Monday, 14 September 2009

Gyeonggi Province's Cheongpyeong Lake

Driving for an hour heading east of the Korean peninsula, and into Gyeonggi Province's Gapyeong County, my colleagues and I stumbled into the Cheongpyeong Lake, which is much like Lake Placid without the monster crocodile. Hahaha!

But even with the monsoon rains trying to spoil what's left of the summer, we stopped at a river resort inappropriately named, Maison de Bali, which would make one think of the open sea. Instead, it was a lake where we had to make do with the boat rides, food and singing overnight.

The banana boat and fly fish boat rides were fun as the speed boat driver naughtily snagged the banana boat during the ride to force the occupants into the cold river. Even more fun as I caught on video the girls' banana boat ride as they fell off into the river screaming! Nobody was brave enough to try to water ski though. The brown, murky waters were discouraging, not to mention the embarrassment if you fall.
And dinner was tempting and diet-ruining. With all the meat, chicken and pork grilled right before you, who can resist? And everyone else was delirious with all the drinking. And of course, the morning after saw lots of hangover.
Oh well. Though not Bali, the Moonsoon de Bali, er, rather Maison de Bali experience was better than a boring summer weekend.


Monday, 7 September 2009

This blogsite got me a free MP3 Player!

A surprise email from the Korea Tourism Organization on a Monday afternoon, telling me that I should expect an MP3 player in return for my efforts on blogging about Korea! I think I should have deserved more. Hahaha!

Oh well. I'm not really an MP3 player person as I don't want to stick something into my ears and block out the world while running, strolling or making my way around the world. I'd rather listen to the sounds of the universe.

Perhaps a new laptop would have been nicer! Hahaha!


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Rafting in the Korean Summer!

       (Our rafting guide teaching us the basics)

It was a very sunny day when we ventured out of Seoul, onto the sleepy county of Cheorwon, where the Hantan River, in Gangwon Province, meanders from its source in North Korea. (Yes! From North Korea, where only they know what -or who- they threw into the river! Hahaha!) Hantan River, an average-sized river with cool but murky brown waters wide enough to accommodate several rafts and its boisterous passengers.

But it's not the rafting as serious as what Meryl Streep did in 'River Wild', where she conquered the 'Gauntlet', the rapids where three rivers converged turning the pool into a deadly whirl pool much like a giant washing machine minus your dirty laundry. Well, if you remember this movie -- we did nothing like that. Hahaha! Those types of rivers are for Olympians. We were just city slickers trying to have fun in the Korean countryside.
(Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream...)
Before we got into our raft, our Korean guide/instructor enumerated the do's and dont's of rafting, which we all tried to remember, even if we couldn't understand Korean: (1) Row in unison with everybody. If you don't, you will be thrown overboard; (2) Be nice to everybody. If you are not, you will also be thrown overboard; and (3) If you fall off the raft, just stay calm and somebody will fish you out somewhere in the Yellow Sea. That is, if somebody remembers to. Hahaha!

With an oar in hand, life vest on, legs strapped and a camera around my neck, off I joined Wei-nee, Delphine, Zach and some other friends to cruise the Hantan River, splashing the other rafters with our oars, pulling out a couple of guys from a capsized raft and enjoying the view, the coolness of the water, while giving our arms a much needed workout with rowing.

No wonder Meryl Streep was able to navigate the Gauntlet even with a gun pointed at her. Rafting is such fun especially with these rapids, tumbling along the river and even causing a few to capsize!

Thanks to the Dicapac waterproof case. I was able to take lots of photos and a video! I will definitely bring it again next time!
         (A splashing war against another boat!)

Here's the video: