Well, it's been too long since my last post, as usual.
This past weekend Keith Howard and I climbed Mount Geumjeong, the tallest mountain in Busan. Busan is full of mountains, kind of like if you took Montreal and multiplied Mount Royal by ten. The whole city is partitioned by them and there are tunnels through them to join the different districts. They are well traveled by hikers; Koreans are the most avid hikers I've ever seen.
We started out a bit late and asked about the best route up at a cafe on the Busan National University campus. The guy at the cafe said to follow a rope that marks the easiest trail up. Somewhere at the foot of the mountain we lost the rope and climbed the slope over a lot of boulders and brush along little tiny footpaths. Near the top we thought we might be coming to a dead end but an old was coming up behind us so we just kept going. "More UP!" was the slogan of the day. We finally topped out on a small peak to the east of the main mountain and followed an old fortress wall back down.
We casually proceeded to get a little lost. After ambling around for a bit in the rain we ran across some nice-looking public toilets in the middle of nowhere. I said something which Keith has recorded as the best quote of the day: "Well, we may be lost but at least we can shit in comfort." Keith was also highly amused by my bright snot-green poncho, which can be seen in the photostream. It was actually too hot for raingear once we came down from the peak, we were wetter from sweating than from the rain.
The whole trip took about 5 hours or so. The easy route was supposed to take 2 or three hours but we made it to the top in a bit under an hour and a half. I think the easy route would have been less interesting. The best thing was the cool breeze and fresh smell of mountain air; the scent of pine trees and plants, the city air is a bit less than savoury.
Next weekend we're going to get lost on the main peak.
On Sunday Keith, U-sun and I went to Haeundae beach where we lazed around and let the Pacific Ocean beat us up (you couldn't call it swimming, the surf was too strong.) I had forgotten how salty seawater is, next time I'm going to tape my mouth shut. According to Keith's calculations we also consumed about 60000 calories of various fried Korean snacks. I'm going to have to do a lot more swimming and hiking if this keeps up.