A turtle travels only when it sticks its neck out ~Korean Proverb


Big Update, Part 2

Bukhansan hiking and Yonsei/Koryo Partying: The weekend after the Gyeongbokgung and Namsan visits was probably the most engaging since I’ve been here. On Friday night we began to celebrate my friend Jessica’s birthday by going to some bar and turning it into a dance club. We like to think that we are taking in as much culture as we’re putting out…so we always get Koreans to dance in bars and we always get the DJ to play classic American music. From there we split up. I went to a club called M2 with Soomin and Haeyun (two awesome buddies) and then went home around 4…everyone else stayed at the bar until around 5 or 6 in the morning. Now, the only reason I point out the times is because we had to wake up at 8:00 am for our International Student Hiking Trip at Bukhansan. Needless to say, we all looked like crap on the bus ride over. A side note: our bus had a Karaoke machine built into it…proving that my genius idea for in-car karaoke was not a first.

Yes, there's Karaoke microphones attached to the bus, and a huge LCD in the front.

Upon arriving we grabbed some food (kimbap rolls or hoagies) and started up the mountain in one huge group. There were many areas that were extremely dangerous…and I get the feeling in America would have been off limits. I do not exaggerate when I say I could have died very easily several times. It wasn’t so much a hike as a climb…now that I think about it in hindsight. It was worth it though…the view was absolutely spectacular. From my understanding, the city of Seoul is nestled between the Han River and Four outer mountains. Bukan-san (mountain) is the northern limit of Seoul. While we did not get to the highest peak (there are three) we did get to the second highest which was probably about 650 meters up. After reaching this peak there was some confusion as to where to head next…so what ended up happening was that we lost 8 international students and the Dean of the International Education Institute on the hill. They continued towards the top while the rest of our group took pictures and relaxed at a mountain spring rest stop….and as you all know, the first thing you do when given a seemingly endless supply of real, pure, mountain spring water is get into a water fight. We had a lot of fun on the mountain, except for one or two minor injuries. It was so beautiful though. My pictures cannot do justice to the view we had. From several points I could see nearly all of the major city of Seoul. One note, for my own future reference: Walking down a hill is much more difficult than walking up…take this into consideration before zealously scaling any future mountains.

Our group walking up the mountain.

A picture I took from halfway up the mountain.

First view of the city of Seoul.

Second view of the city of Seoul.

At least the mountains in the background look good.

All of my friends are a great deal more photogenic than I...exhibit A.

Of course, my eyes are closed... -_-

An outcropping some friends and I went out on for the view...the IEI staff quickly dropped a K-bomb because it was to dangerous. Note: Dropping a K-bomb is whining about something excessively until you get it your way.

Let the water fight begin.

Mari's (pink shirt) face is aboslutely priceless.

Nico offering me a 'drink' of water.

Yep. Good old-fashioned cultural misinterpretations.

After making our way down the mountain, we took the bus back to Ewha and promptly went to eat. The combination of bokkum bap (fried rice) with having not slept more than 3 hours in the past two days resulted in my sleeping during most of the day Saturday. Later that night we had planned to go out and eat, party, and go to the banks of the Han River and relax to celebrate Jessica’s birthday, however we began and ended the evening in Sincheon. What we had failed to realize was that this weekend was the big Yonsei/Koryo Rivalry period. During the weekend assorted sports teams from both schools had played each other. Following the sport, the party culminated in a 10+ block party that engulfed most of Sincheon. There were thousands of students everywhere. The students wearing blue are Yonsei students or fans, and those wearing red are for Koryo. We first stopped at a big free concert being held in the heart of Sincheon and watched a couple of acts…then we decided to move along. Along the way to whatever destination we had decided upon we encountered long lines of blue and red students cheering and screaming their school chants. Also, they would go into convenience stores and beg the owner for beer and soju. This apparently, is one of the biggest parts of the tradition. Outside many of the shops there were tables thrown together with huge punch bowls of soju and makolli (traditional Korean rice wine). There were also restaurants setting up free food for the students. We decided to cheer not only for both schools, but also for Ewha. Never in my life have I been so revered and respected as I was that night. When I started chanting for Yonsei a sea of blue would rush over to me and either pick me up or slap high fives. Likewise it was the same with Kodae (Yodae and Kodae are abbreviated names). When we tried to start Ewha chants, at first we got some weird looks…but after showing the crowds our ID cards they went crazy and we had hundreds of red and blue students circling around us and cheering for Edae. In addition to learning many school chants, I also had a good chance to take a look at the average Korean college student…and let me tell you, they are a hell of a lot nicer and more respectful than most of the garbage I’ve seen in the states. Even the ones that are hopelessly drunk apologize for knocking into you, or pick up your ID card for you when you drop it. By the end of the night, I was convinced that Korean colleges could show American colleges more than a thing or two about having an awesome time.

Some famous woman singing on stage.

Yonsei people milling about...in huge lines.

Kodae corner.

Which one doesn't belong? Hint...he's a blonde finnish guy.

High Fives were the trademark of the party.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great entries, Bri. :)

1:10 am


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