This last weekend was packed full of Korean culture goodness, so much so that I was almost happy to be grading essays at school today-- almost. Good friends Scott and Alison called me Saturday afternoon and invited me to tag along for a leisurely hike. I learned that Scott and Alison's idea of a leisurely hike is different from my own. In the Korean spirit for not pussyfooting around, much of the trail just shot straight up the mountain. Ever since I've entered this country I've been freezing my butt off with every activity I do. This hike was the first exception. From what I hear about the summer time here, it won't be the last one.
Despite hauling my sweaty and physically unconditioned self up the smog enveloped mountain, I had a good time. I know the thing that will eventually drive me away from this place is the lack of outdoor activities. No mountain biking, no snowboarding, no disc golf, no camping, but it was nice to get outside anyway. Different flowers were in bloom and at the end of the hike we descended down into a beautiful park. It was the first real stunning beauty that I've seen since I've been here, discounting the girls in miniskirts.
Latter on that night we went to friend Julie's for food and drinks and then up to the roof to hang out. In Korea most major buildings have rooftop access. Fireworks are also legal here. Once I heard that I told my coworker if they want to find me during the summertime, come up to the roof. I'll be the guy sitting in the lawn chair next to my cooler launching fireworks towards North Korea. I thought I might come here to escape my white trash ways, but it looks as though I might be getting sucked back in.
On Sunday a group of us went to Insadong market in Seoul to stand witness to the lantern festival. There were tons of people there and lots of booths set up to educate people on every facet of Buddhism. I was feeling more materialistic rather than spiritual so I bought a pair of traditional, old-school Korean pants. I'm never taking the things off, they're too comfortable. After edumacating ourselves in Buddhist ways, we ate and then viewed the parade. I'll let the pics attest for the rest.