Bukhansan National Park, Coffee Expo, and One Giant Spider

To catch everyone up on the past few weekends, we relaxed a bit, went to another acupuncture appointment (Alex joined me this time), worked-out, and met up with friends from Alaska and got dinner (WAY COOL. Everyone come visit us!). Last weekend, we did a crazy hike (okay, not THAT crazy, but it was still an adventure) and I had planned to post last Sunday but I got too tired about half-way through and didn’t want to skim on the details so I stopped. But of course my weeks are so jam-packed with being at work all day, and I didn’t get a chance until tonight to finally finish.

Anyway.

Our hiking trip was a little funny. It was pretty difficult at the time, but now looking back it was pretty awesome. We weren’t really sure what we were getting into, just that we were hiking in Bukhansan National Park. The last time we went on a hike with this friend, we ended up walking around the city. So this time, we prepared ourselves for a mountain trail but really weren’t expecting much. We wore our hiking boots and clothes, and brought a backpack filled with water and snacks, but our friend showed up in jeans and tennis shoes. So we were like, “Okay, this shouldn’t be too bad.” The plan was to walk from the metro station to the base of the mountain. But that turned out to be 40 minutes of uphill. About near the base of the mountain a bus stopped, and about 20 50-something year old Koreans got off, all decked out in hiking gear—raincoats, hiking pants, backpacks, hats, and hiking sticks. Alex and I gave each other a ‘we-could-have-taken-a-bus?!’ look, and then our friend said, “We could have taken a bus, but I remember you told me you like to walk.” Uh…not three miles BEFORE the hike starts. Also I should add that only two days prior, Alex and I did an intense squat workout and I was going off of four hours of sleep. So while we may have looked the part, we could barely handle the warm-up of this hike.

Once we started going, the only think keeping me from getting TOO grumpy was the scenery. The pictures don’t do it justice, as it was a bit rainy and cloudy. There were Buddhist temples every thirty minutes or so, which was really neat, and lots of pretty purple flowers. Also the Koreans kept me going. We were the youngest on that mountain, and also the only foreigners. Every time we stopped or I was struggling and out of breath, a group of older Korean men and women would appear and skip past us. Some shared their rice cakes with us. Others smiled or tried to talk to us…very friendly, but I was barely in a position to hold a conversation. It took us two hours to get to the top, and every time we thought we were there, someone would say, “Oh, almost there.” We were “almost there” about 15 times. When we finally got to the top, it was so cold and windy and cloudy we didn’t do much besides shovel down our gimbap, take a photo, and get back at it. It also took us about two hours to get back down the mountain. I actually think that was harder, because my legs were jello, the steps were steep and uneven and damp, and there were times where we actually had to climb back UP for a bit. At one point near the end, I felt my foot catch on a rock and I was so tired I just let myself fall. And then I tripped again trying to get back up. Lol. Oh, but our half mountain goat of a guide didn’t break a sweat. In fact, after we finally finished, he wanted to take us to tour the National Cemetery. We had to take a rain-check though, because I was hangry and sore. Despite the sometimes uncomfortableness of our day, we definitely want to go back and do another trail. We’ll be more prepared next time and I’ll sleep longer than four hours.

THIS weekend, I went to a coffee expo. It was pretty neat, even though on my registration card they spelled my name, “Aliciz.” Not sure if typo or miscommunication. I finally found some ginger tea, and I paid 25 dollars for a teeny bag of coffee beans by mistake. It’d better be the best coffee in the world. Ironically, the most popular booth with about 50 people in line the whole time I was there was not a coffee booth, but a… HAWAIIAN SHAVE ICE booth. Yes. Pretty sure that’s going to be the next big thing in Korea, for all you entrepreneurs out there. After cycling through twice, I had my fill of samples, coffee gadgets, and roasting machines (or whatever they’re called) and headed back.

Alex had softball practice tonight, so I tagged along. But I should have stayed home because I got hit in the shoulder by a pop fly from ANOTHER field. I guess I was lucky in that if I were two inches to the left, I’d probably be at the hospital now. But if I were in the hospital, I would have never come home to the largest spider I’ve ever seen in my life. Just when I’m at a point in my life that I think I’m okay with spiders, I see this giant fuzzy one slowly coming towards me. I took a picture of it (with a pen for scale), but then it started coming faster and I accidently screamed, and then IT got scared and ran under the oven. Alex and I tried to lure it out and we sprayed a lot of raid, but it didn’t reappear. So now there is a bunch of Gorilla Tape lined around the perimeter of the over in hopes it comes out again and gets stuck. I know that’s pretty cruel, but I’d rather not find it later in my shoe or wake up to it on my face.

Here’s hoping to no more giant spiders, and surviving one more week!

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