Sunday, July 22, 2007

i ate leaves

I just got back from Songisan, a national park in the middle of Korea. All of the Fulbrighters spent the weekend there for a conference/ retreat/ break from Korean language classes. We toured a Buddhist temple, complete with this giant gold Buddha. Quiet, nearly empty and surrounded by green hills…I could have spent a lot of time there.

Songisan is a mountain town for Korean tourists, and has a lot of unique food. Our first meal in Songisan had four different kinds of roots, three kinds of mushrooms and something like six kinds of plants to eat, all in small plates. In the left-hand corner of the photo are, no joke, deep-fried leaves and twigs. I don’t know if I’d eat them regularly but they were fun to try.

We spent Saturday hiking. Songnisan is lush, beautiful, and very hilly. I've never seen a hike more full of ups and downs. It was definitely worth it, though. The weather was perfect, I got to use my Korean (well, at least anyeonghaseyo) with the hikers we passed on the trail, the view was gorgeous, and I got a thigh workout my tae kwon do master would be proud of. Plus, at the beginning and ending of the trail there were "public fountains." The water was from natural springs in the mountains, and brightly colored ladles were chained to a rock for anyone to drink out of. I'm not sure if it was sanitary, but I liked the idea and the water tasted great.


Aaron said...

Hooray for ladles! Except I misread that at first and thought what was chained to the rock were "brightly colored ladies!" I was glad that was not actually the case.
I'm glad you're having a good time and I hope you will deep fry up some sticks for me at your welcome-home BBQ/Deep Fry Fiesta! :)

Tori said...

that's hilarious because i also misread it at first and was wondering why there were brightly colored ladies ...and why they would be chained to a rock?!

when i went to korea i noticed all the hikers are decked out in hiking gear. was that the case where you were?

Nick said...

You know, i don't think it would be possible to go to a "lame" buddhist monastery...they're just inherently cool.