It has not been a relaxing quiet weekend. However, it has been a lot of fun, and a pretty nice adventure.
Friday night was bitter-sweet, in that two very cool ladies are leaving Korea. They want to get “real” teaching certificates, and to be honest, I think they both will make awesome teachers. I am sad they are leaving, proud of them for their ambitions, and I am optimistic that I will see them again as we travel through life. You never really know how the road will twist and turn.
Saturday was supposed to be a Critical Mass. Critical Mass started as a protest in some cities, to gently let cars and buses and trucks and motorcycles that there are bicycles as well that would like to share the road. http://critical-mass.info/
I was excited, and hoped to meet some other cyclist that were like me. I know I do take some long bike trips, so a lot of people think I am fit and athletic. This is not really true. I am old and fat, and I prefer a more leisurely pace. I’m really not that fit. A friend from a smaller town also wanted to go. So I borrowed a bike from my co-teacher, and off we went to find critical mass. Now, we could have cycled there, but she arrived a bit late for that, plus we wanted to save our energy for the event. So we took the subway. Last year it was illegal to take a bicycle on the subway, but now it is OK on Sundays and Holidays. Fortunately this means it is also OK on Saturday. I know this, because the subway agent/ helper/ officer type people watched us and said nothing. Plus the first and last cars all have the international bicycle sign.
Taking a bike on the subway is usually pretty easy, but my friend wanted to take the elevators the whole time, so sometimes it got to be rather maze like in the station looking for an elevator to the correct subway platform. Fortunately we are intrepid. So finally we get to Gwanghwamun, where the mass was supposed to start. We wandered around, only 5 minutes late (and really for an event like that, it shouldn’t be a big problem) we couldn’t find it. We met two other cyclist, and they were looking for the event as well. So we wandered around some more but couldn’t find anything remotely like a mass group of cyclists getting ready to share the road with a bunch of cars. So we had to make a decision.
We decided to cycle along the Cheonggyecheon, until it goes into the Han. It was beautiful, and for the most part very easy with little traffic. Only one area, near Dongdaemun, had a lot of traffic. One of the things I love about cycling in Seoul is that cars here give cyclists a lot of room, and tend to slow down when they pass you. They don’t seem particularly upset that you are there sharing the road with them. In the U.S. some drivers seem downright offended that a bicycle is on the same road as they are. So it was a really nice ride, and we made it home in time to shower and get dinner before we were off to Incheon. We met some friends at the Seoul train station and then took the bus into Incheon.
The next morning we were up early and off to go to Sin, Si and Mo islands. We took the subway to the end of the line, near the airport. Then hopped into a taxi, that actually cost less per person than the bus would have ( there were six of us total). We then got to the ferry right on time and made it within a minute of it leaving. Once we got on the island we rented some bikes and went to the set of two Korean TV shows, a beautiful beach, and a beach with one of the more interesting sculpture parks around.
When we got hungry we went in search of a meal, but the one restaurant we thought would be good was closed, so we asked around and found another. It was well worth the wait. We had a kind of noodle soup that included clams and they had one of the best potato salads I’ve ever had. ( it included corn and raisins, a combination I wouldn’t have thought could taste so good)– after our repast we cycled some more, then turned in our bikes. We caught the next to last ferry, and headed home.
I arrived back at my house quite late and very tired, but in a good way. I was even able to wake up in time for our first day of the semester.
To celebrate my most excellent weekend, I decided to skip Korean class, and eat chocolate cookies for dinner. (don’t worry, I’ll eat something healthy tomorrow– maybe)