Memorial Weekend Run to Geoje Island
The weekend started with the theft of a 21 speed mountain bike. When the Yellow Jackets rolled in to kick off their inaugural run in Korea, the police were parked in my driveway. Somebody nicked my bicycle from my patio that morning while I was at work.
We didn't let the little thief dampen our spirits. We mounted our bikes and began the ride south.
The weather was pleasant and none of us had been to Geoje Island on bike before. There is something surreal about pulling into a small Korean fishing village on a quarter million dollars worth of machinery, with strains of Pink Floyd's, "Money," streaming through the speakers.
After a brief meal and a short stay in a Love Motel, we rode out to the Geoje POW Memorial.
The exterior of the park was more imposing than the interior was. In typical Korean fashion, the park had been turned into a theme park, complete with zip line ride. What should have been a somber event in memory of those who died for freedom, was transformed into a children's outing with snowcones and corndogs.
We ended up being the main attraction in the park. We were approached by many people who wanted to know our history, ask us about the bikes, and for the older Korean citizens who remembered the war, to thank us for all that we did.
It is always humbling when someone comes up to thank you for your service, especially when you are in a foreign country.
There were some somber dioramas at the park, and tucked down in a corner at the end of the tour were some actual remains from when the camp was in use.
Outside the park was a fountain. This sculpture made me feel as though the subject was enjoying his first taste of freedom under a spring rain.
After the POW Camp, we rode to Windy Hill. The smell of bbq ribs and seawater combined to trigger sensations of hunger. We built on that feeling with a climb to the top of Windy Hill.
I am not sure when the idea to build a windmill in Korea struck the local nationals, but it was quite the tourist attraction.
At the base of the hill, merchants were selling salted fish, seaweed, periwinkles, and other tasty snacks. We waited to slake our hunger until that evening's BBQ, provided by Waegook Travel.
The inaugural ride for the YJMC was certainly a memorable one, and I am glad they invited me along. I think it would be a great idea to make Geoje Island an annual event. There was so many things to do there, we barely scratched the surface. Waegook Travel offers tours and fishing trips there, so contact them on Facebook, if you plan to visit the island. http://www.facebook.com/WaegookTravel?fref=ts
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