Random walk, ends in a laugh riot

Ben and I had come up with a way to make our regular hikes in Seoul a little more exciting. Each station has a number allocated to them, so what we did was used those numbers to decide where to go. For the generation of our numbers we used a 12 sided dice. The results so far, have been based around the Han river. Something that we’d specifically been trying to get away from.

Jamwon wasn’t exactly close to the Han (nothing really is) but we did end up walking along it and along untrodden ground, and filling in the grey areas that of ground seen, but not covered per se.

I guess the more times I do this sort of thing, the more blasé I get about the whole process of taking photographs. I mean, nothing pegs out my weird-freak-o-meter any more. Walking through Jamwon we discovered it well established, with all the ammenities at hand.

I would have to say that crossing the two-tiered bridge (반포대교) was the most interesting part of the journey. It was colourfull, curved and unusual.

After crossing that bridge, we saw some cops trying to catch traffic violators on camera. So I caught them on my camera. I didn’t think they minded.

Onwards to Yongsan, and by my veto, we walked through some of the more delapidated areas. Ben told me that there had been some riots over surrendering real estate to developers. To which the government, sided with the developers resulting in a rather notable ruckus.

After reaching Yongsan we settled in for some beer sipping and snack munching, all the while fending off bums. This particular one had a shaved head, and perhaps was a monk. I say this because in all the time he worked the area where we sat he didn’t utter a word. To Ben and I, this situation wasn’t new, so we decided to play a game of statues. Ben cast his eyes down, while I naïvely gazed ahead. I had this silly smirk on my face, and the bum though not talking, used gestures amounting to motioning an outstretch palm about the place. The giggles became laughter, and soon the belly laughter was unstoppable. We were lucky that bum/ monk had since gone while Ben and I continued our lapse into insanity for about 5 minutes. Looking at us, Koreans must have perceived foreigners as a little bit stranger that day.

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Dead dogs, praying mantis and the mirage in the sky

I thought the doggie was just having a kip, when my walking partner pointed out the flies buzzing around it’s head. Apparently fido had chewed his last bone and had gone to the big kennel in the sky. The destination of our walk was to be the quarry we saw on the side of the hill. This quarry could be seen from almost anywhere in Eumseong, but for us, it was unattainable. A mere mirage between the horizon and the sky.

Still who wants to climb a quarry when you could potentially walk through someones pumpkin patch, eat oranges and walk up and down hills through acres and acres of fruit orchards?

At one point we observed two dueling praying mantis, locked in a Mexican stand-off. They were spotted in time before one of us stood on one or both of them, leading to a squishy, crunching end to the duel. Normally, the loser in these sort of battles got their head bitten off. Life and dead in the void, my name for Eumseong.

Free t-shirt, not completely unwanted

I recently took pictures of the Sixes tournament for the KCA. How could I refuse? I’m the official photographer, so it’d be rude not to go. I received a free t-shirt from the organisers. It’s a little bit like when I was at university and represented Massey university at Fencing, and at one year sports climbing too. I got two t-shirts to wear. Though not of bad quality, not fully appreciated either.

The latest t-shirt has that same feeling, though of more contemporary materials. I should be more grateful. Fully synthetic it’ll be good to wear when I go walking. The cap was not free, but bought on another occassion.

Up the Su-jeong san, trying to catch a butterfly

An afternoon’s random walk around Eumseong lead me to go up a hill just outside of the township. I couldn’t see (or photograph for that matter) the town on account of the trees. The summit was decked out with grass, two bench seats with no backs, a signboard extolling the local history, and a few random rocks. I sat recovering from my efforts to get to the top, enjoying the open space and quiet. Until I spied three middle aged women following the same trail up as I had climbed. We said our hellos and they continued on down a side track.

On the meadow at the top there fluttered a few butterflies. Not being one to miss a photo opportunity, I must have spent at least 10 minutes trying to capture a decent photograph of the yellow butterfly in flight. Being smaller than airplanes and birds, getting enough butterfly to fill the frame proved to be problematic. The result is what you see before you.

The A-Z of Sinchon to Hannam

the Loch ness monster

Hiking along the Han river is one of my preferred activities when the weather is good. The spirit was definitely willing even if the flesh was severely assaulted by furnace like temperatures. What began as an enjoyable stroll along the Han river (in Seoul) later became a test of will not to pike out and take the bus back to the relative comfort of Yongsan station before our destination. We did make it to Hannam dong in the end, but were absolutely spent. We patiently waited for the big green bus to trundle down the road to pick us up. The air conditioning was absolute bliss.

We did the normal things while walking; taking photographs to remember all that we’d passed, commented on how brave the water skiers were to do it on the Han river (the water was a light-ish brown that day), and stopped half-way to drink some cool water and eat snickers bars. A minor over-sight on the temperature side: snickers bar had under-gone melt down of Chernobyl proportions after being stuffed into the side pocket, but in direct sunlight. Consumption involved sucking the melted contents of the packet. At no time was chewing needed.

One thing that we did discover was that there are live trout in the Han. We saw them jumping a water barrier to get upstream. It was akin to seeing the Loch ness monster as no-one would believe you there were trout unless you had a photo of it leaping from the water out of desperation to get clear of the muck.

And like the Loch ness monster I only had fleeting photographs of them, patience not being the tone of the day.