So the past month has screamed by and yet at the same time this tiny nook of an apartment is beginning to become a home- although a temporary one. I feel a relief maybe akin to some kind of nomad and his tent. A kind of Kublha Khan/yurt thing. We have a pan (can you believe it!) and even a broom (oh, good god!). But in all honesty we went from having only a sheet, pillow, and a squat little refrigerator to having packed cupboards, a Herald Tribune subscription, a coffee pot and wireless Internet. I even have a tupperware full of kimchi which was given to me as a gift when our head teacher found that I liked spicy food. We’ve actually taken to whiling our weeknights away in these confines, cooking dinner at home and reading, something we hadn’t done at all during the first three weeks. Saying that the weekends are still spent on the town, usually complete with a night out and a escapade either to the mountains or some unexplored ‘hood.
Here is this past Halloween weekend illustrated with annotation.
Friday morning I mysteriously awoke in a frog suit. Rousing from a particularly deep sleep I was confused/exhilarated at my stroke of luck. All my coworkers were dressing up and couldn’t believe I didn’t have a costume. I mean, I am from America, right? I felt so lame I headed out that evening in hopes of magically stumbling across some sort of Halloween hint. Somewhere in PNU my wish came true. Frog costumes, along with cat, dog, cow, giraffe, hamster, etc, all lined up along the main avenue. I bought it, stashed it in my bag, and met up with a friend for a few drinks. There is this peculiar thing that seems to happen in Korea when you go out for “a few drinks,” maybe one can blame the bars that never close, or in particular at Moe’s-the great music that never stops, but this odd incidence causes one to stay out way past one’s proper bedtime (and to consume copious amounts of stale beer or soju). So upon returning home early in the morning I crept in to my frog suit and crawled into bed, unbeknown to Lauren. It was a fitting way to wake up Halloween morning, a confused frog in a fog. Luckily we had an all day Halloween party at work.
We had heard we were having a party at school, but clueless to the details we had no idea what to expect. Upon arriving we pretty much found it to be a free day. Our head teacher dressed up as a zombie (Korean ghost, she insisted) and the general level of gore impressed me. I thought I would just be a wholesome frog, but my co-workers insisted on giving me corpse paint and blood running down my chin. Okay, frogula, frog zombie, killer frog, whatever. My head teacher suggested that we run around to the other hagwons scaring children and handing out candy. We busted into one class screaming and scared a kid so bad he hid under his chair and wouldn’t come out, shaking like an epileptic. Afterward Lauren and I ran the drink table as the kids snacked away their afternoon. Later we went on a “parade” which consisted of us being stared at by confused and frightened Koreans. We even went trick or treating at a few of the student’s houses. The kids ended up leaving early and we ordered Chinese food to our office and had a communal dinner.
Later that evening we headed out to PNU for some Halloween occasion. The party was massive, spread out between Crossroads and Moe’s with some kind of function at B-SIDE also. There were near 10 bands total, including some Korean punk and rockabilly groups surprisingly . The costumes were also great, I wish I had gotten more photos.
I’ve also have loads of video that I’ve been too busy to upload off my camera. Mostly footage of the bands and the general pandemonium outside. We stayed until about 2 a.m (relatively early) and then went home so we could salvage our Saturday. Below is a quick clip of the craziness that spilled into the street, hopefully I will have more of the party up soon.
We spent Saturday exploring Semyeon and the seedy “Texas street,” and then hiked Guemjeong on Sunday, ending at the Dongnae hot springs for a serious soak. We are lucky in that their is a trail literally in our backyard that connects to the ridge that runs between Beomeosa and the cable car. The trail is empty to, so you can have a peaceful climb before being bombarded by a sea of trendy hikers. We got a little lost, but were luckily led along by a jovial Korean who chuckled in amusement as we followed him to the main trail.
This is about halfway up the riverbed trail, looking down to Dusil. We weren’t sure where we were going but luckily ended up making our way.
This is up at the East gate on the main trail. It was a nice spot, well manicured and surrounded by those foot volleyball courts which were all packed. They also had a public bulls eye where for a dollar you could shoot a wooden bow and a pile of arrows.
I’ve also got some video of the hike, the gates, and the cable car that I will hopefully put up at some point. We forewent the cable car this time and hiked down a steep set of makeshift stairs that led through several temple court yards, at the bottom we were relieved and visited the public foot bath.
This place is a trip. There are some serious hot springs in Dongnae and they really tap into them. This place is usually full of hikers soaking their toes for hours.
We eventually ended up at the larger hot springs which are a giant indoor deal. Lauren overcame her fear of public nudity and we soaked for hours, meeting downstairs to lie in the saunas and even eat a bowl of bibimbap in our robes. It was quite a time.