Such Is Life: The Disappointing Trip to the Floating Island


Here I am at Seoul’s man-made Floating Island.  You may notice that I am giving the middle finger. Perhaps that needs an explanation.

My weekends are precious to me. How precious?  Remember how Gollum used to call the ring “precious” in Lord of the Rings and he’d get all kooky about it?  That’s exactly how I am in regards to the weekend.  On the rare occasions when my job asks me to come in on Saturdays, I nod politely and then spew an expletive-laden rant to the first person I see logged into Facebook chat.  And if nobody’s logged in?  I spew it to myself.  Weekends are made of gold.  I would happily trade five Mondays of my life for one extra Saturday.  Yes, I’d be shortening my life by four days, but it would be worth it because I’d be getting a Saturday in return.  Hell, who am I kidding?  I’d trade ten Mondays.

So each time the magnificent weekend rolls around, I try to plan something interesting and unique, something that maximizes my invaluable time.  Yesterday, after looking at a few web pages about things to do in Seoul, my girlfriend and I decided it would be a worthwhile venture to see the “Floating Island.”  What island isn’t floating, you might ask.  Atlantis?  It would be a good question.  Islands, from what I also thought, all float.

This – prepare to be shocked – turns out to be untrue.  Islands don’t float, in fact. They’re the tops of underwater mountains, the bottoms of which are connected to the ground.  Seoul’s Floating Island, on the other hand, is a man-made venture, costing a measly $10 million.  They are made up of three structures which have no foundation holding them to the floor of the Han River. Hence the “floating” in the name.  The three are connected to each other by wires that run under the water.  To the untrained eye, they don’t look like “islands” so much as they look like big floating shopping malls.

On the Korea Tourism website, the Floating Island is called an “amusement park.” Different websites talk about performances on the islands and other cool stuff there.  All of that is to say, it sounded like a fun place to check out.  They are the largest man made floating islands in the world. So why the heck not?

That wasn’t a rhetorical question.  Why the heck not? I’ll tell you why the heck not: cause they ain’t open, that’s why.  Apparently the islands were closed on May 22nd due to worries that rain could cause unforeseen floating problems.  This information, which might seem noteworthy, does not appear on the Korea Tourism website.  They apparently have taken more of a “surprise the tourists” stance.  And surprise this guy and his girlfriend they did.  We arrived to find the islands completely inaccessible, not even connected to anything remotely close to the land.  They were deserted and empty, just big metal things floating by themselves in the river.  There was a wedding going on by the islands too, which added to the confusion.  We looked on helplessly as our Saturday went up in smoke and a nice Korean couple made a decision they will surely regret (marriage).

Oh well, oh shucks, such is life.  At one point in time, I would’ve felt frustrated, but I’ve grown accustomed to things not working out as planned and so I shrugged with acceptance.  The Floating Island (which really should be plural I feel) re-opens this Wednesday, June 20th.  I will not be returning to see what I missed.  I will instead assume it is amazing.  Our day was not a total loss, as the park nearby was nice and we ate ice cream on a bench.  Later, there was some sort of water display that featured the bridge over the river shooting big streams of colored water down into it. Everybody ooed and awed.  Eh, who am I kidding?  No they didn’t.  Everybody just sort of looked at it because it was there and it was something happening.  We watched it twice for the hell of it, once when the sun was still up and once after it went down.  Maybe this one wasn’t a Saturday I’d trade ten Mondays of my life for; it was worth two or three though, especially if those Mondays aren’t during football season.



17 thoughts on “Such Is Life: The Disappointing Trip to the Floating Island

  1. When I was working, my weekends are very precious to me too. Sometimes, Thursday night I am already planning what I would do for the weekends so I have Friday to prepare. So, I understand your meaning of precious to your Saturdays. I experienced that one too, once. I wanted to go to Istana Park in Singapore (which opens only four times a year.) And somehow, there was discrepancy with the dates posted on the website. I was so totally freaking out once I got there after two hours of travel, only to be told by the guards that it was open the day before and not that day. Hehe…

    From your pictures, I don’t think this FLoating Island is something magnificent either. And whether it will re open or not, I don’t think anything magnificent will come out of it. And those fountains? They looked like a number of hoses watering plants below. Haha…

  2. Haha – Hey Jeps! Yeah, luckily the Floating Island is only about 30 mins from me. A two hour trip just to get turned back would be brutal! Although I’m sure it’s a funny story now…maybe.

    I think it would’ve been cooler if they made them look like real islands. You know, with trees and stuff. As they are, it’s like Epcot Center on water. Just an opinion.

    Take care, girl!

  3. HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!! How I have missed thee and talking with you over here . Okay, it’s my fault but still…Life has been full of not working out as planned for as of late so I fully understand your minor disappointment to The Floating Island 🙂 Wait, that doesn’t deserve a :), more like a :/ There, that is better…
    P.S. That top picture made me laugh so hard. Hope you are well, friend! xo

    • Cara!!!!! Great to see you, friend! Hey, just a quick note – I don’t leave comments on your blog because it’s actually kind of professional and what not, and I feel I’d be out of place saying something about your recipes, especially when I can’t make them (for a variety of reasons). But I love your posts and the writing that you do on there. : ) And it’s not like you need any more comments, Miss Popularity. Seriously, your blog is amazing.

      Anyways, I can’t believe life has not been working as planned for you. Ridiculous. When life does that to you, the only solution is to give it the middle finger. : D

      Keep your pretty lil’ chin up, Cara!

      • Professional! haha. I love it. I wish but… A very sincere thank you for a very sincere compliment. For reals. Flexing the middle finger to show it off to life 😉

  4. It’s probably a sad reflection on my life, but I enjoy workdays more than weekends.

    It’s not uncommon for things to be closed around here as well. Plan B and Plan C are important to have in place. My day yesterday turned out to be a mess, due to my lack of alternate plans. Maybe that’s what makes workdays so appealing.

  5. That just feels so bad! My weekends are so precious to me too I’ll have yelled at someone. Maybe yelled at the closed floating island(s). And then head back to work and scream at the fact that my weekend was burnt. Ok maybe I don’t need to be so worked up but I feel so bad for you. Hope the next weekend will be more fruitful.

    • I appreciate the anger and frustration. Hey, I got the awesome bridge water show at least. Sigh.

      Keep being Rustic and keep being a Recluse, my friend…except on the weekends. Peace!

  6. Haha! Love it! “What island isn’t floating, you might ask. Atlantis?” I take any opportunity to laugh. This was up there with the best of them. There were many others. Great post, man! 🙂

    • Thanks man! Yeah, I listened to Donovan on the way over to my girlfriend’s and had Atlantis stuck in my head while I was writing this. So thank Donovan for writing ridiculous and pretentious masterworks that stay in my head for days at a time.

      Really appreciate the compliment, buddy. Take care!

  7. I remember going to everland then it rained so damn hard. All outdoor rides were closed. I seriously had the urge to suckerpunch somebody because of disappointment.

    • Lol! I still haven’t ventured to Everland. I really want to go to Wolmido in Incheon because I hear it’s terribly run down and that appeals to me. But yeah, I can see how making the trek to Everland (it’s like on the other side of the world!) to find the rides closed could result in violence. I’m glad the Everland staff made it out alive.

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