Biking, Hiking, and Picture Taking

So, today I went biking and hiking with Chang-ki. We opted out of a mountain top picnic, and instead he chose to take me for sundaegukbap, pig intestine soup. I rode my bike to his place and then we biked to the restaurant. Not only do you get sundaegukbap, but you also get the ingredients to make bibimbap for yourself. Fucking score. Two of my favorites in one place. And the kicker? It’s all you can eat! Best of all, it’s only 5,500 won. So we had a fantastic lunch, and I can’t wait to go back. The only catch is that you have to eat everything you take. If you don’t finish all your food you have to take it home with you. Which isn’t really a bad thing, but when your main mode of transportation is a bike it makes it hard to carry things. Still, it’s a great restaurant. I feel like every week I’m here I find a new favorite restaurant.

I’m not entirely sure of the mountain’s name that we climbed, but I want to say it’s wolbongsan. Mainly because I’ve heard my students talk about it and it’s a mountain in the wolbong neighborhood.

A view of the western scenery from the top of the mountain. It’s not particularly high, but it’s got some good places for pictures. Growing up in NW Ohio, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing mountains in the distance. It’s unbelievable every time.

This mountain, conveniently enough, comes equipped with its own clock and thermometer. The clock is right, the thermometer is not. If it was, it’d be somewhere in the neighborhood of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth. Also, aside from normal exercise equipment that mountains usually have, it also had lots of random chairs. Dinner table chairs, school desk chairs, office chairs, plastic lawn chairs… A really random collection that I’m assuming people bring and leave for others.

The large green construction is a driving range. These are all over the place in cities in Korea, because space is a premium here. There are lots of cultural differences here that simply stem from the fact that Korea is a geographically smaller country. Still, though, I thought half the fun of a driving range was trying to nail the poor kid that was retrieving the balls.

These are all pictures from the eastern slopes, including a very nicely landscaped grave site, and Chang-ki giving into peer pressure and flashing the Victory sign.

This is the real special treat, though. At the very end of the path is a traditional Buddhist temple.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that 2010 is the Year of the Rooster.

All of these statues made up The Museum of the Twelve Gods. I’m particularly fond of the Rabbit. Mostly because I’m a Rabbit, but also because I’m so used to seeing it portrayed as a white, pussy-ass rabbit, so seeing a kickass black rabbit brandishing a spear is cool as hell.

The corner of the temple. You can really see some of the amazing detail and color here. I think traditional Buddhist temples are probably the most colorful things on Earth.

Some paintings on the side of the building, the decorative dragon rain gutter, and Chang-ki walking across the face of the building. When I went to the temple the day before, I really wanted to go in and take a look, but I was completely uneducated about the etiquette, or if I’d even be allowed to go in, so Chang-ki asked if we could go in, and then if I could take pictures, which were allowed.

It was really dark in the temple, and I was reluctant to use my flash, so you can’t see it in great detail, but there were a bunch of these dragon things all over the inside of the temple. You can also see how crazy detailed the painting in the ceiling is.

Two of the three main shrines. Middle is obviously Buddha. The other I’m not sure of. Perhaps the recently deceased Dalai Lama or perhaps a notable monk from this temple.

Buddha shrine picture is shit because of no flash.

This picture is a really great example of all the crazy detail that goes into Buddhist temples. I think this is the Dalai Lama, but I can’t be sure.

Chang-ki showed me how to pray like a Buddhist and told me about some of the normal etiquette, then we refilled our water bottles and took off. I did learn that the temple was named mansusa — Mansu Temple. Temples generally give out food and have ceremonies on Buddha’s Birthday, so if all else fails, I can go here for something cool, but I’d prefer another temple I heard about close by that has one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.

On the way back, we ran into an older Korean woman that was tending a garden. She asked if we were going to the climb the mountain, and Chang-ki said we already had. Then she turned to me and said something about “lots of exercise”, probably referencing how sweaty I was. She asked if I understood Korean, then rambled on for awhile to Chang-ki, and all I grabbed from it was ‘student’ and ‘school’. When we finally said goodbye, I asked him what she had been saying. He said she told us to be careful climbing the mountain because recently a high school student had some kind of heart attack on the mountain and had to be taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Koreans are the damned nicest people.

On the ride back, Chang-ki explained to me how the gears on my bike work, which makes it a lot easier for me. I had a bare understanding of how it worked, but never having a multi-geared bike before I wasn’t sure which lever adjusted which gear and what it was for. Now I understand pretty well, and hopefully the chain will stop coming off. I guess, the good thing is that I got pretty good at putting the chain back on my bike.

When we departed, Chang-ki asked my plans, and said he will call me later, so we may be hanging out again. If not, I’ll probably just be chilling at my place and studying Korean or watching a movie. I’ve enjoyed riding my bike this weekend (even to the consternation of Chang-ki who thinks I ride too dangerously [but it’s so exciting!]), but my gooch can only take so much. After two and a half hours of biking over two days I need a little rest.

In recent news, I mentioned that there are new Korean teachers, but I don’t think I ever actually explained that Jane and Annie both quit. I found that out Thursday morning when I went into work. Nobody ever tells me shit. It would’ve been nice to have a little warning. Actually, Thursday ended up being a pretty good day for me, so I wasn’t too upset about it.

Monday I have to go in at 9 AM to prepare for class stuff. I honestly don’t know why I have to be there at 9 AM. Mr. Lee said the Korean teachers and I have to divide up which parts of the book we are going to teach. I honestly don’t see why that can’t be done in the hour and a half after lunch, but whatever. It’ll just result in me doing half an hour of work and then sitting around a computer until lunch, then more sitting on a computer.

Oh, also, I saw Iron Man 2 yesterday. In Korean, it’s aianman 2. That’s ‘ah-ee-ahn-mahn 2’. I get a kick out of the Koreanization of English words. Sometimes I don’t even know why they do it. Like, I know for a fact that these words exist in native Korean, but they choose to use strange Koreanized English. I’ve got a little treat planned for the next post, so stay tuned.

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