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Dan’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 26 Mar 2006

Location: Gunsan and surrounding, Korea (South)

MapHello folks,

After leaving the temple on Thur. afternoon I made my way to Gunsan, a town the size of Victoria, located roughly two hours south of Seoul. I'm staying with an ex Thrifty Foods friend, Brydie, who is teaching English here. I have been in email contact with her for a couple months planning this trip and i've been excited to get here since the day i started planning. (Brydie is a modern nomad. She has seen the world for both work and pleasure and I love hearing the stories about her journies. She has been here for 8 months now, and some of her Korea stories are crazy.) I had asked Brydie to give me ther address to her apartment, so I could show the taxi driver after arriving at the bus stop. She responded by saying " hop in a cab and say "Naun-dong, Sek-kyeong Apart-uh, Eee-beck-sa"" I have no idea what all that means, but i got where i had to go without a problem. The taxi ride from the bus stop to her appartment took about 10 minutes and cost W3000...so roughly $3. Gotta love cheap transportation in Korea.

Brydie's boyfriend Joe met me at the appartment and took me out for a nice dinner. After four days in Korea, I have started to get used to spicy food. After that we went out for some drinks before calling it a night.

The next morning, Brydie and I hung out in the morning, swapping stories. Hers had to do about the food in Ghana, the temples in Malaysia and living in Australia, whereas mine had to do with my life at Thrifty Foods. I'm sad to say that hers were a lot more exciting than mine.

Brydie took off for her 2-10 teaching session and I wandered Gunsan. I decided to climb to the highest peak of the town to get some good views of this city. After my five hour long journey i came back to the appartment, did laundry and made the best fruit salad known to man. A treat for the next morning. I picked Brydie up from school at ten and we wandered to the downtown area and met up with some of her friends. We went from bar to bar and had a good time. This is where i had my first introduction to Do-ju (spelling???) It tastes like sparkling apple juice. But WHOAAA...it has some kick to it. There are many different versions of it. There is one drink that is slightly fermented with white things swimming in it. I was told that it might be oats or some kind of grain. I on the otherhand have learnded that when in doubt in Korea, assume that it is either fish or squid. I'll go with squid.
That night we were also treated to a fire show and a private magic show. The night (or should i say morning) ended WAY later than expected, so sleeping in the next morning was awesome. And the worlds best fruit salad was very AWESOME.

At two o'clock, Brydie and i met up with her boyfriend and three other friends of hers (Jody, Justin and Brett). They've had this hiking trip planned for some time now and i was lucky to be here to join in on the fun. The trip was going to be to Naejangsan National Park. We hopped on the express bus and made our way to the park. We arrived two hours later, got some dinner and did some wandering on in the park. We came back to the lil village, played asshole (cardgame) over some beer and called it an early night.

The next morning (today) we got up early to get a good start on our long hike. Justin, who had done this before, had a route planned out that would take us about 6 hours. Me being in such wonderful shape thought to myself...Pffff 6 hours that's it..make it 8!!!!
Well...after about 20 minutes of almost vertical climbing, it was huffing and puffing about ready to turn around and call it a day. Roughly 30 minutes in we came to a bamboo fence with sings posted all over it. We couldn't really make out what the sign said. The only thing we were able to read was W50000 and weren't sure if it was a fine (which it was) or if it was a reward that one would receive upon reaching the summit (which it definatily wasn't). We hoped for the later, navigated around the fence and about an hour in were told by the park rangers that our assumption was wrong. We pulled the tourist card, saying "sorry" like a billion times and were able to talk ourselves out of a $50 fine each. PFEWWW..
We made our way to the bottom of the mountain (after taking some pictures) and had some snacks at the rest station. Joe had a frisbee with him and we flung it around the park for a good time. The time i went out with Josh and Butler back home totally helped me out today, as I was hurling the disc across the park with AWESOME accuracy. We left the park soon after our little athletic session and made our way back to Gunsan. Back at the appartments we showered and ran out to get something to eat. We found a really swanky restaurant and had Korean BBQ. A coal grill is placed in the middle the table and meat is cooked right infront of you. Once cooked, the meat is cut into bite size pieces with a pair of scissors, then wrapped in a lettuce leaf, garnished with mild hotsauce, onions, and a variety of other sidedishes. This concoction is then carefully wrapped up and devoured in a single bite.
Brydie and I came back to the apparement and watched a movie and now i'm sitting here writing this (way too long) blog entry.

Tomorrow I'm going to make my way to Busan, located on the west coast. After that i'll be traveling north along the coast to Gyeongju, before coming back to Seoul on the 30th.

So now you're up to date in my life and my adventures. Hope everybody is doing well. XOXOXO Dan