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.
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.