My last full day in Korea, Andrew took me to a nearby mountain trail to go hiking. After examining the park map thoroughly, we chose what appeared to be a reasonably easy trail…but it really wasn’t. Scale of 1-5, I’d call it a 4 (if anyone’s gone up Mt. Baldy in LA, I’d call that a 5 - still not sure how I made it up there…).
If the trail wasn’t sharply inclined, then you got quasi-stairs. Imagine doing lunge exercises but going up.
This is clever. The best time to advertise a car is when you’re thinking about how much you hate walking. This would also be a great place to advertise chairs.
The peak of the trail and a sight for sore legs.
This is the camera set to “super vivid.” Oh my god, COLORS!
Yes, Samwise lives in Korea:
And onto a bit of an aside - BEST DRINK EVER:
I forget what this beach is called unfortunately (bad tourist! bad!), but it’s quite beautiful with a slight hint of green. It’s also really nice that, other than the annual mud festival, few tourists have reason to go to Boryeong, which means you pretty much have the scenery all to yourself, save for a few locals.
It also means restaurants randomly close early when they send home all their workers because of a lack of customers. Andrew and I often wondered how the city sustains itself economically.
This is a sweet potato pizza where the sweet potato replaces the tomato sauce. Pretty weird, but also not bad with spicy dipping sauce. Millions of Italians and New Yorkers must be rolling in their graves right now.
More photos from Korea! Here’s some random scenery from Andrew’s city of Boryeong. It’s a fairly small and simple rice-growing city quite a ways from Seoul.
He was trapped, but we gave him a hand.
Lots. Of. Rice.
I didn’t know this is what it looks like before you eat it.
Some Korean restaurants don’t believe in chairs. I endorse this.
So, over the weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Korea for the first time on account of visiting a good friend teaching English there. Andrew lives in Boryeong, a coastal city roughly two and a half hours south of Seoul. Because I figured I’d have plenty of reasons to see Seoul in the future but no other reason to ever go to Boryeong short of visiting Andrew, we decided to save exploring the capital city for another time.
By the way, to get to Boryeong from Incheon Airport takes over 3 hours. Imagine getting off a 15-hour plane ride and going through customs and immigration, and then hopping on an express metro to Seoul, transferring to a train at Seoul Station, transferring at another station, then taking a taxi to finally reach where you’re staying.
If all goes according to plan, I am currently on a plane going to Korea! I’ll be visiting a good friend there during his long weekend (Oct. 9 is Hangul Day, a holiday celebrating the creation of the written Korean language in 1446 - prior to that they used Chinese characters). And then it’s off to Beijing, which means the title of this blog will all of a sudden be relevant again.
I’ve been told a more accurate translation would be Wisdom Valley - people say traveling through this area makes you more intelligent. While I wouldn’t know about that, this place does have a way of coaxing you into calming down and setting aside your worries. On second thought, maybe that’s what wisdom is.
As always, really getting out of the city in any meaningful sense takes at least 2 hours by bus or train.
This hike almost got cancelled because of concerns over possible rain. In fact, the day of we were looking at a 50/50 chance, but the sky managed to not let us, or itself, down.
A French astrophysicist and his family - that’s two kinds of exotic right there.
Thanks to fellow undercover expat Guillaume and Julia - credit for any of the good pictures you see here go to them!
Water. It means invariably I’ll find a way to get my shoes completely wet. In this case, the water was at one part so clear and shallow, I just didn’t see it and stepped right in…
It’s the size of Réunion!
Julia is stuck!
This is Yaoyao. For the past week she’s been working with the US secret service to coordinate preparations for Joe Biden’s trip to Beijing. Badassery. I feel like the only time I’d ever run into a secret service agent would be for less than ideal reasons, so I hope never to…
Man’s best effort to keep it from collapsing.
Grass, kind of…
Paintball in Chinese = real-life Counter-Strike
And finally, lunch at a local shop!
Then to top off a beautiful day, dinner with more friends!
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