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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stomping Around in the Snow





Today I went to two places: this temple, pictured above, where it had snowed and was extraordinarily beautiful.  This was also the first time in my life I have seen snow fall from the sky, and played in freshly fallen snow.  I went with my South African friend, Mario, and it was a first for him too.  So of course, we immediately had to act like children and stomp around, kick snow in the air, and throw it at each other.  This earned us quite a few stares from the local nuns (pictured below sweeping a bridge).
The temple was maintained by these ladies, and they were all very polite and sweet, eager to see people coming to visit their temple.  It was really surreal for me, with the wind coming off the mountain and raising up clouds of snow and having them whip around us like ghosts, rocks piled up in little cairns like countless stone soldiers, and the unearthly, but serene quiet of the place.  There was some kind of wellspring that visitors were encouraged to drink from.  It was damned cold, but easily some of the best water I've ever tasted.  It was like drinking liquid air off the top of a mountain.  Then again, maybe the nuns were having a laugh and it was just hose water they'd left out overnight.
It was easily in the top 5 of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.  Beautiful enough to make me forget the awful headcold I was battling before I got there.  While I was there I stopped sneezing, coughing, and generally feeling terrible.  when we left, it was back to snorting and swallowing phlegm by the bucketload and hacking up pieces of my throat and wanting to find the nearest bed.

But instead of that, we went out and ate a lot of meat:
 I do love the Korean practice of giving you a ton of side dishes.  God Bless Kimchi in all its many forms.  Kamsamnida, Kimchi.  After we were quite full of sausage and various pickled delights, we went to a lookout point, which lay past a rather macabre, but fascinating decoration of whale ribs (seriously) lining the path and took, what is quite possibly, the worst picture of me ever.
In my defense, the sun was in my face, it was windy, I had (have) a dreadful cold, and I was in the middle of asking Mario if the light was okay.  However, I think if I'd had a professional photography crew from GQ magazine, I'd still look like a bridge troll.

So now I'm going to bed, and hopefully when I wake up, I won't feel like somebody stuff jam up my nose, and glass down my throat.

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