During my week of exploring Seoul, I was able to get in a nice hike with Emily, Petunia and Kodi on a moutainside not far from their apartment. We took a lot of steps and did a lot of stairs, much to Emily’s delight, as several of the teachers were involved in a fiery FitBit competition. Along the way were lots of exercise equipment station sites, one of which was the site where Petunia and Kodi, who’d been like lovebirds since Day 1, could no longer contain their amorous feelings for each other. Ohhh my.
As we ascended the mountain climb, there were some great views of Seoul, albeit a bit obfuscated by the poor air quality and haze of the day. Despite the heat, humidity, and fact that my legs were the site of every Korean mosquito’s own personal harvest festival, it was wonderful to get to spend so much time outdoors. Emily and I had some great conversations, and she pointed out the recently-maintained South Korean bunkers that had been set up at these high, strategic vantage points. It seemed so antiquated to me that warfare would still be waged with on the ground, by-foot combat necessitated in an age where drones and nukes were prevalent. And as it happened, the day before we left on our cross-country trek, North Korea was reported to have detonated a nuclear test missile below the ground. A bit unsettling, but my mantra of “you can’t live your life in fear” seems to be status quo here. How else could you get along so near the DMZ, where frequently reports are heard of ballistics testing and UN sanctions and the North killing staff members for minor acts of insubordinanation ?
The mountain peak had a beautiful temple, but we were a bit too late to get to explore it, and I’d already put in a 50 mile bike day, so we were ready to eat!
The wait for Korean barbecue was over! David, Emily, and Andrea walked over to a local place where we waited on an outdoor patio until a table for 5 was free. Meanwhile, we wanted to have a beer on the patio, and after asking this of her with a mix of basic Korean and heavy gesticulating, she responded to our request with a totally bewildered look. Nonetheless, she brought us our beverages, and we were joined by Mindi, one of the now-hailed Magnificent Seven Plus Dog.
After an exquisite dinner of generously tended lean pork (thanks, Andrea for handling the BBQ!), a delicious introduction to grapefruit soju, and some late night shenanigans, we were ready for our transcontinental journey.
Song of the day – Into the Great Wide Open by Tom Petty.