not much going on today. It’s bitter cold again, but sunny. I feel kind of yuck. So, we just went to the comissary for groceries and hung out at home.
BUT, this weekend we had a blast. We drove about 4 ours east to the town of Sokcho on the east sea shore. It’s a great port town that surrounds a nice lake/inlet. We drove around and found a cheap ‘love motel’; I think they are just called this since they are cheap and it’s possible to book by the hour. We, obviously, opted for the whole evening. It was nice enough with a hard korean double mattress, table and chair, mini frig with free water, and shower in the bathroom. It was, however, unbelievably hot so we slept with the window open. That evening we walked across the street to the Fire and Water festival. It just happened to be the final day. We took in all the interesting booths selling food, and visited the 2 big activity greenhouses. Zoe and Bryan made some candy and we all made a wish lantern. We then took it down to the waterfront dock, lit the candle, and plopped it into the lake. This is what everyone else was doing with their wishes…we wished for a happy family. The dock was a neat floating exhibit with floating fire torches and two really cool floating lit dragons. In the evening there was a big stage performance followed by a light show and fireworks. The whole thing was telling a story that we couldn’t quite understand…something about 2 dragons that seemed to go through numerous boughts of friendship and fighting…perhaps they represented Fire and Water? Anyway, it was a neat thing to go to and they took our picture a TON since we wer the only white people there. We kept joking that we’ll be in next years brochure to make it appeal more to foreigners.
The next day we tackled Seoraksan; we actually just took it easy. We rode the gondola up to the top of a very very blustery peak with amazing views and then had some PBJ’s in the lookout tower. It was so cold and windy at the top I felt like I’d be blown over. The Koreans were concerned about Zuzz and tried to cover her with their coats, but she would have none of it. It WAS extremely windy at the peak but we were there less than 5 minutes to get a picture and get down, so I think she was fine. After the gondola dropped us back at the bottom we took a nice long hike along the river to a rock outcropping called Bisondae. Zuzz fell asleep in the pack so we covered her head with Bryans shirt. We then hiked up a very steep route that included many metal stairs to a cave temple. It was so steep it was creepy, but the view from the top was great. Zoe woke up crying so we stopped in the temple cave and stayed for a while getting snack. I think her hands and feet got too cold dangling from the backpack while she was asleep. We had her warmest gloves on and even footie pajamas to keep her warm, but I guess we get so hot hiking we didn’t realize her hands were cold. We covered her feet with Bryans gloves for the trip back and she was OK for quite a while, though she cried and I had to hold her for a few km at the end. We felt so bad that she got cold.
For the evening we stayed at a jjimjilbang in Sokcho. It so cheap to get in and you can just crash on the floor so we thought we actually give it a go. It was also a great place to warm up. Zoe was in much better spirits after a 2 hour bath / shower/ hot tub soak. This jjimjilbang was so nice, too, with a huge relaxation floor area with a great view and an indoor playground and 5 or 6 hot saunas. The best was that for W5000 (about $4) we rented a private room for the evening…so we got an 8×6 room to sleep in on the floor on the mats. It worked out great, though it wasn’t the best sleep any of us has had. I’d do it again, though, and even if they didn’t have the private rooms. Zoe had fun running around with all the other kids for a while, too. I was surprised how many family’s stayed the night like we did. I more expected singles or drunk people (who did stumble in sometime in the middle of the night).
On Monday we drove back home and got Arlo from a friend who watched him for the weekend.