Sorak-San and Sokcho Album
So after my “I can not deal with Korean culture” fit and Good Man’s amazing “OK, I’ll handle it” response, we headed to Sorak-san and Sokcho Saturday morning.
I was a little doubtful that the weather would be nice, as it’s been icy cold lately, but Good Man thought that it would be warm and not to worry about it.
After a four-hour long bus ride (where we studied Korean, napped, and napped some more), we ended up in Sokcho. We then looked for the bus stop to go to Sorak-san. Good Man started to head up the street, but I spotted the tourist office and demanded he ask them. Good thing, too, because the stop was in the other direction.
After collecting our free maps, we headed to Sorak-san National Park. Unfortunately, since we were in the mountains, it was starting to get dark quickly, so we didn’t have much time. We ate some lunch and then got cable car ticket. Good Man had wanted to hike, but apparently changed his mind once he saw all of the snow.
While we waited for our cable car time, we visited the temple. It was beautiful, but a bit crowded. And since I’m not Buddhist, I don’t much understand, notice, or appreciate the differences among Buddhist temples in Korea. (I notice structural/architectural differences between temples in South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam.)
We took the cable car to the viewing point, and it really was beautiful. It was cold, very lightly snowing, and grey, but still beautiful. We had some coffee at a café, just enjoyed each other’s company.
On the way back down, some Halabeoji was pushing his grandson in front of me and making rude sounding comments at me. He actually pushed my shoulder, trying to get his grandson in front of me. I finally turned around and he mumbled something at me. I said, “네, 하지만 사람 많이 있습니다.” Yes, but there are many people.
It was my way of saying “knock it off, old man,” (using the polite formal form, of course, after all, he was old) and it worked. He nodded at me and backed up. Good Man later said I wasn’t rude and that grandfathers are especially worked up over their grandsons. Still didn’t give him any good reason to push me!
We headed back to Sokcho via taxi and looked for a hotel room. The area near the bus station was surrounded with “sauna” motels. In other words…not the kind of hotel Good Man and I would want to sleep up. Think a step below love motels. I was getting cranky (poor Good Man!) because it was cold and my bag was heavy. We hopped in a very short taxi ride basically around the corner and found the fish market area. A-ha.
We found a motel right away and decided we’d go out for dinner. An hour later we still hadn’t left and decided on pizza. We started chatting about what we’d do Sunday and I just fell asleep. Good Man, being evil, kept asking me questions. I probably made my own “maybe me, neither” comments, I was so tired.
The next day, I woke up early and studied Korean a bit. When Good Man sort of woke up, I decided I’d find a bakery and grab some breakfast. Good Man said, sounding a bit worried, “Do you know where we are? Can you find your way back?”
I laughed. I’d spotted a bakery right on the main road, but he didn’t know that. I smiled, “I’ve managed to not get lost enough to never come back in Costa Rica, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sweden, and I actually speak a little Korean.” Good Man grinned and I winked, “But I’ll grab my cell phone, just in case.”
I didn’t get lost, in fact, I found the port area on my little trip, but I was surprised at how dead the town was! Nothing was open. Yes, it was a Sunday morning, but it was after 10 am.
Around 11:30 we headed out, wandering along the port, taking photos. A couple people stared at us, but in his usual form, Good Man wasn’t embarrassed. We decided to head to the Hwarang park. The Hwa Rang were highly trained military guys during the Shilla dynasty, and since I do taekwondo, we wanted to check out the park.
We hopped in a taxi and headed over there only to find out that it wasn’t at all what we were expecting. It was a park with horseback riding, archery, and the like. And since there was snow all over, it was dead. I started laughing, because it was so not what we expected. “Good Man, are you mad?”
“No,” he said, “it’s just not what we expected.” The best part? Had we looked at the back of our tourist maps—which we had halfway done!—we would’ve known better.
“아, 바보야,” I muttered. Oh, so dumb…
The taxi driver had waited for us, explained that it was closed, then gave us a good recommendation for lunch. He was a friendly guy, polite but interested in who we were, what we’d seen, etc. Still, his lunch rec was great. We had chicken soup at a restaurant with live chickens in front. Ahhh, Korea.
A very nice weekend.
(For the Korean version of this story, check out the 공책.)