After leaving Yeosu, we embarked on our two to three-hour journey towards Macheon Village (마천마을) to see the terraced rice fields. On our way we decided to stop at a rest area. What a beautiful place this was! The area was a lush green and the sky was really heavy with rain clouds! I haven’t seen a rest area like this before, so Kristen and I decided to walk around and enjoy the fresh air before we jumped back in the car to continue our journey to Macheon.
I wasn’t sure how much money was left on our hi-pass card, so I wanted to go through the cash lane, but I didn’t pay attention and came to a slow but quick stop in the hi-pass lane as we were exiting the highway. A car came roaring to a stop behind me. I pulled off to the side as I ran through the hi-pass gate without enough money and gave a bow and I’m sorry to the driver who was behind me. Needless to say he was an angry man who gave me the stank eye and roared off.
A toll lady came running up to the car and asked if she could help. I told her how I had run out of money for the pass and needed to put more money on it. She took my card and cash and reloaded the hi-pass for us. She came back with a receipt and told us to have a nice day. Talk about awesome service! Although I can hear my mom after reading this, “Why the hell weren’t you being more careful? You could’ve been in a fucking accident!” And look at me now, I’m fine.^^
And off we went to drive through the winding roads to Macheon Village located in Jiri Mountain National Park.
The ascent up the hill was very slow and hard on our car. It was really grumpy after I overaccelerated trying to go up the hill. Then at the top of the hill we saw a small rest areas so we decided to let the grumpy car take a break. We jumped out and started exploring the area and enjoying the cool air and scenery. An older man came up and started talking to Kristen and I in Korean. After our little chat was over we headed back to the car to continue our journey to Macheon.
While we were driving through Macheon we pulled over the car a few times to take pictures. It was a cute countryside town, which made me miss my first home here in Korea, Gangneung.
While we were driving we found terraced rice fields, but they weren’t the rice fields that we were looking for. They were a rich brown color and looking at them I couldn’t help but wonder how much prettier they would appear in summer.
As we were about to give up on finding the terraced rice fields, we came across the real ones on a large stretch of road heading out of town.They were really pretty especially since the sky was heavy with rain clouds. There is something about a storm coming that makes the scenery nearby look more beautiful. We hopped the barrier to get better pictures of the real terraced rice fields (마천다랭이논).
As we weaved through the back roads of Jirisan National Park we stopped a few times to admire the scenery. Living in the city makes you realize how much you miss seeing green everywhere. It was really nice just to be surrounded by nature for a few days.
Kristen decided that she wanted to stay in a nicer hotel than the night before, and I agreed. So we decided to stay at Hotel Armani when we arrived in Jinju (진주). The hotel was super nice and cozy for the price we paid. Sometimes it really is worth splurging a bit to have a better sleep for the night. We decided we’d go out have dinner and grab a drink to relax. After aimlessly circling the block three times we came back to the first restaurant we saw.
The waiters in the restaurant were super friendly and helped to cut our meat at the table. Normally, this service can be hit or miss, but its nice when it does happen. We decided to eat salted pork belly barbecue for dinner. The meat was really thick and delicious! We grabbed a beer after dinner and then off we went to bed. Before we left the next morning, I booked us a Hanok style hostel in Gyeongju(경주). As we pulled out on that rainy Sunday morning, I hit the cement pole in the parking lot. I took a photo to send to Heegyu. I apologized and thankfully he wasn’t angry about it since the car is old. I affectionately decided to call it a , “love dent.”