Sunday, June 30, 2024

Fani's troubles

It's not really "over for Fani," but she does have a bumpy road ahead.

this won't be stopping for a while

The howls of laughter are being heard all across America.

Too bad they couldn't get a real fire.

what was Trump's crime, exactly?

Not that it matters anymore, at this point, but what exactly was Trump's crime that made his supposed financial indiscretions into a felony? No one knows.

That chick is cute but dumb. She should never have taken the bait.

"Greater Idaho": momentum builds

Most of Oregon is red, but population-dense Portland is true blue, and its voice dominates, hence the move for most of Oregon to break off and fuse with Idaho:

I say do it!

a walk in the rain

From Saturday night to Sunday morning, I schlepped the 22 kilometers from Gayang Station in western Seoul to Unyang Station in the neighboring city of Gimpo. It rained all night—big, warm droplets—then tapered off around 5 a.m. I took the subway from my place to get out to the Gayang area, arriving at 11:58 p.m. By the time I got to the street level and started my walk, it was exactly midnight, which made timing the walk easy enough.

I kept expecting the split from the Four Rivers trail to happen much sooner than it actually did. The entire first quarter of the trek was familiar ground. As for pictures: I took more than I thought I would because there were frequent breaks in the rain, but I also took quite a few pictures while the rain was coming down. My bowels were of course acting up, so I frequently had to stop at whatever public toilet I ran across, leaving bits of myself all along the Seoul-Gimpo axis. Almost no one was out; I think I encountered one lone biker before sunrise. By 5 a.m., though, I was in proper civilization, which meant cars and people were out in force—this despite it being a Sunday.

The walk was slow. I reached Unyang Station at 6:35 a.m. Subtract a few minutes for all the pit stops I took, and 22K took me about 6.5 hours to do. That's a speed of a bit more than 3.8 kph—pretty slow. I've walked faster since leaving the hospital, but this was a rainy night, and I was water-logged thanks to my utterly useless rain jacket, which got soaked despite my having sprayed it with a waterproofing agent last year.

The feet held up, but the wetness meant that my toes suffered some irritation, and my left shoe did that gross thing that happens when it rains: it began producing some sort of nasty foam that bubbled up through the shoe material and onto the top of my foot as I walked. I have to wonder if this foam marks the beginning of trench foot. I'm never in the rain long enough for it to get serious, but the foam really is disgusting.

At several points, I was serenaded by masses of horny frogs, all calling out for mates. Sometimes, the frogs would croak in a syncopated, choral rhythm; at other times, all I heard was a chaotic cacophony. I made a brief recording of the frogs; you can hear just how loud they are. I also encountered almost a dozen river crabs, which were probably on the asphalt bike path for the same reasons that earthworms appear when it rains: flooded soil (I assume these crabs are all air-breathers).

Parts of the walk went by fast, subjectively speaking, especially toward the beginning. Other parts—the last four-fifths, really—went by quite slowly. My feet ended up hurting a little, and I was pretty tired by the end. It's been a while since I walked such a distance, but aside from my bathroom breaks, I took no rests. I also didn't experience a lick of chest pain; I had my nitro pills with me, though, at the boss's insistence. This was annoying because the pills aren't supposed to be exposed to heat, and they were exposed to both a warm summer night and to my body heat. Still, part of the reason for the lack of chest pain may have been how flat the walk was: over the course of 22 kilometers, there was only one modest hill that came near the very end, just before I found myself quite suddenly downtown. I also fasted all day before doing the walk, so that might have been a factor.

While the path was mostly new to me, and the whole thing was an adventure thanks to the rain, I'm not sure how much I liked the route as a whole. The path reminded me of the east coast: very militarized, with plenty of barbed wire, and bunkers and observation posts spaced at regular intervals. Signs tell you not to take pictures, and I obeyed the injunction for the most part, but I did sneak a few pics. I was also never far from some sort of civilization; this wasn't like the quiet paths through farmland that you walk along when taking the Four Rivers trail through the middle of the country. Traffic was constant at all hours of the night: Korea is a place of 24/7 activity. But as I suspected would be the case, the path was empty during the night, with only the one aforementioned biker interrupting my serenity.

I might want to try this path again in the daytime later in the year, when it's cooler. But I'm in no hurry; it wasn't the most inspiring walk I've ever done.

Enjoy the photos that follow.

A few minutes after leaving Gayang Station, I'm by the Han River and heading west toward Gimpo.

a familiar rock-climbing wall

under the Banghwa Bridge

sign for the bridge

A quick video to let you hear the sound of those lusty frogs:

I always imagine them going, "Bud... wei... ser."

one of many river crabs

Haengju Bridge, which I jokingly refer to as "Dishrag Bridge" (haengju = dishrag)
Seriously, though, the haengju in this photo comes from different Chinese characters that don't mean "dishrag."

Right around here is where I part ways with the Four Rivers trail to embark on something new to me.

I'm going to end up crossing this bridge. For now, I go under it.

This is where I loop around and get on the bridge I just passed under.

It's the Jeonho Bridge.

This is all new to me. Everything from here to the end is new.

The barbed wire starts early.

The presence of the military is palpable this close to the DMZ.

one of many things I probably shouldn't be photographing

This straightaway went on for kilometers.

I did my best to capture the rain.

Freeway to the left, river to the right.

Breaking dawn. I did not use a blue filter. This is what my camera recorded.

where trucks go to sleep

I'm following a bike path called the Pyeonghwa Nuri Path. Pyeonghwa is "peace." Nuri might mean "enjoy."

another thing I'm probably not supposed to photograph

the Ilsan Bridge

A sign reassures me I'm still on the right path.

a sign for the Ilsan Bridge

I think it's safe to say I'm out of Seoul and in Gimpo.

a rare downhill


garden by the bridge

I thought of gallows.

Real danger... or empty threat?

another sign, this one warning of lost mines

It looks like mud sloughing away, but it may be rock. Which doesn't explain the plants growing out of it.

the only incline that came close to being a real hill

We're in town now, and on the final stretch.

a mix of American and European styles

I thought this was a nifty building at first, then I saw it was only another Holly's Coffee.

the Echo Center bus stop

Gimpo Han River Wild Birds Ecological Park

a lamp made to look like a giant dandelion

The Hue!

The green sign, upper left, indicates that Unyang Station is thataway.

just a few hundred more meters to go

another sign for Unyang Station (green, upper right)

downtown and almost there

Unyang Station in the flesh

the Unyang pylon

the Unyang Station maw, 6:35 a.m.

gotta love my scraggly hair, especially that one jutting upward

I did some laundry and have just finished this blog post, so I'm now going to crash for a bit before waking up and having a Sunday. I hope you enjoyed the photo essay.