K: I have one more thing I can check off of my "Bucket List." (Not that I'm planning to kick that bucket anytime soon.)
This past weekend, we headed an hour and a half out of the Seoul on a white water rafting trip. Mark found a package deal to go to Naerincheon. The 72 won included the bus ride to the town, rafting, and a pension (a.k.a. small hotel room) for a night. With the help of some of our Korean co-workers, we were able to book it.
We headed out bright and early (7:30 a.m.) on Saturday morning. As we got further out of Seoul, we began to see more tree-covered mountains. This is the area we rafted, so the river we were on cut right through the middle of a bunch of these mountains. Unfortunately, I was unable to bring my camera on the raft, so these pictures of the scenery from the bus are as good as it gets.
This picture is especially terrifying. See that red crane in the middle? That was a bungee jumping lift. They bring you to the top of it and you jump down. Below you there is no mat to catch you if it breaks, just a big pile of rocks. All of decided to pass on that.
After a quick lunch, we got suited up to hit the river. They're very cautious here in Korea. We were all equipped with a life jacket and a helmet. It was illegal to remove your helmet and there was a $300 fine if you're caught without it on the river. Here's Mark ready to hit the waves. It was a constant source of amusement how small the life jacket was on him.
Here's the group of us. Mark, Billy, me and our Korean co-teachers: Ellen, Kerry, and Yuni. You can tell Yuni was freaking out in the picture. She was extremely nervous about this experience since she doesn't know how to swim.
We actually had a trained guide take us through the rapids. After a quick training session, we were off! There were a few scary parts with quicker rapids and drops, but a lot of the ride was fairly calm and relaxing. The mountains were beautiful and I've never seen such clear water! I could see all the way to the bottom of the river. This actually came in quite handy at one point when Mark's wedding ring fell off. Since we could see all the way to the bottom, Ellen was able to spot his ring glistening next to a rock. Lucky him!
Some of the most fun parts were in the calmer parts where we could jump out of the raft and swim. We also made some slides and jump offs as the water was deeper in some parts.
Near the end of the trip there was a mini waterfall with freezing cold water from the mountain. Mark sat under it, but I was already shivering so I didn't.
Then we headed to our cabin. It was a big place with a lot of rooms. Our room was small, but served its purpose for the night. Below is the only picture we remembered to take of the place.
At the cabin, the couple that owned it BBQ'd us a meal of samgyipsal (pork). Then we sat around outside, drank, talked, and enjoyed the fresh air and stars.