I get off the bus at the green tea plantation in Boseong and look at the almost empty parking lot. What a sad look for a place that was packed with food stalls and people last year! Of course, last time I was here, it was the green tea festival. This time it’s just a normal, slightly overcast, weekend. What did I expect?
I make a beeline to the nearest shop window that sells ice cream. It doesn’t taste quite as good as I remember but I chalk it up to faulty memory, and the cooler weather today.
Once I get into the park, it looks less abandoned. People crowd the outdoor seating area eating ice cream and other food from the restaurant. I suppose the upside of fewer people is that there are fewer distractions in the photos.
I take my time, walking around, trying to look at things from a different perspective. What did I miss last year?
I discover a little trickle of a waterfall on a path that goes behind the hill. Hikers coming down the trail tell me it connects to the lookout point at the top. Abandoning further exploration, I turn around and go back the way I came. Last year, I hiked the stairs to the top of the hill and decided that once was enough. The breeze was it’s only redeeming quality. Visually, the halfway mark is a better place to stand.
Actually, I start talking to those hikers: three Americans working at the military base in Osan. We talk about our differing experiences in Korea and their plans for the future. I linger, after they leave, taking more pictures. Between a row of tea bushes, I find some wild strawberries.
My sister may be disappointed to learn that I did NOT, in fact, eat any. I capture them with my camera instead, then descend the hill.
I lie down on a bench and relax. Then snap a few pictures of flowers.
When I leave the plantation, my bag is full of green tea chocolate and cookies. I can’t resist buying another ice cream cone on my way out. This time, it tastes just like I remembered.