Tuesday, 4 October 2011


We had a three day weekend as it was National Foundation Day here. I didn’t know what this meant, so I googled it, apparently this holiday celebrates the creation of the state of Gojoseon in the year 2333 BC. Weird how they have AD and BC. Maybe not that weird. Whatever, we had three days off. It was Russell’s Birthday on Friday so after work we brought a tonne of balloons and a Birthday cake, decorated the rooftop and surprised Russell with a Birthday party. I think he enjoyed it. We played drinking games, had pizza, and when the roof got too cold we went to Deanna’s room to continue the festivities. Actually, despite much partying we got to bed pretty early.

The next day, me, Natalie, Amanda and Nathanial got on the bus to Sokcho. Sokcho is actually pretty close to YangYang (where we went for the teaching workshop) so we all knew the area a little. We had to get an hour bus to Chuncheon and then another two hour bus to Sokcho. Amanda wanted to do a zipline that she had heard about on the beach, so we headed off in that direction. Despite Natalie being a little reluctant to chain herself to a wire and get pushed off of a tower over the sea we all enjoyed the zip wire. It wasn't quite as big as the one we had done at Nami Island, but it was beautiful never the less. The sea was rough and we walked back along the coast, stopping off to gaup at some odd rock formations along the way. Afterwards, we hitched a taxi back to central Sokcho and had some food at an all you can eat restaurant. The food was great, as much meat, fish and vegetables as you could possibly want, cooked on an iron plate in the middle of your table. It was delicious and although it took us a while to figure out it was all you can eat, we clocked on eventually. It was cheaper if you had beer as well, so we did. 8,000 won for all the beer and food you could drink and eat. That’s about four pounds. Beat that.

After traipsing around town for a while we eventually found a lovely guest house to stay in for the night which was pretty much next door to the bus station. The room was 30,000, about fifteen pounds, split between the two of us (per room) that was 15,000 about seven pounds. Seven pounds! Maybe holiday inn should look at their prices. Huh?

The next day we went to Seoraksan National Park. That place is beautiful, apparently it’s the most beautiful national park in Korea, apparently all Koreans know this, apparently that’s why half of Seoul was there! It was busy! I have never seen a national park as busy as this. When I hiked Yosemite I passed maybe twenty or thirty other hikers. Here, try thirty thousand, all hiking the same trail. There are of course hundreds of trails to hike but the one that we decided upon was Ulsan Bawi, a rock face that has amazing views across the mountains and all the way back to the coast. It was magnificent. It’s just such a shame that there were so many people there, and the paths are ever so narrow, its like an obstacle course of Koreans. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Koreans, something they all have in common, they take life very slowly. They walk ridiculously slowly. No, really. It’s so slow you could die. The pace of life is very ‘take your time’ but at the same time this i a country that’s moving forward so quickly. I don’t get it. I’ll get back to you when I do. I personally just wish they would hurry up!

Natalie and Amanda took the cable car up to the top of another mountain whilst me and Nathanial hiked the bad boy. It was a hot day, but thoroughly enjoyable. It really is a beautiful place.

It was time to get the bus back after that, stopping for Dalk Galbi in Chuncheon and then home. On Monday we went shopping and as enjoyable as that was its not exciting enough for me to bore you with, but we got some new stuff for the house, and, I bought myself a jacket to keep warm in the winter. It’s starting to get pretty cold here already and I can only guess that it’s going to continue to get colder.

Natalie cooked an amazing Spaghetti Bolognese last night, and then we watched a French film that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. It was very existential, moving and heartfelt. It’s called Les Chansons D’Amour (Love Songs). Check it out, kids.

As I end almost every one of these posts with: I'm back at school now and another week of classes awaits. I like Tuesday’s because I’m with the specialist English teacher, although during our first class today we had to teach one student, very tough. Not only is it tough to teach just one student but it’s not like she’s very into the class either. You gotta work hard with that. Hopefully the rest of my classes will go well. Next weekend we are thinking of going to see these amazing caves and the penis sculpture park. We might stay in Sachang though, depending on the weather and how adventurous we are feeling.

I'm also thinking about doing one video blog a week. Each one will be something about Korean culture I find funny, odd, emotional, or whatever. I'll keep you posted.

Be well, be reckless...

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