Well, the clock says its time to close now
I guess I'd better go now
I'd really like to stay here all night
The cars crawl past all stuffed with eyes
Street lights share their hollow glow
My blog posts, never frequent, have slowed down a bit. I think it's because my life here has gotten somewhat settled down. 5 days of teaching; 2 days of exploration or visiting Hongdae. Some of the initial "wow" factor has worn off and I am getting used to the routine. But it's not boring by any means. I am really enjoying living in Seoul; it is a dynamic city with just about anything possible to do at any hour.
But I recently got of out Seoul and it was a welcome change. Korea is a beautiful city with rolling green hills and verdant forests. I went with a company called Adventure Korea and overall enjoyed it. Normally I am not one for tour groups, but in a country where I don't speak the language it changes things a little bit. Though there were over 40 people on the bus, most of them were pretty cool. I think every one of us was an English teacher and we enjoyed exchanging war stories with one another.
One of my more questionable decisions was accepting a bet for 3,000 won (less than 3 USD) to eat a bunch of garlic. If that seems a trifling sum, don't worry, I never got any money at all. It was all recorded here for posterity. Note that I tried to play it off like it was no big deal, but I might not have been that convincing. (The garlic taste lasted for ever too. The strawberries I picked the next day tasted strongly of it).
The best part of the trip was the late-night encounter with the Korean busissmen. I don't have the words to describe what this was like, but it involved Beatles songs, Waltzing Matilda, soju, plum wine, sand soccer, and a whole lot of broken Konglish. Amazing. This picture in no ways sums it up but it's the best that I've got.
I don't know if I'll do another tour with them. The entire tour cost almost 100,000 won (roughly 100 USD) which was probably 2-3 times what it would have cost to do it by oneself. But it is a good way to meet people, and it's nice not to have to navigate by yourself blindly. But enough talking and on with some pictures.
The village at Gayasan.
I really like this, but it was 17,000 won.
A view of Haeinsa temple.
I still haven't gotten tired of the funny translations here.
A cool boat at the Daegaya Kingdom festival. We even got to see a pirates vs. soldiers acquatic battle.
One of many cool and refreshing fountains.
A couple of other things to mention.
My English language skills are really detoriating. Last weekend, talking amongst my friends, I spoke like the sheep in animal farm : "Two good, three bad." It's alarming that I haven't been here that long and my brain has ceased to function this much already.
Another thing about Seoul that I find odd is the smell of the subway. I've never lived in New York or London, cities famous for their subways, but they are usually considered somewhat vile, unclean, and rank . Seoul itself is a putrid smelling city, but the subways are clean! And due to the food carts that cook waffles and other cinnamon treats, they are the best smelling part of the city too. Weird. Or, as one of my friends says when things in Korea are strange, "Shuflne."