The New York Saga, continued… I like a gal who appreciates a nice romantic stroll through a rustic cemetery. Advertisements
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.
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).
G’day, friends. Let me tell you about my day. I was in such a good mood today, I almost felt like I’d been possessed by really-quite-nice spirits. If you want to know the secret, I’ll spell it out for you: first, get paid for a week of doing nothing. Oh, you have to turn up, but you get to sit in your chair for four hours without any human contact whatsoever. Second, you can go home at lunchtime — or better, you can go climb a mountain and burn off all the fat that just accumulated around your buttocks over those gruelling four hours.
I woke, for the third or fourth time — even at home, that’s a good night for me — and poked my head over the wall. Cloud obscured everything more than a few metres down the ridge; I could have been thousands of metres up, somewhere remote and alpine, not a measly 600 or so above bustling Busan. All was silent.
Hi, all. Well, it’s Friday night in the big city — and here in Jangyu as well — and here I am at home typing a blog entry. I might have to prepare a cup of chamomile tea soon to stave off the wildness before I annoy the neighbours.
A popular legend describes the governor in charge of [Dongnae] fortress, Song Sang-hyeon. When Konishi Yukinaga [leader of 7,000 Japanese invaders] again demanded before the battle that the Koreans allow the Japanese to travel through the peninsula, the governor was said to have replied, “It is easy for me to die, but difficult to let you pass.”
I suppose it says something about my tastes that on my very first journey into Busan, second-largest metropolis in Korea, I bypassed the city itself without a second thought and headed straight for the mountains behind the city.
Peregrinations: travel from place to place, especially on foot and with the suggestion of a roundabout route ~ The Free Dictionary I left Daereungwon, the walled cluster of elegantly rounded ruling-class burial mounds thatched with winter grass, and moved east towards the outskirts of Gyeongju, on foot and with the suggestion of a roundabout route, as is my preference. As I left most of the commercial buildings and traffic behind, the landscape opened up and I began to appreciate how special this place was. Tombs began to turn up everywhere.
Summer grass, all that remains of soldiers’ dreams ~ Basho LATE FEBRUARY, 2012 On any forest hike in Korea, the chances are the human dead outnumber the living.
And so we reach at last the final day of the school trip — and the best. This was the most beautiful scenery I’ve encountered in Korea so far, a “real” hike of a few hours, in forested mountains, along an excellent path with an amazing history.
The convoy had been winding like a bright red caterpillar up narrow country roads through verdant farmland on the outskirts of Yeongju, and just before bus-sickness set in we squeezed into the parking area and the kids, teachers and I commenced climbing. We were at Buseoksa…
I know I promised a far earlier start to my school trip chronicle, but what can I say? Reality post-convoy hit hard; I was left concussed and disoriented, and Friday was perhaps my worst workday yet…
Seeing much, suffering much and studying much are the three pillars of learning ~ from the Day 1 class notes of my Korean co-teacher Thursday was Independence Movement Day, commemorating the first mass resistance to Japanese occupation on March 1st, 1919. When my vice principal told me about it, I recalled climbing a small mountain/big hill not far from home, half an hour downstream along the Dirty River:
JANUARY 21, 2012 Actually, let’s start with the bus. For weeks I’d been watching the local buses, trying to penetrate their mystery and movements. It was like being a whale-spotter: “Thar she blows! Looks like a #58! Wait! She’s doing a U-turn! No! We’ve lost her!”
A Cultural Sensitivity Primer Hi, all. It’s been too long between posts once again but this time my reasons are happier: I’m on holidays again! They’re rather optimistically labelling this week of leave my “Spring vacation”, and at first I could almost believe my Winter blues were over with. I had two excellent days of coastal walking and white sandy beaches to the east of Busan, then came home yesterday to bleak skies and even some more fluttering snowflakes. The dream was over.
A few weeks ago I went on a mini-expedition down the sorry Daecheongcheon, the local river. It was a disheartening experience, the river a sad trickle of its former self, its garbage-strewn banks and bottom safely contained in protective concrete and choked with thriving reeds and weeds. But I took a diversion that day where a road crossed the river, and found myself in a grittier, grimier, more “lived in” part of Jangyu called Mugye, and in its filthy, trash-cluttered backstreets found this relic of a far older and apparently much nobler Korea, the Mugye Dolmen.
I have a talent for suffering. Who is this lonesome fool trudging up the road in this miserable weather, away from the highway, deeper into the quiet woods…
One great thing about walking everywhere in a new town is how fast you get to know its layout. As the 737 left the Gimhae tarmac, I watched the landscape already imprinted on my memory unfold in glorious 3-D from my window seat.