can see... the beach was completely empty, the skies were bright blue, the water was warm, and the scenery was GORGEOUS. It was the perfect day.

"Crab Balls" = balls of sand made by sand bubbler crabs. They deposit their balls all over the beach (shout out EK).

"Sand bubbler crabs live in burrows in the sand, where they remain during high tide. When the tide is out, they emerge on to the surface of the sand, and scour the sand for food, forming it into inflated pellets, which cover the sand. The crabs work radially from the entrance to their burrow, which they re-enter as the tide rises and destroys the pellets."

I managed to sneak up on the nittany lion while he was napping. Unfortunately, I startled him and he ran off. Last I heard he was thinking about hiking Mt. Mudeung the weekend of June 18th.

Around late afternoon we decided to head back to Gwangju. The surrounding village consisted of a general store, a restaurant, lots of beautiful country scenery... and no taxi service in sight. Of course, everyone we asked for help didn't speak english but directed us to a seemingly abandoned bus stop. We camped out at the bus stop not knowing if a bus to wherever would show up, but just sort of hoped/discussed our next plan. Luckily for us, some other foreigners drove up and spoke significantly more Korean than the 4 of us combined, and were able to call us a cab. The cab ride/bus trip back went 100x smoother than our journey in the morning, and we were back to Gwangju in less than an hour. The rest of the weekend was once again spent cleaning my apartment/doing laundry/catching up on TV/taking too many naps. Until next time, friends...