Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Adventure Korea Experience

Well I had the opportunity this last weekend to partake in my first bus tour from a passengers perspective. Let me start by saying, Moose/West Trek tours are hands down top notch as far as itinerary, commentary, and guides go. Adventure Korea...(or OK Tours-way-gook edition) babysit all the expats in Seoul.....not so pro!

We booked a trip to Seoraksan National Park to see the fall colours and summit the mountain. The drive is comparable to Barrie to Hamilton or Vancouver to Pemberton, except for the crazy Korean traffic, this turns any 200km drive into a 6 hour event.
Our guide was a bit of a hammer and couldn't coordinate the 90 people on the tour. It was a bit of a let down from the get go as the guide kept saying we probably wouldn't be able to summit the mountain due to weather and safety issues. There were few shouts from the back of the bus...

"I thought this was called...ADVENTURE....Korea, not Safety Korea!! "

The bus tour experience from a passengers point of view is strange indeed. I think I was more upset about being left in the dark about things than anything... I took for granted how informative and knowledgeable we programmed our Rockies guides to be back home...I found the lack of info almost absurd when days later at work my boss started giving me full tour commentary on Seoraksan National Park and all of the geology and history details...it was the first info I had heard on the park since researching it myself. (We also drove past the Sea of Japan (or the East Sea as only Koreans call it...they frickin HATE Japan) and didn't stop... I am pretty sure people who have been landlocked for months on end would like to enjoy a short sea stop...I'd be stopping there for sure.

I think the worst part of the trip....was the Guide and his sabotage of the summit...we got 3/4 of the way up after taking our time (we thought no one would be able to go due to slippery conditions) taking photos and goofing around. At the temple, the guide left a random tourist to stop any further people heading up the hill....When she told me not to proceed, I asked her, "Where's the guide??"...she replied "Well he's gone to the top.....". As I gave her the " Who the F&!K are you!?!?! Get the F*!K out of my way!" look I made a charge for the summit.... It was an incredible walk/climb/scramble and I got to the base of these crazy metal steps.

This is where I found our "guide", chatting up the ladies. He told me I could not go any further and so I decided (for some reason I still don't freakin' understand!) to listen. It was gorgeous up there... 10 people of our group made the summit and I got 95% of the way. I only rant because there is NO reason why all of the group could not have made it up.....except for this asshole and his lack of experience.

Andrea was almost shoved off a sketchy staircase by an old restaurant owner loading his gear down the mountain...he literally almost pushed her into a ravine...Not cool! Pushing and shoving is an old 3rd world remnant stuck in the habits of the elderly...The old grandma's are the worst on the subway, sidewalk, bus, stairs, restaurants, crosswalks, catwalks, escalators, turnstiles, elevators, taxi stands, street vendors, shopping malls....they are tough old ladies...
rude as @*%&!!!

Check out this gem from a Korean wedding:

My favorite part is the elbow the granny throws the bride followed by her dragging her train into the seats...
So...The scenery was fantastic and the company was good....most of the group were as baffled as us... and it made for a few laughs over more than a few beers...

Day 2 involved hiking in the Oaesek River Valley, It was really wet but amazing!

In other news.....

I have been playing in the Korean Ball Hockey League and my team is currently in second place ...I have yet to score (on 4 shots only in 2 games)... I am gasping less and less everyday and soon will have a 3 or 4 goal breakout game.(I freakin better!)..This last Sunday got a little rough as the boys started to get sloppy with their sticks... A few suck attacks out there made for many stoppages and arguments ending in shoving matches...personally, I like to play with all the tension...it makes everyone play harder!

The ear is at about 90%...Its taken a long time but I am almost there. For a while, I thought the trees around the hospital grounds were getting better treatment then me!

The weather dipped to -5C here and it makes for brisk walks to work....We are getting near the end of the first semester and closing in on a massive student shuffle. It should be interesting to see how this all unfolds as there are no new teachers to pick up the split classes. We may all be working 4 blocks in a row with no breaks! (and that's the point where you may see us pull up on your doorstep after a "midnight runner" BTW....)