Monday, November 28, 2005

Columbus UNESCO Camp

This weekend I was at the Kumho Resort in Hwasun doing a kid's camp. It was a great time. It was organized by the Columbus English School in Kwangju (a Hakwon) and Mr. Park, from UNESCO. Our goal for the weekend was to perform a skit based on the story "The Wenny Man." A wenn is a bump or a sack or skin (not really sure which) that causes the Wenny Man to be teased. He runs into some Goblins who mistake it for a "Singing Bag" and they take it from him, expecting it to help them sing. They also give him a magic club which grants his wishes and he becomes rich. Another guy in the neighbourhood with a similar affliction tries to trick the Goblins into buying his too. This time they aren't fooled. It's a cute story.
The Kumho Resort (Kumho tire company) is set in a pretty little part of Jeolla province famous for hotsprings. Has a great swimming pool, along with water slide. Like I said, it was alot of fun to work with kids again, and the resort was a great location to do so.
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I'm debating whether or not I will do next month's camp too. It was fun, but weekends are precious too... hmmm.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Killer Hike

This was a really good weekend.
Friday was odd, but fun. I bailed on poker, to go with a friend for a late dinner, but the restaurant was closed. So we wound up watching a movie,  with a bottle of wine and some sweet popcorn (didn't expect Orville to make sweet popcorn). Haven't just watched a movie like that in ages. Watched the Aviator, which was good, but long. Kate Blanchett was a great Katherine Hepburn good, but late night .
Saturday was a cleaning day, and an early night. I passed out in front of the TV for the first time, since I lived in Seoul. I was tired, and it was good as I needed to get up early to go hiking with Eric, one of the teachers who attends my workshop at Chung Deok Middle School.
Eric and I caught a bus to go to KangCheonSan in Damyang, about 2 hours north-west of Yeosu, near Kwangju. It's really cool, their must have been at least 10 buses waiting at the citizen's Hall around 8 am, with several different destinations. Koreans are avid hikers, and every Sunday (maybe Saturday too???) there are excursions to various Korean Mountains.
KangCheonSan is near Damyang City. We arrived at the base of the mountain with another bus, and there were at least 200 people starting up the mountain at the same time. As Eric and I (and 50 other people) crested a rise, I discovered that KangCheonSan is not only a mountain, but also a Fortress. Guemseongsangseong (Geumseong Fortress) is an old fortress that dates back to around 100 BC, but it could be older, they're not really sure just how old it is. It's a pretty cool place as the wall sit atop cliffs and follows several ridges. I think some of the peaks approach 600m, which is pretty high for this part of Korea. There were two routes to chose from, we took the A Route, which was the longer of the two.
Eric and I enjoyed our hike. We stopped for some Makali (a Korean Rice "wine" that is more like a malt alcohol (beer) than wine), and some food at about 12:30. We had a pretty good lunch, and then had to cruise to make up time. We only had until 3:30 to finish the several km route(we started around 10:30). On the last peak, which turned into the second last peak, my legs cramped up pretty good. Guess I'm not use to doing so much hiking. I'm gonna have to start hiking more often - it's good for the body and mind.
It was a beautiful hike, even though there were so many people on the hill. I lost count of how many people I told I was from Canada. At one point, I could hear a group talking about me for several minutes until they got out of ear-shot. The gentleman who was also catching his breath at the time snickered about it too. I suppose he was snickering at what they were saying, rather than just the fact that they were talking about me. Being the only foreigner amongst a sea of older Korean hikers, I guess I was discussion worthy. Or maybe it's that I'm just so darn handsome.
The bus operator took good care of us. Thy supplied us with a bottle of water and some ramian noodles(like Mr. Noodles) to take up the hill, as well as giving us a early dinner, complete makali and soju when we made it to the base. It took a while to find our bus, as there were probably 100 buses from all over Korea there, not to mention all the cars. Not everyone hiked up the mountain, but with 2 major routes, a major temple, and a beautiful waterfall, the area was able to accommodate everyone.
I have to admit, I was totally tuckered out by the end of the day. I was suppose to hang out with a friend after, but fortunately she had a busy day too, and wasn't up for more socialising. I crashed at 9:30 (two nights in a row... wow.) and woke up again at about 1:30 with sore legs.
Today, I am mobile... tomorrow I think I'll be a cripple.
All in all, I'm thinking of going back and doing the B route next weekend.