Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes… ~ Alice Cooper Band
Yup, school’s out — not for summer, not forever, but for 12 glorious days.
Just one day more of “English camp” — which involves no camping but occasional spurts of English — and my summer holiday begins. Last week’s “camp” at my main school was surprisingly pleasant after a pretty gruelling time writing the whole syllabus myself.
Some of the best first-years turned up and I got lots of laughs, the best during a general knowledge quiz in which I asked them to name two members of the Beatles. Four groups gave me nothing but bewildered looks; the Dream Team here, (seen in the school kitchen concocting the world’s worst macaroni salad)…
..gave me John Lennon and “Pole Megaton” — Mr Lennon’s songwriting partner.
I gave them 1.5 points when I’d stopped laughing. I now have the perfect alias when next I need to check in somewhere anonymously.
I’m in two minds about the break: I need and desperately want some Goat time, but as the last post might have made clear, this is not the best time of year for the kind of recreation I enjoy. The weather, of course, the heat and brutal humidity. And here in Korea, as in Japan, all the obvious retreats, from coast to mountaintop, are apparently overrun with fellow escapees.
Seoul, a huge, crowded city baking in the summer heat, doesn’t appeal. Jeju Island was quickly dismissed, as was Soraek-San, most famous national park in the country; both will likely be seething with humanity in all its majesty. I flirted briefly with an escape to China or elsewhere, but can’t justify the expense when I’m trying to save. I was stumped.
Finally, I decided on a plan of great vagueness and inspired pointlessness. When that school bell announces lunchtime and the end of classes tomorrow, I aim to sneak from the premises four hours early with my pack, ideally whistling Alice Cooper’s School’s Out (or who knows, maybe Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday), jump on the #21, and via the usual series of trains get myself to Haeundae, most famous beach in Korea.
I’ve been there three or four times, and in Winter and early Spring I enjoyed watching the people and wandering the coast north to Songjeong, another well-known beach. Last time, though, a brief summer stop before walking north, was awful for someone whose idea of the perfect beach is this…
Oiled and otherwise lubricated masses of tourists jammed that famed strip of sand; ball games, giant sand sculptures…
..beer, bad music, the whole communal spectacle of summer that a lot of people enjoy.
Not my scene.
Tomorrow Haeundae will just be my starting point:
I’m going to follow the coast north via roads and coastal paths, when I can find any, or the beaches themselves, try to do at least a few hundred kilometres, and sleep wherever I end up each day: on the sand, in some woods, under a pergola, maybe grab a love hotel now and then to freshen up. I think there’ll be showers near most beaches, and there’s always the ocean herself. I’m not taking a sleeping bag but I will pack a tarp in case it rains.
I kinda hope it rains.
If the road-walking proves insufferable in the summer sun, or the trip otherwise loses its appeal, I have a couple of back-up quasi-plans I can try. As usual I will be carrying only the vaguest of maps. Worse that can happen is I walk too far and get into some bother at the DMZ.
As warned, look out for short posts each day. But don’t expect the worst if I miss one. I’m on holidays.
Enjoy your own holidays, northerners, and southlanders, think of me as you bitch about the cold! I’ll end with some scenes from a few walks between Haeundae and Songjeung, a taste of what I might find further north.
Sincerely, Pole Megaton
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote