Korea in Autumn (NOT Fall)

We are well and truly into Autumn in South Korea. Before I came all I read was how beautiful the country is and I can now fully vouch for those statements. The mountains; parks and streets are shrouded in bronze, green, yellow and red. It’s truly stunning. Autumn of course means a drop in temperature and it has been deceptively cold. The dry air is starting to bite and I may have to gay it up with some man moisturiser.

The last few weeks have been typically crazy. In Korea my life seems to have huge spikes of awesome and awful. Thankfully the awesome spikes are more frequent. My girlfriend Kate was in a car wreck with her friends. Thankfully they are all well and safe. More concerningly we were concerned that her eductional scholarship sponsor was going to cancel their visas. Thankfully after a week of sweating and plenty of grovelling he relented and let them stay. On the positive side Pepero day was quite enjoyable. This is virtually a national holiday in Korea. Similarly to valentines day it has great corporate backing and the idea is you give little chocolate coated biscuit sticks to friends and family. The school kids go crazy for it and I received ridiculous amounts of the stuff. For the older generation there is more elegant and pricey Pepero that you can give as a romantic gift. Being the crap boyfriend I am, I managed to oversee this opportunity of Brownie point gaining and was left a little red faced when Kate gave me hers……

Additionally to the awesome side of events the weekend just passed was brilliant. On Saturday Kate and I visited CECO (A large convention centre similar to the G-Mex in Manchester) for a Geongnam produce fair. There were hundreds of stalls all professionally organised. We tried various teas, alcoholic beverages, meat, fish (accidentally) etc… I tried many things I may never have tried; some disgusting, some delightful! In the afternoon we visited the Changwon shooting range. I have shot rifles in CCF before at school and the odd air gun but never anything truly dangerous and powerful. After being priced out of using multiple guns due to the double price for foreigner rule (ridiculous) I opted for a Smith & Wesson Colt 45. For 28,000 won you get ten bullets on 25m range. Although my shooting was pretty damn accurate; all the nervousness of using such a deadly weapon dissapated with a bang. Despite knowing that you are holding and firing a weapon that is so deadly it all felt quite anticlimactic. It wasn’t wild and uncontrollable just cold and unpersonable. It just felt odd.

Sunday was a cracking day. I had a mini hangover from a friends birthday party the night before and a sore forearm from ten pin bowling. However, I dragged myself out of bed and harrassed an unwilling girlfriend into an epic mountain hike. We hiked from 14:00 and began in Daebang-dong and hiked up Mt. Daeam. We hiked along the ridge that borders the northern side of Changown until dusk and then headed down into the city at about 19:00. We got lost, climbed trees and rocks took excessive photos and bumped into a few of my students on the way. The mountain sides were stunning and we had a load of fun. I even got Kate to say she enjoyed it!


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