Sunday, April 11, 2021

Saturday's hike

I got a nice, fat blister on my left foot after our 25-kilometer walk from Yeoju City to Gangcheon Island and back (yes, we stuck to my original plan, despite JW's best efforts at messing everything up).  The scenery was beautiful; the segment we did today was part of what is normally Leg 6 of my Four Rivers hike down to Busan.  Here are some pics from today.

I've seen the boat below when it was docked by the riverside,  but I've never seen it in motion.  Sharp-eyed JW saw the boat's name: the Great King Sejong, acclaimed inventor of the Korean alphabet hangeul.

A Korean War memorial seen during the early part of our walk:

JW in the distance, taking a time-costing detour on a whim:

A wide shot of the Gangcheon Dam (taken on our return leg):

"Life is art," the graffito says:

It was a great day for a walk, but JW vacillated on whether he wanted to stick to my original plan or continue forward despite my warning that any other stopping point would leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere, with a long taxi or bus ride to the nearest bus terminal or rail station in store.  JW, apparently not trusting that I had scanned our route closely enough, did his own cell-phone-map reconnoiter and concluded—as I had—that pushing onward wasn't worth the trouble.  JW is often that way:  he gets an idea in his head, I explain why it won't work, he ignores my advice, then discovers for himself that I was right all along.  We've done this time-wasting dance many, many times since I've known him; I think he's just wired to be stubborn and untrusting.  He eventually comes around to the correct point of view, but he has to explore and make his own mistakes first.  It's an exhausting process for those around him (like yours truly), and as I said, it wastes time.

Anyway, JW eventually saw reason and agreed that we'd just do the round-trip walk.  He figured all this out as we sat in a shwimteo on Gangcheon Island while two little girls, one barely a toddler, ran around inside the shwimteo and sang out random annyeonghaseyo! greetings to us.  Despite JW's having resolved one problem inside his mind, there was another problem:  how much JW's feet hurt.  That was a mite alarming to me:  by this point, JW has walked very long distances with me, and it was weird that, today of all days, he began complaining of foot pain when we hit the 12K mark.  That's pretty early to be experiencing foot pain.  Then again, I ended up with a nice blister on my left sole, so maybe we were both suffering from a lack of conditioning after spending the past few weeks doing little or no distance walking.  For me, a few more walks will toughen me up.

All that said, the day was gorgeous, the scenery was lovely, and JW has now been inspired to revisit the area just past Yeoju with his family.  After our hike, we took an express bus back to Seoul's Express Bus Terminal, where JW guided me to a restaurant he likes.  It's called Fun Beer King (what a name), and while I didn't drink any beer, I did enjoy the food, which was slightly fusion-style and made to the standards of a family-dining restaurant like Bennigan's or Outback Steakhouse.  JW ordered us a half-and-half portion of fried chicken; some golbaengi somyeon muchim (골뱅이 소면 무침), or snails with thin noodles, fresh vegetables, and sweet red sauce; and some bizarre "pastry" pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like:  pizza whose crust is made of puff pastry.  I found the latter dish a little perverse, but it was good.  It, too, was a half-and-half combo:  bulgogi and pepperoni.  The restaurant's atmosphere was old-school and reminiscent of family dining in the 90s, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and told JW that I'd be back to this place again.  There are a lot of interesting menu items to try.

And that's the story of Saturday.  I'm tired, my feet hurt, and I need some rest, so I guess it's going to be a fairly lazy Sunday.

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