Monday, May 30, 2011

Okay, Korea. I get it.

Korea never misses an opportunity to remind me of how single I am. Whether it's nearly an entire month of weddings or three separate Valentine's Days, Korea seems to constantly be on the lookout for ways it can shove my unattached-ness right in my face. Apparently even climbing a mountain is a "couples-only" activity in K-land, which my friends and I didn't know until last night.

The weather here is absolutely beautiful right now, but I've been warned that summers make you want to die a thousand miserable deaths. Since summer is rapidly approaching, I'm trying to cram in as many outdoor activities as possible before I confine myself to my air-conditioned apartment until my contract is up (skype, anyone?). Yesterday after church, Kelsey, Lauren, and I decided to climb the (arguably) most famous mountain in Seoul - Namsan. On top of the mountain rests one of Seoul's most popular landmarks, Namsan Tower, and we wanted to get to the top of it.


Although it would have been so much fun to actually hike up the side, we knew we wouldn't get to the top until dusk, and what fun is that? Also, Lauren didn't have her inhaler with her, and Kelsey and I weren't in the mood to carry around a dead body. We opted for the cable cars.

In theory, the cable car should have been the first step on our romantic journey. When I imagine cable cars, I think of them like ski lifts or ferris wheel gondolas, perfect for snuggling and enjoying the view.

Just magical.

The cable car didn't take us quite to the top, so we still got a little bit of hiking in. In anticipation of walking up the side of a mountain, we had all worn, you know, normal shoes. However, we were embarrassingly under-dressed for the climb.

At the top, we followed the crowds to what we hoped would be a beautiful view of the city. It was, in fact, quite lovely, but we were surrounded by this.

Those are locks. Thousands and thousands and thousands of locks. With love letters.

Couples in Korea come to Namsan Tower to buy locks, write sappy messages on said locks, and attach them to the fence to show their unending love. Ahem. Thanks for that, Korea.

Surrounded by dozens of happy couples, Kelsey, Lauren, and I did the only thing we could - made fun of our loneliness.

 When there's another person, this makes a heart. 
When you're alone, it makes you look like a tool.

Puckering up for, um, no one.

 Apparently no matter how old you get or what country you're in, 
making out with yourself in public is still hilarious.

Before we left the land of commitment and sappiness, we had to do our part to make sure at least a few of these couples don't last. Bitterness loves company, right?

Take that, happiness!

Next, we headed toward the gift shop to buy some overpriced souvenirs. You know how much I hate junk, but you probably don't know that I sometimes collect bookmarks. I like buying things to remember places I've been, but I hate having worthless things; therefore, it makes perfect sense to buy bookmarks. They're cheap, they're pretty, and they keep me from having to use receipts and tissues to mark my page. So we searched the gift shop for bookmarks, and what did we come up with?

Yeah. His and hers bookmarks. Screw you, Korea.

Because we hadn't gotten to do much climbing, I insisted we follow a random path off the side of the mountain to see where it led. On the way down, we passed tons of people struggling to breathe as they climbed up, but we just laughed and kept going. When the path flattened out, we stopped to take some pictures before returning to the top.

 Pretty, no?

We set off up the hill with high spirits; going down was a piece of cake, so how hard could it really be to climb back up?

Turns out, very hard.

Of course, Korea took full advantage of yet another prime moment to remind me that I had no boyfriend. If I had, I could have made him push me up the hill while I played on my cell phone.

Now that's what boyfriends are for!

Back at the top, we rode the "fastest elevator in the world" to the top of the tower. My camera takes awful nighttime pictures, so I'm going to show you this picture I found online and pretend that it's mine.

We stared out the windows for a while, but it was getting late and we weren't really sure what time the cable cars stopped taking people down the mountain. Although climbing down wouldn't have been all that difficult, doing it in the dark might have posed a slight challenge, so we wanted to make sure we had a ride. We waited in line for a while, rode the cable car, walked to the subway station, and promptly fell asleep on the train.


  1. So this week would be a bad time to give you an invitation to my wedding...?

  2. I never cease to be amazed at how weird couple things are in Korea...his and her bookmarks?! What?!