Tongyeong’s downtown is delightfully gritty. While the crowds are drawn to the mural village and recreations of Admiral Yi’s “Turtle Ships”, the alleyways hold the true gold of Tongyeong. The people here are very much alive and very different from big cities like Seoul. The people of Tongyeong know what it takes to survive and it is written on their wind-carved faces.
“What are you selling there?” I ask the store owner.
Oysters,” she replies.
“Are they good?” A smile crosses her face.
“These are horrible. They’re grown in pens. These,” she points to another pile, “are delicious. They’re natural. Straight from the ocean.”
There’s a simplicity to her. She loves sharing what she knows; an honest woman who makes an honest living.
I enjoyed seeing the life in Tongyeong. It is refreshing to see people not simply commuting. That coupled with the scent of the ocean that fills every street in the city makes Tongyeong a really special place to visit.