So, my last weekend in Korea. Spent the week lugging boxes to school — five so far — and slipping out to the post office when nobody was looking (nobody’s ever looking) to cocoon them in (free!) tape and throw more money at the very nice lady behind the desk. The only drama was on Thursday when I realised I’d boxed up my Swiss Army knife with my apartment keys attached, and had to run back down there. Just in time, the very nice lady handed me a box-cutter with a weary smile. This is a busy time of year at the post office in Korea. Anyway, another flashback to an Autumn walk. I had plenty of un-posted ones to choose from, but this one is a nice mix of things I loved and hated about walking in Korea…
Hope you’re handling the deluge of posts without too much trauma. Tell you what, I’ll try to lower the wordage even more as an act of Christmas charity. Two weeks from yesterday and I’m outta here. I’m now spending most of each school day bent over my laptop, working on these danged pitchers while my students sleep through a movie. It’s an arrangement that pleases us all. Evenings go slowly by in a hazy sprawl of rock’n’roll, German beer and a few more hours working on photos while sitting on an inadequately heated floor.
I wouldn’t want to be born a dog in Korea. After sixteen months in the country and with at least a thousand miles on foot behind me, I’ve seen and been yapped at by enough mutts to conclude that you can broadly segregate them into three groups.
The conclusion of yesterday’s tale. Two posts in 24 hours = two consecutive days of doing something useful at work! This could be habit-forming… So back I went along the ridge, down the foggy ruins of time (Bob Dylan), umbrella swishing nice cold raindrops into my eyes from low-hanging boughs. I dug my main camera back out of my pack, slung it round my neck and resumed my struggle against the forces of darkness — I mean the forces of moisture. I’m pretty reckless with that little machine, but I’d rather have it handy and risk a few raindrops than have to keep stopping and retrieving it.
Hey, people, thanks for dropping by as always. I’ve split this post, about last Saturday’s unexpectedly interesting little walk, into two parts, carefully calculated to allow uninhibited digestion over two consecutive bowls of cereal. Expect the next installment in 24 hours or so.
Bow down to her on Sunday Salute her when her birthday comes ~ Bob Dylan It’s my gal Kate’s birthday, and we’re a few thousand miles apart, which is damned inconvenient, but on tonight’s birthday Skype (it’s the evening of the 13th here; in New York she’d just gotten up but looked a lot hotter than I do at 6:30am, if you can believe that) I promised her a birthday treat, and here it is: her very own tribute post on TGTW!
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.
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.
Hi, all. How was your Sunday? Mine rocked — fortunately, as I wasted my Saturday completely. Well, I slept a lot, and I probably needed it. But staying inside a tiny apartment for a whole day sends me a little loco. I hit the pavement with a lot of pent-up energy this morning, and after loading up on carbs and caffeine at the bakery I was ready to take on anything.
Well, I’m pumping out the posts lately, trying to tidy up a few threads before I start my little walk on Friday night — and all going well I’ll treat you to a short but awesome post each night of my ordeal adventure. Before I finish the Big Rock Mountain saga, though, how’s this for some arresting graphics?
Well, I rate the iPhone post experiment as a success, despite its obvious limitations in the photo department, and you can look forward to some highly digestible near-daily Postcards from Wherever during my upcoming ramble. Meanwhile, with the post-hike luxury of cushion, keyboard, light and air-con, here’s the more complete story of my killer weekend: with its killer views, temperatures, insects and a humidity/dehydration double that packed a killer punch.
Part Two of the Birthday Epiphany saga. I was absurdly comfortable and warm in my down bag and bivy. I woke a few times in the night with a delicious breeze sweeping up from the valley and over my face; each time the far-off sirens and car horns had thinned out a little more.
MARCH 11, 2012 I was utterly depressed. Weekends are sacred to me, and I’d just squandered my Saturday on my worst hike in Korea — hell, my only bad hike in Korea so far.
I was in class a week or so ago when someone appeared at the door and my co-teacher went out to check. Then I was ushered out, mid-sentence, to receive a package from a courier — yes, a courier in Korea.
I’ve been in Korea a couple of months now, and inevitably much of the novelty has gone. But I still get surprised quite frequently. The “pagan” bonfire was one example — falling down the drain was another — and there was a quaintly bizarre incident on my coastal walk last week that made me go, “You’re not in Sandgate anymore, Goat.” That story soon. Tonight I want to talk about my local river.
Maybe having all these splendid little mountains so close had made me complacent — or maybe the previous day’s adventure had worn me out. Anyway, I got an even later start last Sunday, and it was 9:00 before I sauntered out the front door, spun around, aimed my big western nose at one particularly fine-looking peak and thought “That one.”
So, where was I? Oh yeah, I left the big gold Buddha to his eternal contemplations, and climbed the steep hillside path behind his shoulder, up through the forest towards the summit I later learned is called Yongji-bong, a subsidiary peak (I now know) of the ridge complex known as Bulmo-San (Buddha-Mother Mountain).
Mrs Kim, our deputy principal, had told me the weekend was looking very good, weather-wise, but it wasn’t till I left my room, quite late at 8:00 on Saturday, that I discovered just how good it was going to be.