Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Woman at 와온 수퍼

It was one of those rare days in the province here today:  the skies were clean and blue.  It was the perfect day, as can be seen by the image below, to use the circular polarizer filter and the red filter on the camera today. 

와온 수퍼
© Mark Eaton

I'm going to talk about the woman who worked at 와온 수퍼 today, because it was she who made the day a great day.  However, I will introduce her in the proper chronological order of the events of today.

I took the day off from my other business today for the simple reason that I can do that.  My wife was with colleagues in Gwangju, so I took the city bus to Waon Beach.  Both the 97 and 98 buses travel from Suncheon to Waon and back.  I use the 97 bus, because it is convenient to my home.  For those who are adventurous, take a look at the Suncheon city bus schedule here to find the best locations to depart.  It is easy to know when the bus has arrived in the village, because it runs along the sea.  Take careful note where the bus stops are located since not all the bus stops are obvious to a visitor.

I chose to get off at the market that is shown above.  There is a bus stop across the street for the 98 bus that is very obvious; however, this market stop has no sign or bench to clue a visitor that the 97 bus stops at this location.  

After using the public toilet, I made ready my gear and walked to a couple of different docks to photograph Suncheon Bay.  I am conducting a longitudinal study of the working side of Suncheon Bay as opposed to the well known tourist locations, and I was able to compose a number of scenes that just might contribute to the study.  Recently on my website, I have presented The Boats of Suncheon Bay, which is that part of the study that shows the vessels used by the fishermen to harvest seafood.  To see The Boats of Suncheon Bay, please visit my site  here.

Today was Thursday...a working day for the villagers.  There wasn't a tourist in sight; no couples with matching wardrobes, no little children running around aimlessly, no one carrying a little dog with pink or blue highlights.  It was a workday, and everyone was working.  Below is an example of my work for the day.  It might be a nice addition to the longitudinal study.

© Mark Eaton

In Suncheon, it was hot.  In Waon, with the wind blowing from the sea, it was much more pleasant.  Even so, after a few hours I was becoming hot and tired.  I walked from the old dock to the market mentioned above.  The only person present was the woman working at the market.

She eyed me carefully as I gave the traditional Korean greeting.  I bought a bag of original chips.  After receiving the change, I asked her where a restaurant is located.  She gave no obvious hints, but her previous suspicions were seemingly swept away as I spoke in Korean.  She replied that there is no longer a restaurant in the area.  I said that later I would be hungry, and I was looking for a place to eat.  I responded in the affirmative when she asked if I wanted to eat something.

The woman promptly walked to a large pot and retrieved two corns on the cob.  She put them on a plate for me to take to an outside table in front of the market.  I pulled out my wallet and asked her how much I need to pay.  She waved me off and said this is what she normally eats daily.  She gave me a cool cup of water, too.

As I ate the delicacy of corn, I watched the woman complete some of her outside duties.  Her work was thorough, and to her delight, it was with water.  She sat after a short time, and we commenced talking.  My Korean is far from decent, but she was patient.  With some deliberateness, I made attempts at humor; she laughed.  Topics, wide ranging.

The owner of the property arrived in his black car and parked in the covered area especially reserved.  The owner, an elderly man nattily dressed, scowled mightily as he exited his vehicle.  He ignored my traditional greeting.  The woman must have seen some sort of facial expression of mine, because she laughed heartily.  The man later made a comment about my large wide brimmed hat, and I caught him off guard when I responded in Korean.  We got along passably well after that.

I asked the woman about the arrival time of the 97 bus during the 4 o'clock hour.  She said 4:20, and sure enough the bus arrived just a couple of minutes after 4:20.  I thanked the woman for her kindness and said that I would see her later.  

In a rural working area, a person went out of her way to be kind and decent.  I was moved.  I never assume here that I will receive something for nothing, and I always have my wallet at the ready.  It is always nice to meet nice people.   

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