Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

f e s t

So many festivals, so little time - but I'm not complaining. It's strange, because in most aspects of my life every thing feels incredibly normal. When I sit back and reflect, however, I remind myself of all the opportunities that I have to do really awesome stuff. Is it awesome just because I'm in Korea, and therefore it seems really cool by default? Maybe.
But at the end of that day that doesn't matter. What matters is how much I'm enjoying myself. And that's a lot. 

Korea loves celebrating things. Lanterns, garlic, seaweed. Fireworks, whales, apples. The list of various festivals I could attend on any given weekend is extensive. Sometimes these festivals pop out of no where. I'll be walking around, minding my own business, when low and behold my plans for the day have led me right into a fish festival. They are awesome. A reason to hang out with friends, be surrounded by culture, eat, drink, and interact with locals. Let me tell you one thing a group of drunk, elderly Korean men love; a group of equally drunk, foreign girls.
Busan Fish Festival

The first festival of the seasons brought us to Jinhae, where we wandered through train tracks and masses of people while admiring the flowers. It's a bummer these beautiful trees are only in bloom for a few weeks. Who's decision was that, eh?! 

Although not a festival, I took a trip to one of the most beautiful places in Korea: Seoraksan. It was on my list. After ziplining down the longest zipline in Asia, we spent the evening in a small city outside of the national park. Hot tubbing, eating. And drinking ensued. Did I mention I was with my best friends? I swear, I am so lucky to have Leena by my side. Now, not only do I have Leena - I have my Meygs. A ball of fire from California. They are drastically effecting my quality of life while here. Without them, I would be having a blast. With them? A damn explosion. An explosion of fun and happiness.

Seoraksan was perfect. Rainy, yes. But when did a consistent, light drizzle every hurt anyone? It made the landscape seem mystical, like I was in some sort of fantasy. We hiked up to Ulsan Bawi(rock), which is the "main" attraction in the national park. After making it to the top I wandered into the temple. I stood there in awe at how beautiful and peaceful it was. It took me a few minutes to finally realize that the room was carved into the rock. It was incredible. After a sweet little monk offered us some hot tea, we made our way back down to the bottom to enjoy a lunch of Korean Pancakes and Soju before heading up the cable cars.

As we reached the top of the mountain, the cable car was thrown into the clouds. We could see nothing around us except for the fluffy, grey fog. I felt like I was arriving at a distant planet, about to step off of a space ship. We weren't able to see any of the incredible views from the top, but it was still beautiful. The lingering clouds created a calming environment as our little group of friends gathered on some (off limits) rocks away from the heavy treading of Korean families.

View of the Han River in JeongSeon

The following week a group of us got together for a river picnic at Taewagan Park. Tacos were involved. Low and behold, a lantern festival was taking place at the park. After an old man nonchalantly placed one of his (10) pet birds on my head, we took a walk around the forest of bamboo and admired a few thousand flowers. Okay, sixty thousand flowers (at least, that's what I think the taxi driver said). 

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