Thursday, July 7, 2011

Caves and Rafts

I'm currently sitting here in my apt and the beat of a '90s pop song I used to hear back in the P.E. days of primary school is pumping from the speakers in the gym next door. Yep, it's that time -- aerobics hour. It makes me want to get up and dance. Ok, that's a lie. It doesn't. Because I hear it every day. Every. Day. Make that every morning AND night. The same songs. Over. And over. And over. It's been four months now.

Now that that's off my chest, onto some pretty pictures from my weekend. I went rafting in Yeongwol on Saturday. Alex and I got there an hour and a half early and saw a sign for Gossi Cave, so, by golly, we went. Naturally. Speaking of which, I must say, Korea just does "natural" so much better than the States. When you visit a cavern in America, you are taken on a guided tour. The area is sectioned off...meaning, you must follow the path they've cut out for you and avoid any "no-no" areas. Also, bountiful signs scream in your face -- DO NOT TOUCH THE STALAGMITES! -- because, well, they will die. Also, tunnels are typically larger-than-life, to accommodate all.

Except in Korea, there are some tunnels literally a foot wide, with a random stalactite hanging right there in the center which you must maneuver yourself around. And there is no path, unless, of course, you are standing over a clear, gushing, underground river (see below). Then there's a path... But other than that, you're on your own. If you fall into a deep dark recess, it's just your own dang fault. Korean caves allow for that little extra dash of adventure, I think.

 Yeongwol is gorgeous.

 Here we are at the entrance, rearin' to go! Also, what is up with that beaver guy?
Oh what am I saying... I liked him a whole lot!


There she is...the rushing underwater river (bottom right). She's a lot bigger in person.
Also, she is scary as crap. I had a minute panic attack and broke out in hives after 
scuttling over her. (And that's an under-exaggeration.)

The Gossi Chamber  (interchangeably, "Kossi"...because it's Korea.)  

 ^ Pretty amazing.

Rafting came next. Pictures of us all geared up are floating around somewhere in cyberspace at the moment, tacked onto some Korean site I can't read. I'll have to hunt for those and get back to you. Below is Alex's co-teacher, Emma, post-rafting. I gotta say, I was pretty angry at Alex when he pushed me backwards off of the raft and into the icy-cold water. My body tensed up and I thought I was going to die...especially when floating uncomfortably close to a monstrous, jagged rock jutting out from the river. But in hindsight, I must thank him, because it provided me the biggest thrill and adrenaline rush during the entire ride. (Not to say it wasn't fun and beautiful -- just not exactly spine-tingling. Korean rafting for ya.)

Later, we took our party to Seoul and coincidentally, ran into two of our good friends in the second largest city in the world! How does that happen? In a random subway, too... Yumi, our English- and Spanish- speaking genius friend (who also happens to be Korean), took us to an underground Hookah lounge and bar. It was the coolest. Very much unlike it's Hongdae, college-kid-bar-scene counterparts. Dimly lit, the hippie-magnetizing space bore a shallow, rectangular pool of water filled with ethnic-inspired pieces, plants, and yes, rose petals. I'm now a regular.


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