Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Just one part of life's journey": Holiday in South Korea, 24 - 29 Oct 2005 (part 2)

We visited the Naejangsan National Park on Day 1. This was about 5 hours direct from clearing the customs at Inchon International Airport and proceeding by coach (we had an hour for lunch first before entering the park).

This was the view from the pavillion looking down on the lake. We reached there by cable car:
Nae Jang San


From the viewing pavillion, my wife and I then decided to walk to one of the temples in the mountain. The guide said the walk would take 20 minutes to and fro. It turned out to be more like 30 minutes each way!

Leg muscles wobbled like jello as we made our way down winding paths made treacherous with loose pebbles. The cold mountain air was making our lungs and legs work harder than normal.

I thought, "This is only the first day in South Korea!"

We were exercising more than what we did in a week back home! Matronly South Korean ladies more than twice our age passed us with ease and sure-footedness, seemingly dancing their way down the path. We wanted to give up. The more we made our way down, the more we thought about the arduous return journey up (which was harder).

We were also fighting against time (the tour group was waiting back at the bus). But we didn't give up. I knew it was hellish then, but I'd kick myself even more if I went back home thinking that I should've continued there and then. At some point while going down (which I felt was the hardest for me), I stopped thinking about tripping and falling and just left the mind take over.

So we persisted.

We were glad we did.

We reached the temple, took two gulps of the sweet mountain spring water, snapped a few pictures (to prove that we made it), started back up the mountain. At that point, you just blanked your mind and thought of only the next immediate step. Time was running out (we were past our agreed rendezvous time with the tour guide) but I was past caring. I just thought about the next step, the next rock, the next corner.

Finally, we found ourselves back up the start of the path. Made it.

Writing about it now seems overly dramatic, doesn't it? As I look back at this picture I took on the way back up, it doesn't seem that bad. But man, when you were in the thick of it...

Memory is a transient thing. I'm sure if I look back at this post years down the road, I'd be glad that I wrote this down.



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1 comment:

  1. [UPDATE: I rediscovered this post. Today is 6 June 2009. Four years past. Yeah, I'm glad I wrote this post!]


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