ok i'll try one more time. took a few deep breaths, ate an apple, and i'm feeling better. it'll have to be a bit shorter, though, because i have to leave for work in a half hour.
last weekend, alisun and i took a bus to 충 주 (chungju) to go to 충 주 호 (chungju lake). highly recommended. for 8,000 won we took a ferry ride around the lake, and it was just gorgeous scenery because we were surrounded by mountains. it didn't even matter that the sky was cloudy because the mountains in the fog and clouds were beautiful.
it almost didn't even matter that there was also an elementary school trip on the ferry. almost.
after that, we took an intercity bus to 수 안 보 (suanbo), a small resort town known for it's natural hot springs. it's basically a town in the mountains with nothing but restaurants and hotels with attached spas. we checked into a hotel and got some really exceptional 비 빔 밥 (bibimbap) for dinner. after that, our need for a 노 래 방 was greater than our need for soaking in some hot water, so we killed an hour or two singing first.
unfortunately, we took a bit too long, and the spa was closed by the time we were ready for it. so we called it a night and got up in the morning for some spa relaxation. it was awesome that each hotel has its own spa, because then they aren't as crowded and the atmosphere is generally more low-key than normal spas.
we walked to the bus terminal with the intentions of taking a bus back to chungju and then a bus to daejeon, but we read the times wrong and thought we'd have to wait two hours for the next bus. instead, we decided to get tickets for the next bus out, even though it was out of the way, because, well why not? the next bus happened to be leaving in an hour for 수 원 (suwon), which is a city just a little south of seoul famous for the fortress surrounding the city. we were pretty pumped about it, and it was definitely worth it. and boy did our hour go by quickly. we stumbled upon an annual "japan-korea happy race" (the actual name escapes me, but it was something along those lines. it must've been a half-marathon or something, and we stood for a while watching the runners as they crossed the finish line. after that, we wandered around in the crowd, watching the runners and their families (and policemen?) happily munch 라 면 (ramyeun) and 김 치 (kimchi).
there was also a small percussive band playing as the runners finished, and i caught a few of the runners giving the drums a try.
and, we had just enough time to take a picture of ourselves.
we also tried walking on an orthopedic food path. these are usually found in parks, just a stone path that's supposed to give various benefits to your health via your feet. but boy, as alisun can show you, it hurts!
hwaseong fortress it's by far the coolest thing i've seen in korea. maybe it was because we weren't even planning on visiting it, and maybe it's because most of the times when we've gone to do something touristy, it always ended up being underwhelming. we walked along the fortress for a while (it's over 5 kilometers long), and caught a 5:00 bus back to daejeon.
all in all, alisun and i were quite proud of ourselves because we felt like we did the weekend just right. we thought we hit up some pretty good spots that are lesser-known than the usual foreigner destinations, and these places had such great laid-back atmospheres. noone was pushy anywhere and the people were all very friendly, not in an "i'm being nice to you because you speak english" kind of way.
for anyone thinking about teaching here and not sure about where to go, i would definitely recommend suwon or chungju (and also busan, but that's besides the point.) of course, daejeon is great too, but i think that just looking at these cities, i'd choose the first three over daejeon for pure atmosphere.