Saturday, March 07, 2015


Today, I'm going for a more-than-20K-step walk. It's been a while since I've done this, but I deem it necessary. Gotta boost that walk average back up. This past week, I failed to wake up at 6AM and go walking for a few hours, maybe because I was experiencing first-week-of-the-semester anxiety, but now that I've got a routine more or less established, I can restart the walking for good and all.

I selfishly asked some of my students for recommendations on where to shop locally, watch movies locally, eat locally, and hike/exercise locally, but they weren't too helpful: a shocking number of kids actually commute to the Ilsan campus from Seoul—the very commute I moved here to avoid—so my students had few good answers regarding the hiking/exercise question. One girl said she just does thirty squats every morning in her home. Another goes to a gym, but it's a gym in Seoul, so she doesn't know how well gym prices in Goyang/Ilsan correspond to Seoul prices. (It's W100,000 for three months at her gym, she said—around thirty bucks a month, which isn't horrible.) I'll visit the gyms near me and find out more.

But whether or not there's a gym in my future, it all starts with the walking, so I'll be walking my new route, which takes me all the way to Madu Station and back (to reach Madu, I normally take a bus, and it's a 15-minute ride to the station), after which I veer over to the foothills of the aforementioned Lonely Mountain, then finally head for home. That route is about 24K steps in length, or close to twelve miles. The ground along the way is mostly flat, except for those foothills, so I'm thinking about jogging a very small part of the route—anything to get the heart pumping again, the way Namsan's slopes used to get me going.

Ah, speaking of the Lonely Mountain: I now know the mountain's name: it's Gobong-san; you can look it up. I'm not sure about the hanja, but I think go means "high" and bong, in this context, means "peak," so: Gobong-san = High Peak Mountain (sorry, stoners: nothing to do with bongs and getting high). The peak doesn't look that high, really, so this mountain might be displaying some micropenis-style insecurities.

With the mountain's name now known to me, I can hop in a taxi and ask a driver to tell me about where I can hit a hiking trail, so I'm that much closer to solving the riddle of how to walk to the mountain. Once I've broken through that mystery, the Gobong-san route will become my new official hike. If I can do it in under four hours, it'll be the perfect workout for four of my five weekdays.


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