Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I did a 5 K!!!
This weekend...it was America's birthday and I wanted to get out and celebrate America. For the record...the equivalent day in Korea is March First, 1910. That is the day Korea began its resistant to the Japanese invasion. They finally succeeded on August 15th 1945 (what we call VJ Day) Kind of makes our own struggle for Independence from Brittan seem kind of short (8 years as opposed to 35...with some brutal repression that still gets the Koreans riled up_
First stop: Western Seoul
My first party was on the opposite side of the city. No problem...2 hours and less than $2 later I was on the other side of Seoul. It was a pretty standard American themed BB. There were burgers, chicken and hot dogs on the BBQ....a little bit of dancing and a little bit of fireworks. Fireworks, that are legal to purchase year round. Kind of takes the fun out of it...really. If I could buy them year round, I wouldn't burn holes in perfectly good clothing once a year.
Anyhow...after a couple of hour of cooking, chatting, and hanging out. The rest of the party decided to go to a place called Tigerworld. It sound intriguing...an amusement park with a indoor skiing. I might have to save that for another day as I was off to a second party.
The second party was a bit closer to home. My friend was leaving Korea to pursue a Masters back in America. I'll miss him. A group of his friends met at a restaurant, ate our fill and wished him well back in America.
Around 11:30, I decided it was the point of no return. You see, I was about a 45-60 minute subway ride home (I live WAY out in the outskirts of the city) But as long as I could catch my train before midnight...I should be fine. I asked one of the guys if he thought I could make it in time. He assured me that I could...and I assumed he knew what he was talking about.
However, he didn't take into consideration the walking time from the restaurant to the subway station. Ahhh...without really thinking I caught the train to a big subway hub hoping to catch a taxi home.
That was my big mistake...
You see, between the BBQ and the going away party...I'd gone thru the rest of the case I had on me. Oh sure...my subway pass has money on it...so does my bank account...but those taxi drivers want cash.
That's easy enough to arrange...I simply had to go to the ATM and make a withdrawal, right?
Newflash: Korean ATMs are in Korean.
While Bank ATMs provide an English option. All back ATMs are locked up after 11:30. By this time it was after midnight.
The local 7-11 (yes there are probably more 7-11s in Korean than Starbucks...they LOVE their connivance stores here) had an ATM...but it didn't have an English option....nor was the interface intuitive enough to operate without speaking the language...
So here I am. I'm broke, in the middle of Seoul and have no way of immediately getting home.
So I started walking. (gee...this sounds familiar...)
I didn't walk home....rather I walked to the Olympic Park that is near where I was. It's a beautiful park, but is unfortunately closed after dusk. Well, there isn't much to see in a park after midnight anyhow...I was just killing time.
I stopped periodically and read my travel guide to Japan. I stopped and played the golf game on my cellphone.
I just took my time...the subway didn't start up until 5:00.
Even at my leisurely pace, I eventually circled the entire park.
Upon reaching my starting point, I looked down. There were numbers painted into the sidewalk "5000 M" Wow...I'd just done a 5 K in 4 hours! hmmm...I hope my time is better next time!!!
Ohh...and the picture this week is a Korean Bow and Arrow.