Wonju and Chiaksan
On our first trip of the new year, Craig and I headed over to Wonju for some basketball and hiking. My favorite player, former Harlem Globetrotter, Shanghai, is now playing for Wonju. I guess there aren’t enough half-Korean basketball players to go around, so the teams have to share them. Note to half-Korean amateur basketball players around the world: this is your chance to go pro.
We didn’t go to Wonju the night before for a change, but did check into a yeogwan before the game. We got a room that looked like a castle, as decorated by a little girl. When we went out, we took the stairs and found that the faux-classiness didn’t extend too far beyond the bedroom walls.
We took a cab, but the stadium was actually only a ten or fifteen minute walk. Live and learn. We lined up for tickets behind a number of people who seemed unsure of the ticket-buying process: decide the number of tickets, the desired section, and payment method; prepare payment method while waiting. Really not too hard, but one woman got tickets after a huge discussion on the phone at the ticket window, then cut back in (directly at the window) to get one more ticket a few minutes later. The couple in front of us seemed just as perplexed, but at least they knew they only needed two tickets.
By the time we were up, Craig had had enough of the rabble and asked for Royal (aka floor) seats. No go. Special seats, then. No problem. We made our way to the “Special” section, wondering what could make seats in such a small arena special. Our question was answered as soon as we sat down.
The ticket girl also failed to mention that our seats were only together in the sense that we could see each other. I had brought some knitting, so I didn’t mind the view so much. Craig had actually planned to watch the game, though. Silly man.
The next day was far more successful. While in England, I spent an obscene amount of money at a hiking shop. As an aside: if you spend way too much money while in England because you are planning to get the VAT back, make sure the shop participates in the rebate scheme. Live and learn. One of my purchases was several pairs of long johns meant for skiing. They are double layer. I also got a pair of lined hiking pants. They aren’t much thinner than ski pants and cost more than any single item of clothing I’ve ever bought in my life, but they keep me warm.
When we got to the park entrance, there was a sign with the elevation marked. Maybe this is a new thing and eventually all of the parks will have them. Too bad it won’t be of much use to me. On this occasion, we were able to see that no matter which path we chose, there would be some very steep climbing ahead. Steep to me. It’s all relative.
We chose the path less taken and were rewarded with an uncrowded path. Our favorite kind. At the top, there was a bit of a crowd, as usual, but most of them had used the other path. At least they hadn’t driven up to within a ten minute walk.
The hike up wasn’t so bad. It was challenging enough to feel like you are achieving something, but not so steep that you (I) just want someone to carry you (me). This was the debut hike for our walking poles and they came in quite handy. On the way down, I slipped a couple of times, but nothing too major. There were plenty of ropes, some of which I used to back myself down the hill when it got too steep.
Overall, it was a good weekend. If we have the chance to go back, Chiaksan is a hike I would like to do again.