Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Seoraksan Nov 11-12th

The Group and by group I mean the large proportion of us teachers from the orientation group reunited again to embark on a trip up to Seoraksan. We booked our trip with Adventure Korea and while a lot of people don't like to go with a large touristy group I'll be the first to admit that I like it a lot this way. less hassle in regards to organization and everything's taken care of.

The trip in itself was incredible. There is actually a number of different routes we could take but being the gung-ho group that we were we all opted for the most 'difficult' course to hike up. In retrospect while I did thoroughly enjoy the view I think that had we chosen the shorter routes we could've done two routes instead of only one.

The route we chose was initially very easy. We breezed through the open roads and the hike through the woods. But it was about 30 minutes into the hike that we started to realize what the hike would entail. It wasn't that we were climbing anything but rather that the mountain is STEEP. There were stairs that should really be called ladders and added to that was the fact they were narrow and there were people going up at the same time as people coming down. I wouldn't really consider myself to be acrophobic. But I could definitely see how the stairs would've made some people weak in the knees.

When we made it to the top, it was a tad disappointing. The view was spectacular, it was just that the platform didn't have much room and there were SOO MANY PEOPLE. It was hard to get a shot in without some random person in the background. Even worse was that we had to take turns for some shots. We did however contribute to the tourist attraction because we bought souvenirs of medallions with our names engraved in it. The man at the booth was hilarious because he would scream into the megaphones even tho the area was tiny and clearly ppl could hear everything he said without the megaphone but if u bought a medallion, he would announce your name as if u won some kind of race climbing to the top.
The most incredible things about these stands that sold water and medallions and photoshoots was how they carried everything up there. These guys literally carried their business (including laptop and printer for people that wanted pictures) 1.5 hrs up the mountain and then 1.5 hrs back down the mountain and they did it so fast. While we were watching our steps on rocky paths these guys were bouncing along with huge sacks on their backs. They should've been on an ad for UPS or FEDEX..

But the funniest part of the entire trip was that night at the motel/dormitory....

They had advertised that there would be a hot springs there but about two weeks prior there was some flash flood which caused a lot of damage to the natural spring there so unfortunately the closest thing to a spring was the JIMJILBONG IN THE MOTEL!! honestly the hot spring was one of the biggest reason I paid for this trip.
I swear, this naked bath business, IT'S CONNECTED TO ME LIKE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE!!! I cannot escape bathhouses! In any case despite the disappointment we tried to make a most of it and tho we still made use of the "hot tub" jimjilbong downstairs in the motel, it was not up to standard. The WATER WASN'T EVEN HOT. but the shower there was a lot more appealing than the one in our room. ugh.

Us girls made use of the bathhouse and then headed back up to our room. The boys we knew would take longer. We found out that their "hot tub" was WAYYY better than ours. They had hot water AND all three of their tubs were functional.

Long story short, despite the fact that we had enough rooms for 2 girls per dorm Lindsay, Tash opted to stay with me and Anne. We stayed up as late as we could but seeing as we were exhausted for the walk and knew we had to be up early the next morning we opted to head to bed early...

3:00am in the morning we hear a knock on our doors. Actually it was more of a banging! I opened the door only to find Mike B. and Eric drunk and hyper. They came into our room and were shocked to find all four of us ladies together. In the midst of their talking we found out that Dennis, a member of our GROUP had hurt himself pretty bad.
Apparently, the guys in our GROUP had been drinking Soju in the hot tub and (there's a lot more that went out but I'm going to cut to the chase) Dennis was so drunk he dove into one of the hot tubs and cracked his head. They opted not to take him to the hospital to get stitches.

The next day we were all curious to look at Dennis and his gash wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but he certainly did need stitches. He got 8 of them the day we got back into Incheon.

The following day was probably a better hike. We hiked to the waterfalls. There was two paths, the normal path and a more unconventional path where we had to do some minor scaling. Andrew, Eric and I opted for the latter and it was incredible. I almost fell twice and ended up wetting my right foot twice. THANK GOD FOR THE WOOL SOCKS DAVID GOT ME AT DISCOUNT!!They dried up pretty quick.

One particularly spectacular thing about the river was that while the water was fresh there was this one crevice where the water that came out was carbonated!! tasted a little metallicy but I thought it was pretty cool. My guess is that there's a coke factory beneath the falls.

When we reached the falls it was incredible. The pool was small and it actually looked blueish and shallow. I mentioned to one of the guides that I would've loved to swim there. He looked at me, chuckled and said... the water is about 20 meters deep. thousand of years of water pounding down on the floor had eroded it. The waterfall created a whirlpool as well so that if I decided to jump in, I would be sucked into the whirlpool and die. Apparently a few people had died there already.
He also pointed out the rusty and broken stairs across the waterfall where apparently a few weeks ago prior to the flash flood it was standing in good condition. The stairs itself was about at least 2 stories above us. Apparently the flood was so high up that it destroyed all the old trails and the path we had just taken was made just after the flood.

All in all, I would say that despite the fact that the trip was poorly organized. I was very happy about going. I wish that someone had told me about the hot springs. Or that the food was better prepared in the morning. I think I enjoyed it because of the company and the view didn't hurt.

Here are the pictures from that trip:

Steph Lau

Before I start blogging about my trip to Seoraksan and other news I wanna take a moment to blog about my friend Steph Lau.

Steph Lau is a girl you cannot just call Steph, because if you knew her.. u'd know shes "STEPH LAU".. this woman has got PRESENCE! SHE MAKES HERSELF HEARD! She's also particularly stubborn but more often than not... tho NOT ALWAYS she is right!! She's witty, funny and confident. I like her a lot!!
Steve is one lucky man to have her by his side.

Steph Lau I want you to know I took this photo in Seoraksan FOR YOU!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

All Hallow's Eve's Eve's Eve

This is a tad belated but must be noted anyway....
Oct 28th 2006

We, as in, Anne, Lindsay, Natasha and myself had decided a while back that we were gonna hit up the clubs in Seoul. We decided that it had to be on Oct 28th for the Halloween Party that was being held at Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon. Itaewon is basically foreigners' town. It's also in the shady part of town. Says a lot about us foreigners doesn't it.
After hitting up Bupyeong Underground market where Anne had bought her purple stockings, we were exhausted and decided to head home to change into our costumes. The four of us had bought matching wings of different colors.

At around 8pm Anne and I headed over to Lindsay's House to finish our preparation. Lindsay and Tash had artistically applied on make up to their face. It was so beautiful we immediately decided to copy. It took us another hour to finish getting ready and this was after some preparation to begin with. One of the biggest reason it took us so long was that we decided to take pictures hehe and got a bit carried away.

At around 9:30pm we were finally all ready to go. It took us an hour to get through the subway to Itaewon station. The best part is that we had already bought some alcohol with us from GROCERY STORES which we were allowed to drink in PUBLIC!! Boy DID WE GET STARES!!! As if we didn't get enough stares just being foreigners and by "we" I mean Lindsay, Natasha and Anne... cause with me I can blend in up until I open my mouth to talk. This time our party was minus the usual male suspects: Mike, Andrew, and Eric. They had decided that they were gonna do an apartment party which I thought was boring. I'm sure you'd agree ;)

In any case, when we finally got to Rocky Mountain Tavern the party was already full blown. The first floor was completely overcrowded so we started to head upstairs in search of familiar faces.. namely Matt. When we got upstairs we found not just Matt but a lot of other teachers that were part of our Canadian Connection Group, that we hadn't seen for a while now. It was great to see them again especially after such a long break.
We had chosen to go to RMC namely because other group members were going but also because I had been meaning to go there to meet Olga's Boyfriend'S Brother Jamie. WHICH WE DID AT LAST!!! REALLY cool guy... hot in a caveman outfit!Eh?? Eh??Sorry ladies I believe the caveman is called for.. O NO!! NOT BY ME!! ( no worries Nem)

hehe so we stayed long enough at RMC for a drink.. which was enough for me to reach my buzz...
which obviously meant we didn't stay too long. By midnight we were on a cab heading to Hongdae which we had heard was Club central. Hongdae is very close to Hongik University and apparently has a lot of cool clubs.

The club that we went to was called Catch light... cover was actually pretty expensive but the good thing was that in Seoul there were definitely more people that spoke English!! We danced up a storm in there, the music wasn't anything different than what you'd here in Toronto. It was all English, I had kinda hoped there were some Korean songs that we could dance to. We even went on the stage = 0 is that shocking? probably not... I mean... but we had a blast, Koreans aren't so bad at dancing.
We even danced with some random Korean girls!! They were sooo pretty and soo nice!! At some point in time we decided to see what time it was... my guess was that it was 2am... at the latest... but it ended up being 4:30am!!! It was INSANE.. we COULDN'T believe it.. I mean it's ME!! I almost never stay out dancing till 4 in the morning!! 2 is usually my latest and when I start getting tired, cranky and hungry. Well we also still had the hour long cab drive home =S and we were EXHAUSTED!!

So we all finally headed home to Lindsay's and spent the night there. Since it was Sunday we had the option of sleeping in except we all woke up at 10 am because of the bright light that was seeping thru Lindsay's room.. That's one thing about Korea, the windows let in SOOO MUCH light.. its impossible to sleep in.. If u're thinking why not just get Curtains its because.. I don't have drills to drill holes into the CEMENT WALL to put up drapes or blinds or curtains. and I don't intend to buy a drill just to do so.. I'm a bit luckier because my bed is against the wall.. away from the windows and those windows don't face East!! PHEW.. unfortunately the laundry room is made of windows and it faces East ... but it hasn't really been a problem yet.. So we'll see how that goes.. shit. .I let myself get carried away again...

It took me three days to recover from that night.. but let me say.. .it was WORTH IT!! Altho... i'm definitely not gonna go every weekend.. more like.. once a month.. I need all my energy keeping up with those third graders.. ok.. speaking of energy.. i'm gonna head to bed now..

but I have one very important thing to say before I blog off (get it? hehe)


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