Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A looooong day of volcanoes, hitchhiking, bbqs and beautiful skies

The day started with a glorious sunrise over the pacific ocean.

I had a stomach bug or food poisoning or just something wrong with my insides and so stayed in bed for a while before eating some ramen and then hopping on the road to hitchhike our way to Hallasan (Mt Halla, san is an ending in korean that means mountain) Hallasan is the volcanic crater in the center of the island who at point splurted lave out to create Jeju Island.

Our house is underneath one of the airports landing flight patterns so we get tons of airplanes passing overhead. This show was one of the sun rising and the plane zooming by. If you notice in the near center, just a little below and left, is an airplane. I was slow to capture it so the plane got a bit past me.

We had almost no trouble getting rides hitchhiking. In the US i know it's unsafe, but in Korea it seems like nothing is unsafe. People are so friendly, and if they can help by picking you up, a lot of the time they will. we hitched a ride to the main road leading from town to Hallasan and proceeded to walk on from there with hope to catch another ride up to the trail.

my roommate Unekeol walking ahead as we hitched our way to Hallasan in the distance.

We were able to get another ride shortly after and were dropped off at the driveway to the trails welcome center.

Once up we checked with the visitor center and found out we were not on the trailhead we wished to be. this trail takes you up, but not all the way to the craters top. There would be no real way to get to that trail in time, hike it, and still get home for the "party" we were told was happening at our place that night. So we went up a trail.

The koreans have, in my opinion, ruined mountain hiking. They put in stairs all the way up the trail and also have cell towers on top. Having people talking on their phones and playing their streaming music out loud while walking around you is INCREDIBLY annoying, and for me it disconnects you completely with the nature that you've come to be a part of.

cell tower atop a mountain peak.

Hallasan's crater in the distance from our Mt top

view of the city and ocean

more city and ocean, just a little more east of the last shot

a little more east. look at those mountains and lush greenery.

well, it turns out the trail we took was only to a short mountain peak. The 1.8km trail of stairs was very tiring for me. wow, I am not in the lung shape i used to be in. and my quads.. dear god my quads hurt. when we got down we rested, i had some crackers for my still upset stomach and we decided to hike up the other trail. a 5km hike to see the crater. I don't know why but i thought that it would be a fun and easy walk. my mistake, indeed. though, in fairness this is how the trail started out.

doesn't that look beautiful and fun? well the rest of the trail was steep stairs and Andy getting more tired. I kept telling myself, "this is fun? this is what i am doing on my day off? why? why? whyyyy? maybe i should just go down. i don't want to be doing this. why am i doing this. i am tired. i am thirsty.... etc... etc..." but i also knew that I needed to get to the top. that if i sucked it up, i wouldn't die and i'd be happy to have made it up.

We pursued on and took a little rest near the top to eat a candy bar for energy and drink some water.

a shot of the crater from our resting spot.

after the break, including stretching, we hiked up the rest of the trail.

us at the top of the trail. not sure if you can see it, but the stone says 1700m. we started near 900m. that means it's a 5km trail in length and 800m in elevation.

we got some ramen (of course they have ramen at the trail tops) and rested for a bit before heading back down.

a view of the city below.

the vegetation was very different near the top. also, notice the silver metal rails. this was used for a "train" that delivered food and supplies to the top. I think you could also use it if you got hurt on the trail and couldn't walk down.

the city and ocean and clouds. also notice the wooden path and stairs that we're walking on

after hiking all the way back down we waited for the bus but ended up hitching a ride into Jeju City. Once there we walked around a great deal. We stopped into a grocery store where i bought some korean instant coffee for the house and also a korean melon (first new fruit for me on the trip, can't wait for more!!)

we also stopped a bit later for some ddukbokki and mandoo. YUMM!!!

we then caught the bus back to our spot. though there are 2 #37 buses and we, of course, got the one that doesn't end right near our house. So we got the joy of walking more. My feet were so tired at this point. I just wanted to get home and plop out.

we eventually made it home and the bbq was about to get underway. I helped create a fire upon which tons of glorious meat was grilled. there was also plenty of makoli and a ginseng soju.

Samgyeopsal being grilled. think thick fatty uncured bacon.

even the dogs were having fun at the party.

the pups milking mom for all she has, literally!

and then as the day began with a beautiful sunrise, so ended the night with a gorgeous sunset.

actually the night ended with one of the old korean men I work with getting way too drunk and trying to get us to stay awake with him. we went to bed and he came in, hammered and talked for a while, lord knows about what. then he left, came back shortly after with milk and bread (????) eventually after kicking me a bunch to stay awake and who knows what, he fell asleep talking to himself the whole way, on the floor across from me. in the morning he woke me up and started a fire. he cooked some pork and then we drank milk out of a bowl. very odd ending to a lovely day.

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