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Published: November 20th 2006
So, my Dutch friend Chris visited me from Oct. 27-Nov. 5, and, boy, did we have a good time! First, I went to Seoul to meet him (he arrived on a weekend, and so I was able to take a bus up there after school on Friday), where he recovered his jetlag, went with me to sightsee, and ate his first Korean food.
In Seoul, we did many things. I hadn't had the chance to really sightsee there before, because the only time I'd been in Seoul was the two days or so that I first met my school officials and said goodbye to my Fulbright friends (oh, and went to the DMZ!). So, we went to Insa-dong, Sinchon, Seoul Tower, one of the palaces, Kyobo bookstore (a giant bookstore with a huge English section. Too bad I didn't find the huge English section until the next trip to Seoul-- two weeks later), and a few other places. We ate samgyupsal (delicious roast pork-type dish), kimbap, and many other kinds of goodies.
Once we finished in Seoul, we headed back for Yeosu. My host family was kind enough to put Chris up with one of my host father's good
friends, so Chris had his own homestay for a week or so. This, of course, was nice for me (and for Chris) because I still had to work all day during the week. It was also nice to have entertainment at night because usually people are too busy to go out and play during the week, but Chris had nothing but time. So we explored downtown some more, went cafe and bar-hopping, and had a good time in general.
The second weekend, we went to Jiri-san to go hiking. It is a beautiful and sprawling national park with some great hiking trails. We visited one of the local temples (as one almost always does when hiking), then wore ourselves to the bone on the hiking trail. It was a tough climb up for me, but still a lot of fun and good exercise. The views were really beautiful. Then, my favorite part was the climb down. We descended (steeply--not really fun for my knees) into a gorgeous valley where the trees still had their leaves. All around me were flashes color--yellows, oranges, and reds telling me that it was really autumn. It was beautiful, and some of the most
colorful trees I've seen, set in a peaceful valley, sounds of the stream and a few Korean conversations my only distractions.
The hike took us about 9 hours. So, by the end, we were pretty tired and decided to head back to Yeosu. My legs were sore for days after, but it was a good time. On Sunday, we spent time with my host family (and Chris's), and hung out one last time. In the morning, my hostmom took us to breakfast, and Chris headed off on a bus for Seoul before I headed off to work. It was sad to say goodbye, but great to share this part of my life with another adventuring friend (Chris spent 5 months teaching English in Nepal. Talk about culture shock.). I look forward to future visitors (one, end of November, and hopefully my parents and sister later!) and wish that everyone could come see this wonderful country!
(I'll post pictures soon, I promise! Just been a little slow on the uptake lately...Sorry!)
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