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Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Yesterday, I returned to Seoul for a day with friends. I had been planning to get up early and arrive early; at seven o’clock, I reset my alarm to 8:30, having not slept well or long enough. I got the slow bus up to Shinsegae and bought a ticket from the nearby Intercity Bus Station (for ₩5,000).

With some free time, I looked around for somewhere to buy hodugwaja – a walnut cake snack thing for which Cheonan is famous – and found a little shop inside the Shinsegae building at the Express Bus Terminal. The extremely close proximity of these two bus stations is a bit confusing; I’ll have to try getting a bus to Seoul from the express terminal next time.

My bus from the intercity terminal left on time and arrived at the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul an hour and five minutes later. Through the magic of Facebook, while phoneless, I was able contact Jeff, the gaming host, from a café in Noksapyeong and got directions to his place.

There, with Jeff, his friend John, Matthew and Zach, I played Magic: The Gathering with the decks I’d brought. I beat Matthew – the only other person with Magic experience – in a demonstration game; then John, the gaming newbie, held on to the end of a four-handed multiplayer game, using an Izzet Guildmage to burn Matthew and Zach (I’d already fallen). Then we played Zach’s Munchkin with all five people; I almost won at one point, but was thwarted. I lost concentration towards the end because I was in danger of being late for my dinner date, but it was great to be back amongst friends and gaming again.

Matthew and I shared a taxi to Sinsa, where I met Gemma, my old colleague from my last job in Korea. We had Mexican food and later sake and later still coffee and/or hot chocolate. It was really nice to see her again and we talked about life and stuff and things.

I got a five to midnight bus back to Cheonan. When I arrived back, seemingly everyone else on the bus had headed to the main street to get a taxi – of which there were few around. I decided to walk some or all of the way home. There was a frozen drizzle falling and the ground was pretty slippery – I fell once. I got a taxi home from Cheonan Station, where there were several taxis waiting and few people around.

I slept late today. Did some laundry after breakfast and found that no water poured into the top-loader machine as usual. After examining the piping, I realised that the tap was frozen. I boiled a pan of water and poured it over said tap and the water eventually started flowing.

Ssangyong-sa

Later, I went for a walk up a mountain just to the north of where I live. I say ‘mountain’, but really it’s just a forested hilly area. With all the recent snow, it was a pleasant walk – the snow had prettified the landscape and the trees. Without it, it would have been a very easy trek, but the paths were covered in more or less compacted snow, so you had to take care. I fell on my arse at one point, just behind a pair of women – who exclaimed and looked around, but, of course, didn’t stop to help or ask if I was OK. No damage done, though.

Traditional Grave

So far, I’ve made contact with old friends in Seoul and Daegu, but have made no new friends (outside work) in Cheonan. I’m thinking about doing something about that.

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Just had quite a pleasant day out with Habiba and our friend Ksan. Our original plan was to go and look at the cherry blossoms at Yeouido near the National Assembly, but in the event, we met Ksan near her home at Hongdae and walked along the Hongjecheon (cheon = stream) to the Han River. There, we had ice cream in the warm sunshine and headed to a part of the capital I’ve never been to before: the area around World Cup Stadium.

We walked up the side of Haneul Park (haneul = sky), which appears to be constructed on top of a landfill site, and across to the stadium itself, home of FC Seoul. At the stadium, we had lunch at the Homeplus food court on one of the levels beneath the stadium proper. Habiba and I had Korean food; Ksan got a pizza the size of a small table for ₩13,000 (about £7). Then we tried to figure out how to go home again.

It was great to get outside and do a bit of relaxed exercise – although we covered a lot of ground and were pretty tired by the time we went home. The weather was great, too; my new short haircut leaves my scalp a bit exposed to sunburn, though (my hiking hat has mysteriously disappeared, too).

My health continues to improve, although slowly. For a week or two, while I was a lot better than at my nadir in March, I didn’t seem to be improving much. The last few days have seen a further small recovery of normal bowel function. Still two weeks’ worth of steroids to take before I’m due back to see the doctor.

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