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Hello Hantan River!

June 6, 2010
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After parting with a significant amount of money, I managed to get a new laptop to replace my burnt out one. I got another Macbook and some AppleCare but I’d rather not dwell on the other expenses really.

Yesterday, I went on a trip with Matt’s rugby teammates and some friends to go rafting and paintballing (is that a word?) Something crazy in me gathered the strength to get up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to get on a bus in Itaewon that took us about 2.5 hours outside of Seoul to a lovely spot in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, the company was great -light-hearted and mostly unsober-  so the bus ride went fairly quickly.

We made it there and loitered a bit in the heat waiting for some kind of instruction. The heat was something to behold. Approximately four days ago, Korea’s weather decided that it’d had enough of winter and want ed to move on into summerland – one day I was wearing sweaters to school and turning the heat on in the rooms and the next, I was sweating in short sleeves while my students crumbled under the blistering heat that had turned the English Zone into the insides of a Hot Pocket. Anyway, this weather turned out to be great rafting…not so great for paintball.

Eventually, we were, in Korean,  instructed on using the guns and given protective wear then funneled up a steep path into a clearing for what turned out to be a paintball war. Our group split into Americans vs. Everyone else, given some ammo and sent out into the clearing where the American team (including myself) pretty much got whooped in every game. But I’m thrilled to report that I was never first shot, only got shot twice, and landed five shots (two in the face!!) We played until the ammo ran out and moved onto rafting…definitely a welcomed choice after moving around in two sets on long sleeves, a stifling helmet, and jeans in 85 degrees.

More instructions in Korean, more equipment, two rafts with Americans and Everyone else in either. Thankfully, we had a Korean guide who sat at the back of the raft steering us a bit but I’m sure she was disheartened to find that our group had its own ideas about what kind of trip this was going to be. Minus the screwing around, chasing other rafts, terrorizing rafts with Korean adults and children and getting stuck in the shallower parts of the Hantan River, the trip was wonderfully serene and beautiful. We were surrounded by angular rock formations that stretched a few stories above us, occasionally striped with mini waterfalls and pock marked with tiny caves. Wildlife was pretty scarce…I saw a few white herons hanging out by the shore …they didn’t seem to really fit in with the dark, igneous rocks …and I didn’t see any fish but whatever.

At some point, maybe an hour or so down the river, we stopped by a bank where we were allowed to swim around (I didn’t) We rushed through the last half of the rafting section to get some water, food and booze but not before taking quick showers in a nearby changing room. Booze led to merriment in the form of singing, screwing around, some dancing and, more importantly, a ridiculously short bus ride back home.

Got too much sun, not enough water but came home with a sense of adventure and victory paintball-inflicted bruises. Good times.

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