It started far too early – just after 6 am on a Saturday. Unless you are still grinding the surface off your teeth in a crank frenzy, this is a time to sleep. But the alarm clock comes without mercy, and so it did to me. I cleaned myself up as best I can, and grabbed a cab to the Uni. Got there a bit early, which was in fact spectacularly early, since the “departure time” had been calculated based on “Korean time” (which is something similar to “Mexican Time” if you live near the border). Everyone showed up, and we headed off just about 8:15.
I really could have used that extra hour of sleep, but made up for it the best I could by napping on the bus. Sleep was impossible after we stopped halfway through the trip and heard that ex-president Roh had killed himself, apparently on account of the corruption probe into his presidency and family.
We took a quick stop at a kind of shrine to a Korean Movie which showed North and South Korean troops living in peace in an imaginary semi-utopia.
We arrived in town and walked through the market, which was nice, but nothing really unusual for a Korean open market. Lunch was adventurous. Seundae (an intestine based sausage), So Mori kuk pap – which is Cow-head soup and rice, and some extra bits of cow head and liver (the only thing I didn’t touch, based on horrible memories from my childhood) and Makkeoli. Not a bad meal, if you forget what’s actually in the thing.
Then it was off to rafting. As we drove up the river, it looked pretty lame – flat and regular. But the rafting was quite fun – the river was very tame, tame enough so that the guides actually crashed us into things for fun. Two of the slenderer girls were on the verge of hypothermia by the end of the trip and the guide kept splashing them with water and pushing them into the river (this was part of the game), despite the fact he had given one of them a heat-blanket type thing, and had the other huddle in the bottom of the raft to get out of the wind. This didn’t make sense to me, but it must be one of those Yin versus Yang things that no occidental tourist can understand. It also began to rain on us, which added to the coldnessosity.
Then back to the bus and off to the hotel. Our lovely office planner snagged me a room with a bed – a giant room, for only 60k won, which I was happy to pay for the solitude and control of the TV!
Then a truly brilliant dinner. Fat-ass Sam Gyap Sal, real sausages, thick mushroom strips, bean soup, rice and beer and soju flowing like beer and soju. Lots of cool chatter with the students and the kind of public good feelings that Koreans are so splendid at. Some folks headed off to a casino after, but I retreated to my big fat Korean room and am watching TV and preparing to go to sleep early.
Word is we aren’t expected to leave until 10 tomorrow, so I also should get a bonus sleep-in type of thing.