Last Day of Vacation

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Writing this blog post from a minbak in Jungsan-ri. The minbak pretty much blows. Small room for 25,000 won and there’s no bed or hot water. The upside is that it has cable TV with a couple English channels. Last night I watched The Fourth Kind and Wanted. Now I’m watching The Bourne Ultimatum and The Dark Knight. Also, the restaurant the minbak owners run is pretty decent. I’m probably heading home tomorrow, or at least some place with a bank. I’m out of cash, all three of the restaurants and the handful of convenience stores only take cash, and I’ve only got enough cash for dinner and a bus back to Jinju. Also, I’m pretty much dead.

I left the minbak just after 9 AM, and it took me until 6 PM to get back from the peak. Easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. Pretty much all the clothes I wore are completely soaked with sweat. Sexy, I know. One the way up, I met this Korean guy, and he started talking to me in a mix of Korean and English. I could tell right away my Korean was better than his English, so we usually stuck to that. He was super kind. Gave me half of his apple, some Vienna sausages, and on the way back down he insisted I share his lunch with him. I also learned he was 48, had a son a little younger than me in college, and liked American music such as Eminem, Shakira, and Megadeath.

We got to the top about four hours after we started, which is what the park predicts it takes most people. Being 1915 meters high, the peak was actually enshrouded in a cloud. It was cold, windy, couldn’t see a goddamn thing, and it was actually raining a little. The raining was weird. It didn’t feel like water was falling onto you. It was more like a certain spot on your body was suddenly wet. Like it condensed directly onto my head. Stayed up there for maybe 20 minutes, then started coming back down.

At first, the going down part felt real good. Going up was a struggle, especially around the first hour, hour and a half. I actually felt like there was a pretty good chance I was going to throw up. Fortunately, a little water and candy bar break settled my stomach. One the way down, I was just congratulating myself for developing the surity of foot normally reserved for mountain goats or snow leopards, when I took one step on a metal staircase and slid down like 15 steps. I didn’t get hurt or anything, but after that the strength in my legs just started deteriorating really quickly. Knees were wobbling really bad, couldn’t support weight well, gave out unexpectedly. Coming down took longer than going up because I had to go so slow to prevent really hurting myself.

Also, my camera lens cover is broken. I dropped it taking a picture, and I watched it go sliding down a rock face. I had pretty much given it up for lost, but then it stopped, so I climbed down to retrieve it. Only to find it had lost the spring which locked it in place, so it’s completely useless now.

I hadn’t planned on returning to Cheonan until Thursday, but I’m so exhausted. I certainly won’t be doing any more hiking any time soon. I could go back to Jinju and hang out there, or maybe a city like Daejon (actually that doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It’s on the way home and a friend from home is there, so we could meet up and I might be able to crash on his floor.) and hang for a couple days before going home. The only thing that sucks is traffic will probably be mad crazy tomorrow and it could take like five hours to get to Daejon instead of just a little over two. I’m told literally everyone goes home for Chuseok – Korean Thanksgiving – so highways are basically parking lots.

Time travel to Friday:

Didn’t go to Daejon, just came home. Legs are so sore that anything aside from walking on level ground is torture. Probably not going to hapkido tonight. Tuesday through Thursday was boring as hell during the day. The neighborhood was dead as hell. Not a single car on the road. Every single business was closed. Just wasted time all day and drank by night. Just like a normal American holiday. Dunkin Donuts finally re-opened today, so I’m downloading some TV shows to catch up on what I missed since my vacation started. Gotta keep up on Jersey Shore and started re-watching It’s Always Sunny… for fun. Good times. No weekend plans. Hopefully I’ll recover by Monday so I won’t have to teach in pain.

You can check pics from my trip out here:


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