Sunday, July 6, 2014

Camping...Korean Style

Seonbawi: a famous view along the Taewha River.
It is easily seen from a popular Korean camp site.
Koreans hanging out under the bridge.
Once the weather got nice, I quickly noticed that camping is a big past time for Koreans.  That would explain all the camping and outdoor retail stores (they are as frequent as Waffle Houses in Atlanta).  I first discovered the camping past time as I walked along the Taewha River.  Koreans love to gather there...under the bridge.  Yes, under a bridge!  I mean no disrespect when I say this, kinda looks like a community of homeless people.  And when they camp out, they don't spare any of the luxuries.  They're grilling out Korean-barbecue style and have massive tents...whole families easily fit in these tents.  There's plenty of beer, makeoli, and soju flowing to keep the good times going.  The younger kids love to cool off in the river. One somewhat odd thing about all of this is that it takes place within a 5-minute walk from the town.  And I thought car camping was the easy way out.  City lights keep the area lit all night long!  And when I watch all of this, I can't help but feel envious of the good times and memories being made.  It makes me miss the camping weekends at Lake Alatoona!
Koreans campsite under the bridge.

I got really envious of the camping scene as the 4th of July approached.  As you know, celebrating the 4th usually involves outdoor barbecues, picnics, and going to watch fireworks displays.  At first, I felt a little cheated by missing out on that.  Then, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Why not gather some foreigners (especially Americans) and have a picnic by the river?  Well, that's exactly what we did.  

Sam, Shara, and Kelsey
Sam and Kelsey are Americans that live in my part of town.  Shara is Canadian, but she was up for the festivities.  We met at the 7-11 (yes, the same 7-11 chain you see in the states), made our plan, and split to get supplies.  After meeting back up, we made our way to the river armed with beer and fried chicken (a VERY popular combination over even has it's own name), and of course, since we were in Korea, we needed popular Korean picnic food:  kimbap (rice, vegetables, and some meat wrapped in seaweed...yum!). 
Picnic dinner:  fried chicken and kimbap.

As we approached the river, we started to feel self-consious.  Clearly, this is not a popular thing for foreigners to do, as we were the ONLY foreigners there.  We were not going to let this stop us from celebrating the independence of our country.  So, we found a little spot off to the side.  We did get many stares, but we carried on anyway.  We arrived at the river about 7:00 and left around midnight.  It was such a good time and perfect evening for a picnic dinner.  We ate, drank, listened to music, and enjoyed good conversation!  We had access to fireworks but didn't feel comfortable setting them off.  We're unsure of the regulations over here, and we didn't need to call any more attention to ourselves.

All in all, it was a great 4th of July in South Korea

!  We celebrated the American holiday with a Korean flare and made good memories!  Looking forward to making more.  : )

Another view from the Taewha River.

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