Monday, September 22, 2008

Chusok! You Suck!

Chusok! You Suck! That was the theme of the weekend. Of course the boys added all sorts of colorful language after the 'you suck' part of the cheer. Yes, as wonderful as it was to hang out with Jason, Nathan, and Fritz for four days straight, I did get a bit weary of the 'male sense of humor'. Sorry about all the quotations but I don't think everyone reading this is ready for a description of the more 'colorful' language they used. ;)

Korea celebrated Chusok last weekend and consequently so did I. Chosuk is the 'Korean Thanksgiving' according to the locals. It's a bit different than our Thanksgiving pilgrim hats, cornucopias, or turkeys. Instead they travel for hours in hellish traffic to the paternal grandparent's (or eldest son's) home, the ladies cook Korean deliciacies including the lovely rice cakes (gag), and worship their ancestors.

Worshipping their ancestors means that they place food on a special table reserved for Chusok, then they bow and say prayers. The men go first, then the women, and finally the children (yes, this is sort of like the buffet line at Thanksgivings past). Aparently, over 50% of the women in Korea want to abolish the holiday. For them it's a lot of cooking, traveling, and hanging out with their in-laws. After listening to my book club ladies, I'm thankful once again that I actually like my in-laws.

Instead of the whole worshipping of ancestors thing, Jason and I traveled to Danyang to meet up with Nathan and Fritz (for those of you who don't know Fritz, his last name is Schmidt, so I'm sure you'd like him). Danyang is near Sobaeksan National Park. Suprise, suprise...we went hiking over the weekend!

In addition to hiking, we also went to a Gosu cave. This was the first cave I'd ever been to and I loved it.
Stalactites hang tight from the ceiling and stalagmites reach mightily for the sky...or something like that.
If you look closely you can see the jaw bone like crystals on the right side of the picture.

Gosu is a limestone cave that is 1.7 km in length. The pathways were quite narrow in some places and the walkways would make a batophobic cry (yep, I looked that word up).

Our happy little group photo.

Danyang is situated on the curve of a large dammed river. It's very beautiful from afar.

We also went to Guinsa Temple. It's the headquarters of some buddhist sect whose name I forget.

Some monks jiving about the local gossip, I'm sure.

That's me! I look so little in the photo and it's not because of my french lady diet either. The building was huge!

And finally, we hiked up birobang mountain. Yes, it sounds like Beer Bong...and no we didn't.

Fritz conquered the switchbackless mountain in fine form.

The hike was 5.5 km up and 6.8 km down the backside. I just realized I was converting km's wrong this weekend. It's 1.6 km to a mile not 2.2 (that's kilograms to pounds by the way).

This shot epitomizes the entire weekend for me.
1439 m and still smiling.

There were many flowers on the mountain, a bit surprising for being early September - it was lovely.

This was honestly one of my favorite hikes in Korea so far. The hike was pretty hard but the scenery at the top and down the backside was breathtaking.


Antonio Candeliere said...

very good

karmaking said...

Yeah, that must have been kind of tough, crammed in a hotel room with us three guys-- or any three guys for that matter. Still, you endured like a trooper. (I have no idea what that means.) Happy Chu-sok!