I met my Korean friend JW today at the top of Exit 6, Dongdae-ipgu Station, at a little after 1PM. He was never a fat guy, but he looked amazingly skinny after four years of living a married life as a POSCO prole stationed in Pune, India (he's a general manager now—definitely moving up in the world). We did my double-summiting route, then continued our walk past my neighborhood and into Jongno, where we ate dinner at my other friend Tom's favorite place, Seorae, which serves galmaegi-sal (grilled, boneless pork chunks).
Before Seorae, we went on a quest for books (for JW, who has suddenly gotten a hankering for Buddhism despite being a committed Catholic) and for Legos (for JW's son) at Youngpoong Bookstore. JW, who was tired from our walk, wasn't in the mood to walk all the way to Kyobo, which is the place I had suggested earlier. As JW guessed, the Legos were hellaciously expensive: he had guessed that a large set would cost around $150; the actual price turned out to be a ridiculous $190, so he settled on buying a toy safe for his son for under $30. "My son likes sticking things in safes; sometimes, when we're in hotels, he'll lock things in the hotel safe and we have to call the front desk to get the safe opened," JW explained.*
We basically walked all day, from 1PM until around 9PM. By the time we were done, I had racked up nearly 30K steps (28.5K), which wasn't a bad way for me to begin November. JW had gone running/walking for 90 minutes earlier in the day, so he can add about 9K steps to my total. I felt sorry for his feet: he didn't bring appropriate walking shoes, so he's likely to have raw skin (he had no socks) as well as blisters. As for the blisters, I told him about my experience walking 600 miles in the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and the best advice I could give was: "Just walk right through them." Blisters pop, and that can't be helped. But eventually the pain of your blisters will fade and you'll find you can just keep on marching with little to no problem at all.
Stay tuned: I have plenty of photos to upload, some from today's massive walk, some that are simply part of the backlog. More soon.
*When I got back to my place, I popped onto Amazon to see how much a large bucket of Legos would cost in the States. The answer: under thirty dollars. I shit you not.