Well, what can I say, people, you missed the Christmas party of the century here in swinging downtown Yulha…
It was minus 7 C this morning as I scurried, face half-paralysed with cold, towards coffee and life itself, prior to heading to N1 for the second-last time this year. An easy day, three classes, and I explicitly stated that there would be no learning whatsoever, which relaxed everyone immensely.
Hey, all. Some exciting goings-on have been keeping me occupied of late — more on that soon.
Well, I didn’t see that coming. After that little taste of Winter up on Bulmo-San last weekend, I’d assumed I wouldn’t be seeing any more snow locally until I climbed some more peaks later in the season. Last Winter here in the balmy south (late January or February) the hills nearby got just one light dusting and a few lonesome flakes kissed the school playground one day before a quick death and a return to sweet nothingness.
For about a month now my weekends have followed the same pattern. I go into Busan on the Saturday, do the civilised urban thing with lots of coffee and an obscene amount of clothes shopping (trying to make Winter fun); the Sunday is for hiking, photos, music and, well, more coffee. This last one fit the template perfectly. I’d lucked upon a nice variation in my Bulmo-San explorations the previous Sunday, a new route down via a hillside boulder field adorned with cairns both modest and majestic, and just below them on a col, where a dirt road zigzagged up and down the mountain, a new path marked Bulmo-San, 2.7km.
It was like a scene from a Hollywood nightmare. I enter the school grounds yesterday, cursing, kicking things, some of which might have been students (Monday morning pre-caffeine fuzziness), and come face to face with…myself.
Last week I walked home from Hell Skool the long way, away from the cars and greasy chopsticks of the main drag and “inland”, via the quiet paddies and the bank of the trickling Daecheongcheon. Hadn’t done it in a month or so — it was dusk this time, with the days shrinking, and the air crisp and wintery.
Well, here I am back in last weekend again — with a new one just around the corner. Sunday rocked as well, just some low-key, low-impact, low-input rocking on and around one of my neighbourhood mountains. Lots of colour again — hope you like the shots.
Let those I-don’t-care days begin I’m tired of holdin’ my stomach in No more slinky Vogue dolls for me I’ll take Sears & Roebuck dolls gladly Cause my autumn’s done come My autumn’s done come… ~ Lee Hazlewood I have one more Seorak-San post to go, but I thought I’d do something a little more contemporary today, something we EFL teachers are always trying to get our students to do: talk about my weekend.
I had a great day yesterday.
Not the most inspiring title but I figure non-Koreans will have enough trouble as it is negotiating the anglicised Korean words up there — and I didn’t even include Madeungryeong! This is the name of the ridge which gives its name to the route I took back to “town” after my night on Daecheong-Bong. I didn’t want to double back, so took this detour soon after passing the shelter. I was glad I did. It was a long day, moderately arduous, and water was pretty thin on the ground — but what scenery!
Seoul rocked. Well, the parts I saw before, between classes and after the week of EFL training rocked. That was a hard week, and I was left with the lasting impressions that a) I am a very poor student and b) I may well be the worst teacher in Korea. How “motivating”. But I made some good friends among the 180 teachers present (most from my province and Gangwon, where the adventure in this post is set) and I’ll do my damnedest to keep in touch with them. I’d forgotten how nice it was to talk naturally to other people in our own native language.
Hey, folks. First, some disappointing news. This post contains no accounts of ferry rides, submerged trees or rivers (well, there is a stream). Just some coffee-cup wisdom from this morning’s breakfast cafe for you to ponder carefully before proceeding.
Well, I think I’ll strike while the keyboard’s hot and do the second part of my Daecheong-Bong tale tonight. I have a few more Seorak-San posts I want to do, and something tells me I’m going to be busy next week… ..in Seoul!
I couldn’t decide which pictures to leave out for this day’s hike up to the #3 peak in South Korea, so I’m going to split the day into two and let the images tell most of the tale. Hope you like them.
Those mountains seem to lean over Sokcho for a reason: they’re close. We turned inland through some pleasant farmland; Wouldn’t mind walking that, I thought. Barely half an hour from the beach, the bus pulled up and I followed the throng of walkers to the ticket office and into Sogong-Won (Small Park).
Well, it was with some trepidation and a well-stocked Kindle that I boarded my bus in Busan that Saturday. Chuseok is invariably mentioned in the same sentence as “traffic”; the exodus to hometowns and grandparents’ homes would inevitably mean clogged roads and a protracted journey. But we made it to journey’s end in six-and-a-bit hours. The bus drivers here are wizards of an ancient and arcane order. I opened my eyes as we passed the SOKCHO sign that marked the finish line on my previous northbound excursion, and was soon strolling to the coast with a few hours of light to play with.
ON A SOUTHBOUND BUS, WEDNESDAY Greetings, folks. Never blogged from a bus before, but here goes. It’s a wild ride for writer and reader alike here on TGTW, where we explore the uncharted frontiers of the Blogosphere, at least until motion sickness kicks in.
SOKCHO BEACH, TUESDAY Like a hobbit on LSD trekking through a Chinese painting. That’s how I described my feelings during my last two days of walking to a friend back home. You get used to a lot of maudlin, syrupy excess in Japan and Korea in their tour-brochure raptures, but Soerak-San did not disappoint. In fact I would rate yesterday as possibly the best day-hike I’ve ever done.
The balmy weather continues and I hope it hangs in there a while yet, for reasons you’ll learn soon.