Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mountain Trip

Last weekend we went to Seoraksan National Park in the mountains off the north east coast of South Korea. It was a 3 hour bus ride to our hotel which was only a short walk to the beach. We walked out to the beach and watched people shooting roman candles off all over the place. By the time we arrived it was about 11pm so it was dark and very cold! We got up early the next morning and drove to another park that had a spring. Apparently it's the thing to go drink this water. Which is what I'm doing in this picture to the right. It tasted like Sprite almost! Very much like minerals and also a little like it had soda bubbles in it. Weird. Then we were off to the National Park. One of the Korean teachers named Rira went with us so she could meet her boyfriend, so we were lucky enough to have him drive us around all weekend!
Rira, Catherine, Me, Miriam

Two of the most interesting things inside the park was a huge Buddha statue and several Buddhist temples. The temples were very colorful and ornate. Thomas and I felt so sorry for the people who were going inside to bow down to the Buddha idols.

View Inside One Of The Temples

We figured we walked over 10 kilometers that day. We were so tired that night! After the park we had the Korean meal of sam gep sa. They brought so many side dishes, our table was quite the sight!

One of the nice things we've discovered about Korea is service. This is free stuff either a store or restaurant gives you when you buy something from them. They just give it to you and say, "Service, service!" So, Saturday night we went back to our hotel at the beach and shot off some Roman candles, for our purchase we received some sparklers as service. It was fun playing around with them, they were really long! Sunday morning we only had a few hours before we had to catch our bus back to Seoul. We went for breakfast at a local Korean restaurant and had...yes it's true...spicy catfish soup. For Breakfast! The fish in the soup was cut into about 4 large pieces, head, bones, tail and all! It was actually pretty good. I was surprised! Then we walked down to a Salmon festival that was being held nearby. There were lots of stands selling various fish, one of which was WHALE! We didn't even know you could still kill whale anymore. But there were quite a few stands selling it (click on "Our photos" on the side to see a picture of it). We watched some belly dancers shake it on stage. Our bus ride back took six hours as opposed to the three it took to get there! Lots of people leave Seoul for the weekend, so apparently the norm is for it to take almost double the time to get back on Sundays. I guess everyone else wanted to see the leaves too!

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