Monday, May 3, 2010

Bridge, Beach and Breeze Burns

Gwangan Bridge is the second longest bridge in Korea.  Nicknamed in English “Diamond Bridge,” it stretches 7.42 kilometers (that’s just over 4.6 miles for us Americans) over the Sea of Japan.  On Sunday morning we had the rare opportunity to venture across the bridge, as part of an organized walk.

We begrudgingly left our apartment at 7:30 am, and taxied our way to the meeting area.  We had overdressed for the event, having been blessed with the perfect weather, about 70 degrees and sunny.  After locating the registration tents, we received our event numbers.  Our Canadian co-worker had never “worn a number before.”  We were entertained.

Here we are pre-walk.  Of course we represent the Oregon Ducks even on the other side of the world. : )

To warm up for the event, two scantily clad young women stepped onto a stage and led the crowd in a group warm-up. 

After loosening our joints, we joined (what is apparently universal) the usual sardine bottleneck to embark on the walk. 

Korean dancers provided some entertainment for the 12,000 walkers beginning the journey.

Being near the end of the group, we had a clear view of those who had taken the path before us.  With skyscrapers as a backdrop, walkers stretched as far as the eye could see.

We stopped to take various pictures that we’d be unable to capture from any other vantage point.  From atop the bridge, we saw both Haundae and Gwangali Beaches, which were gorgeous.

A band provided musical entertainment as we neared the bridge's off-ramp.

 Deciding to continue our walk, we split from our friends, and headed to the same Gwangali Beach we’d admired from the bridge.

We settled on lunch at Breeze Burns, a restaurant across the street from the beach.  We were told we would have to wait an hour for an open seat.  Luckily, a mere ten minutes later we swooped in on the perfect patio table.  This was our view.

We shared a well-deserved chocolate milk shake and French fries as appetizers.  

Following that, we split an A.T.M sandwich, consisting of avocado, tomato and fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic and Dijon dressing.  We also shared a yummy lettuce and veggie salad, topped with grilled, rosemary-seasoned chicken and hard boiled eggs.  The camera battery died after the milkshake arrived or I promise there would be pictures.

After our delicious lunch, we debated what to do next.  It’s only 1:30, we thought!  And on a Sunday!  Sadly, Sundays are often spent nursing a Soju hangover, or we are too busy taking advantage of the opportunity to sleep in to get moving at a reasonable hour.  But today we felt invigorated, and were happy to see the day still remaining in front of us.

We headed across the street and laid on the beach to relax.  We soaked up some much needed sun, and caught wind of some English speakers’ conversations.  Did you know that if a British man/woman says a member of the opposite sex is “fit”, they are calling them handsome?  Now you do.  The people-watching at the beach was also fantastic.  Apparently Korean women wear high heels on the sand.  At least fifteen local women were spotted in such footwear.  It looked painful.

Meanwhile we got to gaze at the beautiful bridge we had just walked across.   

We are already anticipating the fireworks that take place over the bridge in October.  Between now and then there will be much more time spent at the beach.

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