Monday, November 07, 2005

Sokcho Friday night

Back home again and soooo sore from hiking! It was the best weekend though, Soraksan was beautiful, the hiking was great and the food was delicious. I might have to make it back to Soraksan once more before winter comes.

I took a bus to Sokcho right after class and made it by 12:30am. Sokcho is the northernmost city in South Korea on the east coast and is a gateway city to the beautiful Soraksan National Park. The weekend got off to a rocky start with a psychotic taxi driver. I told the driver "Bulgama sauna" which should have been a 4-5 minute drive but after only around 30 seconds he pulled over, pointed to a sign written in Korean for the Sokcho sauna and said "sauna." "No, no, no, BUL-GA-MA sauna." He just kept pointing and repeating "sauna" over and over. I was tired and didn't want to deal him anymore so I just decided to just go to the Sokcho sauna instead. I got out of the cab and the driver wanted me to pay him 2,000Won for driving me to the wrong place that was only a very short walk from where he picked me up. I gave him 1,000Won so he would leave me alone and walked off. Apparently he thought he deserved another 1,000W so he jumps out of the cab, gets in my face and starts yelling at me while I'm making my way as quickly as possible to a more populated area. no more taxi's in Sokcho, I'll stick to the bus while I'm here. Since I've been in Korea though, I've never had any problem with the taxi drivers until this incident. I've found most of them to be very honest and polite. One English-speaking taxi driver even called my friend to make sure I found my way to her house on a Saturday night after I used his phone to call her and ask for directions. A very nice gesture, besides the fact that it was 4:00am.

Anyways, after waiting awhile in the convenience store I went to the Sokcho sauna to relax and get some sleep before a big day of hiking Saturday. After spending some time in the pools and wet saunas I headed to the jimjilbang's and sleeping area. I was expecting a sleeping area similar to the Gangnam spa but it was more like a huge room with people sprawled out everywhere on the floor and no blankets in sight. Luckily, I can usually fall asleep anywhere and was dreaming by the time my head hit my wooden-block pillow and only awoke a couple times to the loud snoring of a few old men in the room.