Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I had set my tent slightly back from the front of the first camp ground and waited.  Dinner came and went, a pack of instant noodles cooked on a portable gas stove.  The gates didn't open until the next day, and outside an impromptu party was going on.  I was sorely tempted to walk the couple of miles and join in; coming in I was sure I had seen my buddy near the front of the gate.  The impossibility of working that out was obvious, so I sat, smoked, smoked some more, and stared at the stars. 

I knew the moment the gate had opened the next morning when the honking of horns and the rumbling of tires sprinting towards me filled the air.  As the first car approached, I almost keeled over laughing when I realized it was my buddy.  Instead, I stood nonchalantly, smiled and waved.  He pulled up a few hundred meters away: dude you don't want to pitch your tent there.  If it rains you'll find yourself in a lake.

Shock.  Disbelief.  WTFs.  The look on his face was priceless.  They had left three days prior to be one of the first at the gate, only to be greeted by a guy who seemed somewhat non committal on the phone a few days before.

You got my ticket bro? 

The weekend was truly a blast.  Halfway through the first day I met up with some other friends, one of them K whom to this day I still consider one of my best friends.  She and I hung out, got lost, found, lost together.  I traveled around with different packs, sometimes solo.  I played and sang.  I drank, smoked, barely ate a thing.  Watched how tens of thousands of people lived.

I soon found I didn't need to use cash; I had another, far more valuable currency that I could trade for anything.  By the end of the weekend I had spent all of $12 on a tshirt and a bottle of water.

All good things they say.  That weekend still seems a blur    The last morning, K found me sitting on my blanket, my tent and gear all packed.  She looked at me curiously.  Then: I've known you for years bud.  Something's off.  What gives? 

It didn't seem right to go on about everything that had happened to bring me to where I was at that point, what after the weekend we'd just had.  It was time to live, not to conjure up and become mired in the past.  But once called, I almost broke.  I couldn't quite get it out, the facade was cracked, there would be no detachment in the next telling of that story.  So I did what I do best:

I smiled, waved and said I'd meet up with her in a few days and fill her in on all the details. 

Heading East.

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