Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dancing the Sanba

It appears staying in a love motel next to a brothel isn't the only excitement this trip is going to provide. In a few hours we are due to be hit by Typhoon Sanba. Hopefully it will be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it gets here, but I'm not taking any chances. My love den is stocked with food and water, my Kindle and iPad are fully charged in case I lose power, and I am congratulating myself on having thought to pack a flashlight. As I sit here writing in my little coffee shop I see they aren't taking any chances either. All the windows are criss-crossed with tape to protect them from the wind.

Our weekend plans ended up changing at the last minute. Anton was suffering from several maladies, possibly mother-in-law-itis being at the top of the list. On Friday we played a friendly "best of three" badminton match that was surprisingly competitive. Not only did he suffer the humiliation of losing to his mother-in-law in three straight games, he managed to pull a muscle. The trip to Andong got scratched off our list and Rebekah and I explored some local places instead. It turned out to be a great weekend, and I am kind of glad we just hung around Rebekah's home territory.

Saturday, while Anton was in day one of recovery mode, Rebekah and I went to Donggureung Royal Tombs. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around living within walking distance of a Unesco World Heritage site!

On Sunday Rebekah and I went to the nearby city of Nowon. There we climbed to the top of Buramsan. I loved this hike!

We got "adopted" by a local hiking club for part of the climb. Not too far from the top there was the faint sound of singing. As we got closer we could see a group of people gathered around a woman who was entertaining them with a traditional song. I was so sorry she was just finishing the song when we arrived, but as soon as the group saw there was a foreigner coming they encouraged her to sing it again, which she was more than happy to do.

The view from the top was stunning. It was no easy feat to get up on that rock. I am not too keen on heights, and getting there involved way more rock climbing than I am comfortable with. I am okay going up. It is the getting down that scares me. I was worried I would disgrace myself.

Sunday night the three of us went to the local jjimjibang, which is a Korean sauna. It was the perfect thing for a rainy, pre-typhoon evening, and after a five hour hike I'm sure my muscles appreciated it. For those of you who aren't familiar with Korean saunas I will give a brief explanation. Men and women have separate areas, which is a good thing since you do not wear anything while soaking in the different pools, some cold, some hot and some hotter yet. This is where I would like to make a rather disturbing observation. Gravity is not your friend. Also, the no clothes thing isn't really a big deal. Unless, of course, you are the only white person minus their clothes. These hideous orange outfits are what they give you to wear into the common room. It is as close as I ever hope to get to prison garb. The picture of Rebekah is in the common area's salt room. It was like being on a hot beach! The one with me shivering is taken in the ice room. We didn't last too long in that one.

Maybe the very best part of the weekend was having a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea with honey at Rebekah's apartment. I have been drinking my tea, minus honey, out of a travel mug, which has been rather bleak. This cup of tea might just be the best thing I have consumed so far in Korea, and that's saying a lot.

Today's random collage.

Top left to right clockwise: soup anyone?; soju; chestnut grinder, clothes drying on a balcony

It is 11:00 AM and the storm is due to be here in a few short hours. I need to hurry back to the motel to get this posted in case we lose power. No matter what else happens today, at least I have had my gelato. Today's flavour was a repeat - espresso. I thought I might need the extra caffeine boost to see me through the storm.


  1. I hope the storm is not too extreme! Looks like you had a lovely and busy weekend!

  2. I've been enjoying your posts so much. I hope the storm isn't too bad and that you all come through it okay.

  3. Hi Kristie, Thank you so much for your wonderful posts with all the pictures. I've been "eating them up" and I need to find a Korean restaurant so I can begin to discover some of that wonderful cuisine. I hope Sanba will turn out to be all bark and no bite. Happy trails!

  4. goodness you were high up, I'd have the same reservations about getting down. Hope you miss the storm

  5. I am also enjoying all your posts. check in first thing every morning. And will be watching for a Korean restaurant maybe while in Vancouver (not a chance I'd find one in Williams Lake).

  6. Stay safe! Hope it doesn't do any damage and that you do not loose your power.

    I love your pictures and are doing much better in a different country than I would be!