Two hour bus ride leaving at 8:30 am...at the bus station in Andong we run into 3 Danish folks just coming from Happy Guesthouse
so they tell us where we can catch the bus, what #, and where to get off. Real fun chatting with them while they are waiting for their bus to, of all places, Gyeongju, ha! They too have not seen many western travelers/tourists...mostly Asians. We tell the bus driver the name of the guest house and after 1/2hr ride he drops us off and points up the cross street, "Happy Guesthouse"! Walking up the street for several blocks we see no sight of the place so we head back to the corner to try a different path...looking across the street what should stare us in the face, a big sign "Happy Guesthouse" right on the corner! Only the cleaning lady is in speaking little English but managing to let us know it's ok to stay and showing us the room (a large one with mats on the floor & blankets).
She also gives us maps and shows us where to get bus #46 to Hahoe Village, the reason we've come here. Leaving our bags we catch the next bus and an hour later we are there. Walking into the village who should we meet, Cor and Laura?! We knew that they were in town and staying at Happy from emails between Bon and Laura but the village is not so small and so it still was quite a coincidence. They were heading to the mask dance at 2 pm so having an hour we continued our exploration of the old village. 600 years constantly inhabited by mostly the same family & relatives (70%), the site is also UNESCO recognized as representing native culture so it has been preserved as such with so many e 200+ residents living and working here.
---Info on Hahoe Village
Well worth the price of admission this time, we got back and saw some of the mask dance but Bon & I tired of it sooner than Mari, Cor, and Laura so we left. Bon had lost an ear ring on the way to the dance so walking back to see more of the village we searched unsuccessfully for it before giving up and resuming our explorations. We attempted to find the 600 year old tree which supposedly stood near a pavillion constructed in memory of one of the inhabitants who enjoyed sitting and looking at the cliffs across the river which circles the village. Alas, to no avail we reluctantly gave up having found a much younger tree in the approximate location...I concluded the original had died and was replaced. Later we found out that Cor, Laura, and Mari had indeed found the original and had also taken the ferry across the river to climb the cliff for a view of the entire area.
After giving up on the tree and being very hungry ss well as thinking we aught to find Mari and the rest we headed to the bus stop hoping to run into them but at least locate some food. Neither happened although Bon did find ice cream to tide her over and I had an apple with m we.
Waiting at the bus stop Cor and Laura showed up and said Mari was looking for us back in the village! We waited until the bus came, no Mari. Cor & Laura left to return to the guesthouse and we returned to the village but still no Mari in sight. After waiting til the next bus (40 min.) we decided to get on this bus back to the guesthouse and who should beon it, Mari! She claimed she was looking for us but Bon had walked the 30 minutes to the village center and back seeing hide nor hair so??
Back at Happy we reunited with Cor & Laura, went to a traditional dinner in a restaurant near the market (see photo) Mari having none of it (she went out and got a bag of potato chips)!
Then back at the GH we encountered Joel, another Dutch fellow, who taught us a Dutch card game played similar to bridge but with only 32 cards, 7s and up. After struggling with the rules (which Joel admitted change from town to town in The Netherlands! ) we enjoyed a number of practice rounds then few "real" ones before Cor gave up to go out and have a smoke. A super good discussion followed regarding, what else, the state of the world!?!
Turns out much of the same things which are causing problems in government and society in general in the US aee also the case in Holland! The one difference Joel commented on is that the Dutch still trust their government whereas the US majority do not. Perhaps a valid judgement, who knows but the fact remains many governments world wide are moving to the right and doings so to maintain control of the populous which is increasingly fearful of where we are headed. Not, in Joel's opinion, because there is more to fear (war, terrorism) but the instantaneous dissemination via media of every act and perpetrated violence anywhere on the planet! The stress of it all every day is affecting our judgement to such a degree that we begin to believe things are worse but in fact, no different from 20-50-100 years ago! Another possible valid argument.
Anyway, enjoy talking and sharing ideas...humans are not so different wherever we travel. Language tends to separate us more than it should.