Thursday, July 13, 2006

The "grand canyon" of Korea in Jeju

Day 6

Well if you didn't know already, Korea is HUGE on football. HUGE. Everywhere we went, people were sporting those crayola red shirts, bandanas, and other memorabilia. Up until this point, Korea morale was on a high due to their win against Togo, and their match with France, that resulted in a tie. Unfortunately, the Swiss won their previous match with Togo, so they had to beat the Swiss in order to advance. Everyone was on the edge of their seats to watch this game.

Unfortunately, this game was on at 4:00am. Ugh! Since I was in Korea, I wanted to experience that was soccer with Koreans. The hotel had set up a big screen tv with chairs in one of their conference rooms so people would watch together. After waking up at that miserable hour, and pushing my brother out of his bed, we watched the game not with Koreans, but the other Korean Americans who came on the tour group with us. Oh well, these were Koreans nonetheless.

To cut the story short, the Koreans lost miserably. I had an inkling that this was going to happen. Ever since that Togo match I saw in San Jose with the other 2000 other Bay Area Koreans, they are no match. The Korean soccer players are puny against the French, Swiss and Togo-ans. One slight nudge, and they fall mercilessly on the floor.

Anyways, that day we headed for Seoraksan, the main national park of Korea. I don't think I mentioned this, but the weather in Korea for the three weeks I went was perfect for traveling. Not a drop of sunlight fell. It was overcast the entire time. I mean it sucked that I didn't really get to see the sun, but I guess it was better than dying from heat and humidity. The overcast weather made it really mild and totally spectacular.

So we all took a cable car ride up the mountain. National parks in Korea are either really suited for the non-nature folk, or the uber-hiker. So there's either an easy method to reach the summit, i.e. cable car, or the long circuituitous route. Traveling with children and seniors, we obviously took the less strenuous route. We climbed up the upper half of the tip and it was a lot of fun. We finally rose above the clouds and got to see the summit. It was really beautiful. I'll definitely post up more pictures from my dad's camera.

That night we stayed at Hotel Kensington, apparently the first hotel devoted to celebrities. It felt more like Hogwarts to me, the England theme with high leather chairs next to a fireplace. Each floor had a theme. We stayed in the Sports stars floor. My aunt stayed in the Pak SeRi's room, which was cool. They had her set of autographed clubs and gloves too. I stayed in the room of this Korean guy who climbed Everest. Pretty neat.

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