It’s after 5am and I’m waiting for the sun to come up. I want to go up to Dong-gu Park and go running. Supposedly it is well lit with lamp light, but I’m a little scared to go alone. The radical time change has caused a jet lag that simply will not be ignored. I am hungry at the oddest times, and have a perma-headache. It’s cool that I’m up at 5am. Yesterday it was 4.
We explored the park yesterday with the Odoms – Gary and Liane – and their kids Lilly and Roan. It’s just around the corner and up the hill from campus. Cicadas, hidden in the trees, welcomed us to Korea with a cacophony of voices. They are everywhere and grow louder and louder during each day. As if being purposely kind, they quiet down at night. They’re like spring peepers, only during daylight hours.
Dong-gu Park includes a lake with a 2.8 mile path around it for “hikers”. Music streams from overhead speakers for the exercisers’ – entertainment? motivation? – we’re not sure. It’s kind of a cross between classical and something new agey. We met lots of Koreans along the way – all decked out, and I mean ALL decked out, in hiking gear (for completely flat walking). Some had walking sticks, many had hiking pants, boots, jackets and little cloths they cover their faces with, and a few of the elder women carried parasols. It’s a serious business, this hiking.
So we’re walking along, all 9 of us, and Guy’s carrying 50 lb Natalie because she’s got a blister, and she has to pee, and we come across an outdoor gym, just there, in the middle of the woods. There are at least 20 “machines,” bright white and looking brand new, useful for a total body workout. Each machine uses only the body for resistance. The kids absolutely went crazy. The people who were already there took to Luke right away. That boy is a magnet, I swear. They were fanning him with their giant fans, and helping him use the equipment. They’re chattering away at him in Korean and he’s just smiling like he’s got the world on a string. He says the only word he knows besides Anyong (hello) – “cansamnida” which is thank you, over and over.
Further along we get to the equivalent of a porta potty, for Natalie’s relief. She and I enter this little building, closing and locking the door behind us. There is a toilet in the floor, and without hesitation Natalie whips off her clothes and goes to town, never asking what to do, how to do it, or why that toilet is even IN the floor. So. She finishes her business and we go to leave and…we are locked in. It is over 90 degrees and there is no window to open or vent to be seen. I know that Guy and Gary are somewhere close by so I start banging on the walls while continuing to try to open the door. It was a scary 5-6 minutes while Gary basically broke the doorknob to get us out. By that time the fresh 90 degrees felt like an arctic breeze. Quite a moment.
Also in the park; a stunning butterfly garden. I tried to get photographs, but am unsure I captured the elegance and beauty inside the greenhouse.
I’m going to stop this entry here. I’m not even to 10am yesterday. I want to try to add pictures – and I’ll pick up our story when I write again. Next time – a trip to COSTCO. Holy wall-to-wall people, Batman.