the last light of the year of the horse.
every child and teen across korea is bowing to grandparents for tradition and a little extra cash. dat green and yellow money.
we ride a bus to danyang. heavy traffic. what’s supposed to take one hr takes three. our bus gets rammed by another car. just a little dent. just a little reminder of whose year it’s going to be. by night we arrive in danyang.
the next morning we drive up to the snowy top of mount yangbangsan with old paragliding hippies. they’ve got their official ponytails, official disheveled hair and official beer guts. they lounge in the back of our 4×4 like old farm hands. at the top, by the observatory, we gear up and run and jump off and glide across the valley of danyang. i peek at the pine trees on the ridge below as they close in. the trees look like the needles on the back of a great sleeping porcupine and i wonder, in the case of unscheduled landing, if i would be impaled or just safely hang from the tangled parachute silk like in the movies. we clear the ridge to find the river’s big rocky bend under us. to the north rectangular factories with big smoke stacks. we swerve abruptly and then rock side to side for the fun of it. it’s part of the paragliding adventure package im told later. elly is somewhere behind me floating and circling the little town like a colorful vulture. we approach the landing sidewalk. legs out is the only instruction im given throughout the flight. up above me more human dandelion seeds glide and circle silently.
we cross the river for food, spelunking and a joyride.
we boogie up and down the mountains and cliffs in a madmax buggy.
we take a packed train to seoul.
objective: the best pizza this or that side of the dmz.
we enjoy our slices in the company of two obnoxious indian girls.
churros dipped in chocolate.
towering hamburger with glazed donut bun.
coffee at a beatnik-era cafe.
pork. lettuce. gochujang. dinner.
beer samples at tomatillo in itaewon.
rain. spaceships in dongdaemun.