Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hot and Tired

If you tried to read my previous post and were confused by the bit about my computer troubles and comments; me, too. I guess to the blogging adage, "never blog angry", should be added, "never blog jetlagged". Anyway, I'm still having computer trouble and am wondering if or when it will be time to get a new computer.

I don't know if I am still jetlagged but I am definitely tired. I understand that I am now in a place where day and night are almost perfectly switched but KwandongAlex doesn't and has had either too much sleep or not enough. In some of his waking periods, he is cranky and almost asleep. Although we had started giving him half his calories in solid foods (are yogurt or stew solids?) it is easier to give him a bottle during this transition so he is stepping backward somewhat.

I'm not sure if I will take him to the beach tomorrow. He learned to like the water in Canada and here enjoys the waves breaking over his feet and sucking him seaward but finding a place to change him into dry clothes is such a chore that I finish as hot and sweaty as when I arrived at the beach.

Changing topics now, what is the deal with the awnings at the beach? I arrived while they were setting up this morning and took a prime spot before the workers arrived to set an owning up. They told me (politely) to move and I simply told them no. They tried to explain to me that the awning was to go over the place I had selected and I should move or pay them the rental fee. I continued to say, "no" and once tried to explain that I felt in a public beach, the rule was some variety of first-come, first-served. Eventually they stopped bothering me and left.

I respect that they rent awnings to beachgoers that want them and I would never crowd or bother others using the awnings. Still, if they are licenced or officially permitted to work on the beach, do they really get to take the prime spots and make frugal folk take places further from the ocean? Am I the only one who finds that weird? Do Koreans really accept being treated like second-class citizens on public land?

Possibly this is a similar situation. I originally felt that Koreans were not sticking up for their right to safe riding conditions on buses. The Scribbler (Metropolitician, podcast #3), in a podcast, explained that, in general, Koreans accepted the rough driving as the price for faster service and I realized I had been narrow-minded. Is there an anagolous explanation for beach conditions?


lao-ocean-girl said...

I asked a Korean friend about this subject, because we had brought our own umbrella to use but were told to move it further back. We tried to argue that it was a public beach. The Korean friend asked the workers, who said they rent out the beach during the high season. So, the workers are paying the city to use the beach and make the money back by renting out umbrellas and inner tubes. We still didn't like it very much, but at least we understood why.

kwandongbrian said...

They actually rent the beach itself? I just figured they had a vending permit or something like that.

I find that hard to believe - I trust you and all that, it's just incredible to me.


lao-ocean-girl said...

Hey I could be wrong, but I think about it this way. If it was cheap and easy to get a permit, why wouldn't there be more vendors on the beach? I'm sure they have to pay "something". How much, I don't know.

skindleshanks said...

Ok, here's the scoop on the local beaches: whoever is operating any sort of beach business has paid a fairly handsome sum (in the millions of won for the one-month season) for the right to do so. That said, with the outrageous prices they charge - for everything - they can make a very decent profit if the tourism crowd is good.

Not everyone who wants to can set up on the beach, though. They have to participate in a lottery, and less than one in thirty (or more) actually win the right to run a business there. It's open to local residents only, but I'm sure many work the system, entering for relatives and friends, etc.

For some things, such as parking fees, you usually can have the fee waived or reduced if you can prove that you're a local (city) resident. However, when it comes to umbrellas and such, you can choose to be stubborn (I think you do have that right--check with city hall), but the general view is that if you're a local, you're expected to support the local economy by letting your fellow citizens fleece the tourists. Most locals I know avoid the big name beaches during the month of tourists and head to the other "secret" beaches. For example, there is a nice beach just south of Sokcho Beach, near Oeongchi, that is smaller, less populated, and more family-oriented. It's probably NOT the best place to go if you want to ogle. It is open only during the summer, and closes at 6 pm, but there's good swimming, lifeguards, and plenty of places where you can sit without renting an umbrella (although there are umbrellas for rent). Locals park for free, out-of-towners pay 3,000 won. There are several other beaches like this one in and around Sokcho, and I think this is where most Sokchoans spend the days when our beaches are taken over by tourists.

My brother-in-law is trying to pay his own way through college and possible study abroad if he can afford it (he's a tourism major), so we're thinking we might join with him and enter the lottery next year at Hwajinpo beach, and provide some of the capital if he does happen to win. If we do win, Brian, you're welcome to set up on "our" beach anytime! 8)

kwandongbrian said...


Thanks for the offer. I've only seen hwajinpo in the off-season but it looks like a great beach.