Kayaking Trip

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DSCF0185 (2)Last weekend brought with it a wonderful chance to go on another Lonely Korea, Pedro trip.

In respect for the Sewol Ferry disaster, Pedro took a break from leading trips. Also, he’s been quite busy taking care of the other part of his business: his guest house and hostel, Pedro’s House. It’s been many months since my last trip with him (and I’ve been on more than just a few) so you can imagine my excitement when he posted a new one.

River Kayaking to be followed up with a BBQ meal.

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Water and my DSLR are a potentially dangerous combination. I managed the Water Festival with no incidents but I wasn’t willing to risk it on a river. It was a perfect excuse to go out and buy a waterproof point-and-shoot, though: something I’ve wanted for a while. And though I’ve found myself a little disappointed by the way the pictures came out (not as clear, weird colors) it’s better than nothing. With more practice on the camera as well as with action shots, I’m sure I can get better images eventually. But unless it calls for water, I’ll stick to my SLR.

We meet at the usual spot at the bus station at 1:30  in the afternoon. It’s the latest I’ve ever started a Pedro trip.

The drive to the Kayaking spot is mostly quiet. Several members of the group were up late the night before or just incredibly busy. Everyone’s a little tired.

After distributing life vests and the requisite ugly helmets, we are directed into kayaks, shown how to hold the paddles, and slipped into the water with no further direction. Not that we really need it. We paddle in circles until our guide, dressed confidently in a wet-suit but no life jacket or helmet, joins us.

The weather’s been nice all week and today’s no exception. Despite predictions of rain showers, each day has been sunny and dry. Our earlier rain storms means that the river is high enough for a calm afternoon of paddling with a few moments of excitement.

There’s little to say about kayaking actually. I enjoy the “rapids” and bumping along on the wavelets. We stop partway to sit on a bridge and eat apples and drink some beer. A few people jump off the bridge into the water, just because.

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After a few more dips and scurries the kayak trip is over all too quickly. A truck picks us and the boats up and takes us back to the starting point. It’s not very big, so a few people sit in the back with the kayaks, ducking their heads when the low-hanging tree branches hang a little too low.

Pedro sets up the portable stove and brings out more food than I think 8 people really need. Then he panics that he forgot another box of food, containing bread and wine, at the bus station.

The kayak truck.

The kayak truck.

He jumps in the van and drives away to buy more food despite the fact we aren’t very close to any supermarkets. We fry dumplings and some chicken and eat while we wait. When he gets back, he proceeds to serve us several courses of food: pork sausages with some peppers, bulgogi (marinated beef), and beef patties fried with more peppers and vegetables. As if that weren’t enough, we also had fresh cucumbers, carrots and tomato, and lettuce to snack on.

Among many of his other accomplishments, Pedro is good at and loves to cook. You will never go hungry or thirsty on his trips, even if her forgets half of what he planned to bring.

I wander around taking random photos of things.

A satisfying end to the weekend.

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Stay tuned, as I’ll have another chance to play around with my waterproof camera at the beach on Friday! More later.

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A Profusion of Cherry Blossoms

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IMG_3828 (2)Note before I begin: For those who were paying attention, I said I’d stay away from the internet this month. Then I remembered about this annoying thing called taxes. Since I have to go online to send in all that info, I decided I may as well go all-out. I’ll have to postpone my  “no internet” month until it’s over. May might be a good time to start. Also, last weekend was too busy to wait 1 month to talk about. So without further ado, I present a different writing style to talk about “A Profusion of Cherry Blossoms.” Remember to click on the pictures to enlarge them! Continue reading

Jindo: Sea parting and dog show

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IMG_3466 (2)The last weekend of March I joined the largest trip I’ve been on so far in terms of people (Pedro had to rent two buses). Jindo is a large island (though not near as large as Jeju) south of Gwangju. A bridge connects it to the mainland and it often acts as a gateway to the other islands in the area (via ferry).  In early spring, for a few days, the tide falls low enough to reveal a strip of land that runs from Jindo to a smaller island called Modo. The legend behind it has to do with a grandmother who wanted to reunite with her family on the other side. Her prayers were answered and a rainbow bridge appeared. Continue reading