Monday, March 25, 2013

Meetup: Nami Island

While I ended up wasting my entire Saturday in bed recuperating from Friday night's excursion, I did take advantage of my Sunday. Meghan and I went on a Meetup to Nami Island on the upper Han River. Nami Island is about 5km in circumference and there are loads of tourists, but most of them are SE Asian rather than American or other Caucasians. So, basically, Meghan and I were the only white people. We saw a French couple, and I thought I spied another girl but couldn't be sure she wasn't Asian... 
We went with Harry, the organizer I went with to go skiing and hiking with Meetup. There were only 5 of us total, so we took Harry's car. Meghan and I caught a bus at 8:40am, and got to Hoegi Station at 9am, right on time. Unfortuantely, the other 2 people (other than us and Harry) were not so prompt. We were supposed to leave at 9:10, but didn't get on our way until almost 10am because of them being late. One guy, Enrique (a Peruvian diplomat working at the Embassy) was only 10 minutes late, but Rizwan (a Pakistani PhD student) was super late. Harry gave him quite a hard time, and he ended up offering to buy us coffee to make up for it.

The drive took around an hour, because there was relatively little traffic on the way. Harry joked that the traffic was so light because everyone had already left (like we should have!). We ended up talking and joking the whole way there.

We arrived and went to get a time slot to zipline onto the island. We arrived around 11:15, but we couldn't get a slot to zipline until 2:00! Thankfully, the shore area near the island has a little village, a walking trail, and a bungee jump place. We got dakgalbi (apparently it originated in the province we were in), and walked around for a while. We ended up settling down to watch people bungee jump. It wasn't really that high of a platform (compared to other bungee jumping sites), but I wasn't about to volunteer to show my bravado. There were a slew of girls who would jump and cover their faces the entire time, curled in the fetal position (the harness held you from your middle, rather than ankles like many other bungee jumps). 

Finally, we saw one guy go and he really had fun. He was doing like super man poses and being silly with it. It was impressive and fun! We liked that guy! Meghan was even tempted to do it (inspired by Superman's apparent good time), but I talked her out of it (it was $40 and she's on a budget). Finally, 2pm rolled around and we headed to the zipline platform (which was higher than the bungee jump one, 
by the way). 

We decided to let Harry go first so that he could get some photos as we were coming onto the island. Meghan and I both arranged our cameras so that we could take video of the adventure. As we got fitted into the harnesses (we ended up kind of sitting), I started to get a bit nervous. It was really high up! But, I just looked out (rather than down) and told myself to be cool! As the doors opened and we started to fly, my breath got caught for a second as the wind hit me. After a few seconds, though, I felt much more at ease and started my video. Unfortunately the video is not too interesting, as we are just heading straight for the island the entire time. Meghan went pretty far ahead of me (on the wire next to me), since I was in the "heavier person" seat (yet weighing approximately the same as her), so I was slower.

In fact, as I came above land, I had slowed so much that I was nervous I would be suspended with no way to come down. I barely made it over the landing strip and the worker had to hand me a pole to hang on to as he pulled the end to get me low enough he could grab the weight under my seat, pulling me far enough to disembark. The wind resistance was strong that day and the weight minimum had been upped to 55kg, and I barely passed that (probably only because I had my backpack). Lesson learned... (photos to come!)

After we got on the island safely, we started to explore. We walked down the center of the island, along some tree lined paths. It was very beautiful and there were loads of families with kids, and tons of cute couples walking hand in hand. We found some ostriches, too....

We grabbed some coffee, courtesy of our late comer, Rizwan. I opted for a hot Choco Latte (hot chocolate) and we warmed up a bit. It wasn't cold outside, but with the wind it got a bit chilly. It was really very beautiful! After we left, we walked by some of the places where the Korean drama "Winter Sonata" was filmed. I haven't watched the show, but it was very famous and I guess that is one of Nami Island's claims to fame. 

As we walked down one of the very famous tree lined paths (complete with still photos from the drama in the same location), we hit the edge of the island and turned south and began the 5km trek around the island. It was nice because the path was planks and edged right next to the water. It was beautiful.

We spent around an hour wandering slowly around the island, meeting tons of people along the path, and messing with kids riding bikes (jumping in their way and laughing). I also found that there are 2 geocaches on the island and decided to look for them. One, I had already passed when I decided to search, so I could only look for the second one. I ended up finding it, but in the process of trying to extract it from the tree, I got it lodged too far down and it was impossible to retrieve  Oops!! I noted on the website that I found it, but someone would need to bring tongs or tweezers to get it out (if, that is, they could even see it now that I'd pushed it too far down!) :(

We came around the north end and followed the path back down to the ferry crossing. There were just masses of people waiting to board, and no queue at all! But, we managed to get on without a problem. On the ferry, we were next to a couple with their adorable little baby and she waved and bowed to us. It was ADORABLE. We hit land and headed back to Seoul. Spending so long outside, I was totally beat. I took a nap nearly the entire car ride back (around 1.5 hr with traffic).

It was a great finale to my birthday weekend and I am so glad that I went. I am also glad that Meghan came with me and we had our zipline adventure together! And, of course, saw the mean little ostriches.

1 comment:

  1. OH I love that you added pictures!!!! Beautiful! And the baby IS ADORABLE!


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