Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bongmu Park and Hilarity

As you can see from my new profile picture, I have begun my collection of entertaining English language apparel available in Korea. Many t-shirts, hats, bags, etc. have words in English printed on them. Usually they are nonsensical, inappropriate, or grotesquely ungrammatical. See, over here, English is "cool" and "trendy" like the way there are shirts with random Chinese or Japanese characters on them in the US. However, when you know the language this is often entertaining. Hence my new hat, which captures the spirit of my experiences in Korea so far: Hilarity!

Yesterday, Se Jin and I were going to head out to Palgongsan, a popular mountain park outside of Daegu that has several famous temples and such, but the weather was very overcast and threatening to storm, so we went to Bongmu Park instead, which is closer to the city and on the way out to Palgongsan. Even with the overcast haze, the lake at the center of the park was very serene and made for some breathtaking scenery--I made Se Jin pose for a shot:

Isn't it rather pretty?


Bongmu Park has a 7km hiking trail for "health and wellness" that heads up into the mountains around the lake and is supposed to circle around the lake and end up back in the park. Well... we kinda had an accidental voyage off said trail near the end and walked past a water purification area that looked kind of like a military industrial complex, and ended up coming out on a major highway right along the bus route. Se Jin couldn't stop laughing.

Korean rice farm, with a scarecrow in the front left corner


Korean burial mounds with grave markers, all clean and prepared for Chuseok


Although the vertical bits on the trail were quite steep and challenging, scattered throughout the path were collections of more workout equipment. For physically active Korea, apparently, hiking isn't considered enough for exercise. I was very impressed with all the older ajummas and ajosshis I saw not only climbing the mountain that wore me out, but using the workout equipment at the little groves arranged for this purpose. The craziest part though, was that each one also had a mirror. I mean, we can't possibly look bad after working out on top of a mountain, right?

Se Jin uses a piece of equipment--the foot pads of this thing allowed you to twist the bottom half of your body.


I guess I should check myself out, right?


Se Jin taught me the Sino-Korean numbers while we were hiking. I had learned the pure Korean counting numbers from Sa Beom Nim as he counts off exercises, but the Sino-Korean numbers seem to be used more often for things, so it is good to know them--and they were much easier to memorize than the pure Korean numbers for some reason.

I took many more pictures along the path that were quite nice, even though the weather was not as cooperative for picture taking as I would have liked. I have to keep practicing getting better at this photography thing. Anyhow, check out the album at Picasa:

Bongmu Park (Daegu, South Korea)


We had dinner back in town before crashing for the evening. Man, I feel so out of shape. If that was the easy hike, then I need to buff up for Apsan and Palgongsan. Yikes--Koreans take this hiking stuff seriously!

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