We got turkey from the army base near Itaewon.
There was way too much food for the size of the group (as Christmas dinners should be), so I got to take home a pumpkin pie. The world is a wonderful, wonderful place.
Joy was there with a hat she got from one of those places (Baskin Robbins, Paris Baguette, and I forget which others) that always have a
dumb awesome hat contest.
Chris in SK was there, with his hilarious girlfriend, as were a bunch of Dan Grey's friends from the Seoul Eats meetups, and Kelly NameChangedForPrivacy made an appearance as well, as did an old coworker whom it was great to see.
Then, Girlfriendoseyo and I hopped in a car and started driving: we were heading down to Boseong, for the Tea Fields there, where every Christmas they string the tree plants up and put on a light show. We drove all day, stopping for an early dinner in Jeonju, home of the world's best bibimbap, where they threw more food at us than we could comprehend, and had the best yukhoe (raw, minced beef - traditionally not a favorite of mine, but I'll make exceptions) I've eaten in a long, long time.
The lights were nice. Strangely, the closer we got to the lights, the nicer they looked, and the were definitely the prettiest when we were right out there, walking around in the middle of the field.
Thanks to a botched reservation, courtesy of Roboseyo the dumb, whose Korean (lack of) skill still leads to the occasional snafu, and sometimes makes him feel like a noob, we got stuck out in Boseong with, literally (she checked) not a single room for hire within a forty kilometer drive. We drove to Suncheon, where there was one hotel room open in the entire town, and that thanks only to a cancellation (this is what happens when you travel inside Korea on holidays... especially on years when all the red letter days fall on Saturdays and Sundays)
(Here's a video of the lovely lights of Boseong, and Suncheon bay. Keep reading for more on Suncheon.)
But we found a place to crash. And you know how food tastes way better when you're starving, and there's a chance you won't eat the next day? Well dear readers, when you're worried that you'll have to spend the night in a skeezy 24 hour jimjilbang near Suncheon Bus Terminal, or crammed into reclined bucket seats in the car, waking up once an hour to run the engine and warm up the car... then even a simple room in a business hotel seems like a luxury suite. Oh, yes it does. And yeah. The irony was not lost on me, that we were driving around Jeollanamdo, and there was no room at the inns, on CHRISTMAS night. I'm also sad to report that we didn't see any shepherds, and no angels appeared.
On Saturday morning (the 26th), we woke up early enough to check the weather reports: it called for snow on Sunday, so we decided to drive as far as we could on Saturday, rather than do the lion's share of the driving in bad weather. Thanks to some sweet sleuthing, some good luck, and another cancellation, Girlfriendoseyo once again found us a place, one town over from Boryeong, and this one was pretty sweet. It was a beach condo, and it was an amazing, gorgeous place to say... except that whole below freezing thing. (it was cold and windy. Pretty, but bad beach weather).
However, before we headed out, we got a chance to meet up in Suncheon with Brian in Jeollanam-do, in Jeollanam-do. We had a nice hanjeongshik meal with Brian and his fiance, who's just wonderful, and I'm happy to report that Brian's a wonderful guy, and the in-Jeollanamdo's, as a couple, are adorable. Girlfriendoseyo liked them the first time she met them, last Christmas, and this year again, we had a grand old time. We'll look forward to the next opportunity to hang out with them.
After lunch, Girlfriendoseyo and I headed out to Suncheon Bay, which Girlfriendoseyo told me is spectacularly beautiful.
It was crowded, crowded crowded (cf: famous places in Korea, Korean holidays)
And this poor girl was there. She'd dressed appropriately... give or take twenty degrees celsius.
I nearly froze my camera and my fingers taking pictures at first (it was beautiful bobbing in the breeze... but cold), and then, climbing the hill to the Suncheon Bay observatory, I was sweating in my winter gear....
but the photos were worth it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, worth it.
from the observatory
The water reflected the amazing blue sky.