May 24, 2010

one fatty for another...

Me: Hey kids do you know why we don’t have school on Friday?
Kids: no?
Me: It’s Buddha’s Birthday!
Kids: Is that your girlfriend?
Me: no
Kids: (slight hesitation) your boyfriend?
Me: What! No! I don’t have a, wha
Kids: Is Buddha your girlfriend?
Me: NO, he…, um… Buddha is a prince
Kids: ah ha ~!~ (lightbulb moment)
Kids: So it’s not your girlfriend or boyfriend?? (the lightbulb didn’t stay on very long)

Early Friday morning I slid out of bed, and into a shower. I don’t like mornings, I don’t possess the ability to function properly (although i’m hardly unique in that regards). I strolled from the bed into the shower, threw on my clothes from the night before, and ventured out into the sunlight. The reason for my early morning entrance into the world was in preparation for my first exit of Seoul.

I was booked on a bus to Sokcho, the northern most coastal city on the East coast of South Korea. The bus was a luxurious ride through the mountains, and illegally through offramps and onramps. The ride was so good it took about 5 hours to complete the usual 3 hour journey (traffic may have also contributed). Meh. I didn’t care, this bus made a greyhound look like horse drawn carriage.

*Interesting Fact* The city of Sokcho belonged to North Korea until the end of the war in 1953. I wasn’t aware of this until my last day, but hey! I found out, and I think that it kinda breaks my promise to my grandparents. I will remain steadfast on the other, I do have some duty and honor.

There is a beach in Sokcho, and that was my first destination upon arrival. Oh wait, no it wasn’t, it was E-mart. Don’t worry I bailed on the commercial shopping experience, and went straight for the beach. I chilled, I Frisbee-d. I gawked at almost every boat that sped past the shore. The boats were not particularly that nice. They were all whizzing by 20ft offshore, perfect distance to puree some child.

The boats disappeared at night and were replaced by a different threat. The beaches were loaded with Korean’s and Waygook’s drunkenly launching roman candles over the water, and each other. I can hardly provide negative comments here, I joined them (yet I aimed over the water, not people). My mother would be proud; I could hear her voice in my head scolding me, telling me how stupid it is to hold a live firecracker in my hand. I held the lighter a little further away when I lit the fuse. I humped 16,000.00\ of fireworks into the Sea of Japan over the two nights I spent there (about $15).

I spent the rest of my time in awe of the fireworks and the carnage that ensued underneath their short arcs into the sky. People were firing them off anywhere they damn well pleased. Drunk people aiming fireworks into the sky is not a smart idea. I’ll give one example, when you are drunk you think it’s a good idea to attempt to pee your name in the snow or sand (whatever is available). The end result is usually gibberish and piss on your feet. I hope you see where things are going here. Fireworks were launched in just about every direction, including other groups of people and children. It was a battle zone of sorts. I’d imagine these firecrackers have more firepower than the majority of North Korean army, I hope this creates an interesting scene in your mind

Sokcho is also a city closes to the first ever national park in Korea. Soraksan National Park, the original plan was to hike this mountainous park on Saturday. However, our sleeping arrangement on Friday night prevented this from occurring. 1:30am is not the best time to attempt to find accommodations, especially on a long weekend. I ended up curling up fetal position on a hard floor without pillows or a blanket in a jimjabang. I was occasionally woken up by naked Koreans attempting to get their clothes from their locker, which I was blocking. I’d have to put that sleep into the top 5 worst sleeps of my life.

My journey back to Seoul was pretty straight forward. Ha, that’s a lie, I felt car sick. The bus winded it way up and down the mountain passes. I’ve never been remotely close to getting carsick, yet I was taking deep breaths to calm myself down. The 3 hour bus ride did actually end up taking three hours, this was a pleasant surprise. My lungs threw me a party when we arrived in Seoul, I could feel them constrict. Kind of like a welcome home bear hug!

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