Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year!

So per usual this blog post is late but screw it I've been having fun! Welcome to the Year of the Dragon everyone! In Korea Lunar (or Chinese) New Year is much more celebrated then the Solar New Year which is celebrated in the West. Koreans get Monday and Tuesday off (Jan. 23 & 24) to go home and spend time with their families (much like our Christmas) so since I don't have family in Korea, what better time to go off and learn how to ski?

It all starts Friday night, my partner in crime Monica and I head to Seoul to meet up with the guys and due to being late we find them at a bar. 1/2 the guys are new friends and one of them, Mike, has a large pink stuffed bear he had recently won named Trevor. Trevor is an instant hit and we all get to know each other by playing drinking games and then passing out. Got to wake up at 6am to catch a bus yo!

So we used a travel organization called Adventure Korea (same organization that did the Bungee Jumping adventure) to travel Gangwon-do to first (learn to) ski and snowboard on the slopes that will be used for the 2018 Winter Olympics. We got there after a few hour bus ride, rented equipment, and were off!
Dave & Monica rented the most awesome matching outfits!

Mike and Trevor ready to hit the slopes!
So to be nice as possible, Monica and I suck at skiing. I mean, we are from Miami and Los Angeles, not good with cold in general let alone snow sports. WE TRIED THOUGH! and it was fun even if we landed on our butts too many times to count and my legs bent in ways that they really shouldn't have. By 430pm when our passes were up, we were sore and exhausted. What better way to relax then go to an indoor water park? Hot tubs with different coloured water (supposedly with herbs), water slides, tide pool, water massage thingys and a jimilbang shower/locker room. It was ideal.

The next day we did the same except we had all day to play, Monica got much better at skiing, I did not. AND Mike left Trevor on the slopes! TREVOR NOOOO! Despite forcing Mike to go back and look for the bear and even going to lost and found ("I'm sorry I lost my large pink teddy bear") Trevor was no where to be found. Shame on you Mike, SHAME!! (RIP Little Buddy)

Monday was Lunar New Year! and to celebrate this we went to the Ice Festival. Oh Korea, where do I begin? The main event was bare handed ice fishing. This would not be legal in the US in any sort of way. They put us in shirts and shorts (mind you the outside weather is below freezing) told us to walk outside, and climb into a pool of fish in order to catch three of them with our bare hands. Now if the water was any sort of reasonable temperature catching the fish would of been easy, but of course this is the ice festival and trying to catch fish while hypothermia is setting in is not easy. I pulled myself out after a minute and thought I was going to die. I just sat there for awhile praying someone would pick me up and carry me out (no suck luck). Monica got out the same time I did but wanted to catch a fish soo bad her crazy ass jumped back in. Madness. Thankfully they had hot tubs to warm our hands and feet in, going from deathly cold to decently hot was painful but totally worth it in the end.

So the first person (and one of the only people) to get three fish was the mother of the group, she must of been like 65 and was this tiny woman with an aussie accent. She felt bad for Monica and I that she gave us her fish (she didn't even like fish). YAY WE GOT FISH! First thing we do is get them sashimi-ed and for all three with was only 7,000 won (about $7)!! AHHHH :D! And then while we were eating we notice some Koreans eating tiny live fish and they offer us some. Well we couldn't refuse!
That was alive yo!
So while we were eating (we bought and ate two more cooked fish because regulating body temperature is tiring business!) everyone else in our group did a plethora of cool activities from, ice ATVing, ice fishing (with a rod, fully clothed), sledding, ice hockey/soccer. Of course we explored the festival between eating breaks and got to play in an ice maze and admire huge ice sculptures but it was too cold and we were too poor for much else. 

Left the festival cold yet happy and went to our new hostel for the night. Adventure Korea held a bonfire for everyone but we were feeling lazy and cold so we just drank instead.

I leave you now with an embarrassing drunk video from that night. I promised my friend Deanne that we would make this because her birthday fell on Lunar New Year but she couldn't be on the trip. Do enjoy our stupidity and Happy Year of the Dragon Everyone!!




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