“TRAVEL IS GLAMOROUS ONLY IN RETROSPECT.” ~ PAUL THEROUX
4.10.13 - 4.23.13
Oh Mr. Theroux if only that weren't so. You, and by you I really mean me, never really thought about the time in between "the experience" of traveling. Actual travel is exhausting and uncomfortable to say the least. When you are thinking about the whole concept it sounds great hop from one part of the globe to another taking in everything that the world has to offer. Yes. Sign me up! And do not get me wrong I love it and I encourage any and everyone to travel (even if it is just to a neighboring town). But, my oh my, the time getting from point A to point B is an experience all by itself.
I said I was going to be busy in April and busy I was. Ay yi yi. Never again will I plan so many trips in such a short time frame. I loved the trips and I am glad I went on all of them but I am so tired now. After my trip down to the Cherry Blossom Festival I had a weekend of staying home and enjoying what Ilsan has to offer. It was very nice except for the fact that I started to get sick. During this time of year Korea experiences what they call "yellow dust." Which is basically massive amounts of pollution that gets swept up in the wind and atmosphere and comes directly from China to settle over Korea. It is gross. When it's particularly heavy it looks just like the name would suggest. Yellow dust. Over everything.
Now considering where I come from you'd think I'd be able to handle a little dirty air. But apparently seven months of clean air have made my lungs and body soft. I have had a cold for two weeks because of this stupid dust. But my cold did not deter me from going on my little mini vacations.
The third weekend in April I had a two-day trip a little south to 대구 (Daegu) and some surrounding areas. Korea has their own brand of bull fights and it was the annual bull fight festival. I got up at the unholy hour of 430am to catch the very first subway to the opposite side of Seoul and then got on the tour bus for a four hour ride to the area we were going to be staying in. Enter the very un-glamorous bits of travel Mr. Theroux. So the trip started out a bit rocky just for the sheer pain of the actual transportation bit. And again the rain decided to join us (which in some parts turned to snow) so the festival was kind of a flop. The bull fights still happened because they were indoors but all the other scheduled activities and experiences of the festival didn't happen because it was all outdoors. After one fight (which ok it isn't a Spanish fight so no one died but it was still sad to see the poor bulls pushing and shoving each other) KB and I headed over to the Bull Fighting Theme Park. And yes that was the name but no it was not a theme park. It was a museum. Someone really needed to hire an English speaker to confirm the name.
We spent a good three hours at this "theme park" sitting near the wall outlet charging our phones and playing word games. Woohoo sounds like an epic time and a great use of our travel experience. Although I did get a kick out of the map of bull fighting around the world. According to this map we have been calling ourselves by the wrong name. We are not the United States of America like I thought. We are, in fact, the United of States America. Those pesky little prepositions. Such a difficult concept to grasp. But fear not, we fared much better than poor Mexico, who is actually "Maxico." And we seemed to gain a lot of land mass near our eastern border. And Greenland took some enhancement meds because it was twice the size of the USA. Strangest most amazing map I have ever seen.
After the mostly-flopped bull fight we headed to an abandoned railroad tunnel that has been turned into a winery. It was amazing. This area of Korea is known for their peaches and persimmons and they have their own special winery that makes persimmon wine. You can walk in this tunnel and taste the wine and see some of the barrels of wine that are being aged. There were some slightly creepy areas that I loved and they made it very cool inside with the decor and copious amounts of christmas lights that lit the whole area. But it was super crowded. Apparently everyone likes to go wine tasting when it rains. That does not bode well for the summer months when it basically doesn't stop raining...
After the very cool wine tasting we headed to the hotel and then to dinner. Afterwards most of the group headed to check out the night life of 대구 (Daegu) but since I had been up since 430 I headed back to the hotel to sleep. And sleep I did. On a very hard floor with the traditional mat on the floor style. Let's just say I really appreciate my mattress now.
The next morning we all hopped on the bus, drove another hour or so, to 구미 (Gumi) where we ate lunch. I am very proud of myself. I ate blowfish. Not exactly something you hear everyday. Oh, yeah, I ate blowfish for lunch today. What about you? Surprisingly it did not have a fishy taste to it. It was really good.
After lunch we all headed to a zip line adventure! This was the highlight of my weekend. A 2 mile long course with 9 different runs. It was amazing. So much fun I want to go again! There isn't much to say about zip lining. If you've gone you know what I am talking about and if you haven't you really need to remedy that. You strap in to this massive body harness and basically fly down a mountain on metal cables. Doesn't that just make you want to find your way to the nearest zip line establishment? Despite my lack of a glowing description I highly recommend it. Go. Do it. It's fun. Peer pressure!
Then it was back on the bus and subway and walking and then home to my wonderfully comfortable bed and personal shower.
Now I much prefer a charter bus to normal buses or crowded trains but they can still be ridiculously uncomfortable. No leg room. No reclining enough to get comfortable. No control over temperature or bathroom breaks. After a few hours your butt hurts and you don't want to sit but you can't do anything about it. This is where the travel parts gets precarious. Is the actual travel worth the destination? If it weren't for the zip line and the potentially haunted (at least it looked like it could have been the best place for a haunted story) then I would deem the travel portion not worth the destination during this trip but all in all I am glad I went. If anything it just gave me a perspective of a not so good weekend away.
Balance, that's all it was, balance.
And balance I received. This not so great of a trip was a precursor to what I shall deem the best weekend trip to date. 진도 (Jindo). My last weekend trip in April... there are not adequate words to describe it yet. Jindo is amazing. And just a little teaser of what is to come in my next post... I shall speak of Moses miracle crossings, beach side barbecues, puppies, and mountain climbing. Add a little Doctor Who and friends and it equals epic proportions that likes of which this blog has never seen!
But see them it shall! Next time because I am tired. I am sure you are just riveted beyond belief now. Well I promise you won't have to wait longer than a few days.
Until the next time!