My lovely ajummas selling street goods on the prehike walk
Alright so I've missed my first two opportunities to go hiking with the Seoul
hiking group I joined when I first got here. Both times due to a good time on the previous evening. Well I decided that I would not miss this chance. So on Friday night, after a week of fighting a minor cold, I rented a movie, All the Kings Men, made myself some dinner and turned my phone off. I was sleeping like a baby by 10pm. I was able to get up the next morning by 7am in order to make it to the meeting point in Seoul by 9:20. We ended having a group of almost 40 people. Quite the crowd for a day hike. Once we got on the mountain, a few of us who managed a brisk pace made our way to the front and got to the top of the mountain fairly quickly.
More ajummas :)
While we were up there hanging around a group of Koreans offered two of us a roll of Kimbap (again, with the Korean hospitality) to which we were obliged to take. Once the rest of the group made it up, we found a good spot and had ourselves a nice little picnic overlooking the Yellow Sea (West Sea).
The way up the mountain was a good warm up, sure to get any man's legs burning. To get to the top, you pretty much just climbed a bunch of really steep stairs...kinda made me feel like I wasn't really hiking to be honest. but after lunch, the tough trek began. First we had to propel down a rope about 15 feet, one slip and you were a goner...no questions. Gratefully, everyone made it safely. Next week had to cross over this steep rock. No real easy way around this one, or so the first 3 of us thought.
the walk up
I lunged forward onto the rock and caught a good grip, without looking down at the near 2,000 meter fall and made it across. The other 30 people in our group managed to find a narrow math down and around the rock. A few hours later, we were on a muddy beach hanging around when I had the brilliant I idea of thirst. So a few of us walked across the street, sat down at a pub and got ourselves a few well deserved pints. Afterward, the groups split, some left and went back and the rest of us went for some spicy seafood soup. Another delicious South Korean fun meal. Not to mention about 25 bottles of Soju and countless beers. So much that on the bus ride back, the guy sitting across the aisle from me on the bus had to relieve these delicious fluids from himself in an oral fashion....not the most pleasant fragranted bus ride of my life.
The Yellow Sea
However, I have to admit that once we got to the bus station where we changed buses to get back to Seoul and the bus driver realized the mishap, he was not a happy camper. When we walked out of the stop to load onto the next bus he came running around the corner yelling something awful that I definitely did not understand, but the Koreans with the group just said that we has not pleased with us. Oh well, what are ya gonna do, ya know??
Once we got back to Seoul, I made the ever so wise decision to head to a bar with a few of the group members, then after those pitchers and snacks, the group thinned out even more and then there was four. we headed to Hongdae, the club/Hongik University area where we ended up meeting with separate groups of friends. Some of my friends came up from Suwon
and we went to one of the coolest, most laid back place I've ever seen.
View from the First Peak
I swear when I walked down the stairs, I was reminded of the bar from Star Wars (A New Hope) where Luke and Obi-wan went when they met Han Solo. Just like it I tell ya, minus the whole creepy space alien thing...although, some of the people in there did seem kinda out-of-this-world... Anyway, long story short...We ended up in the infamous Norabong and I made it back home early in the morning in a cab with some friends drinking a 50mL beer and singing Piano Man, a great 30 minute version I believe......Next on the agenda, a crab festival on the East coast followed by a week paid business trip for "teacher training" :)