The cute culprit
The innocent bystander
Today’s adventure can be summed up using the words of my mother-in-law to her husband, “Lindsay and Whit don’t know it yet but they have just been taken off our life insurance policy.” Today, Deborah and Terry began to feel like Lindsay and I were looking to “bump them off” early.
After two nights in a row of forcing Lindsay’s parents to experience Korea by ingesting foods that make newly-arrived Westerners’ stomachs do somersaults, Lindsay decided today was the day we would force them to hike up Gwangju’s highest point: Mt. Mudeung. (Let the record show, I voted for a day trip to a place far warmer.) I tried to warn the group that it was cold outside when I returned home from the market this morning, but only Terry got the message. The girls teased him all the way to the bus stop about the 5 layers he was wearing.
We caught the 1187 bus out to Mudeung from downtown. The 1187 this morning felt like a sauna on four wheels jam-packed with 30 Koreans. At times, as we went on two wheels around hairpin turns; it all felt like a bad dream. Terry, in all five of his layers, seemed to suffer the most.
The initial scan of the peak of Mudeung looked very ominious. Had any of us been the type to buy into omens, we would have tucked tail and run at that moment, but we didn’t. Lindsay, in her highwaters, one layer and vest led the charge. About 5 minutes into the hike she asked for my jacket.
The hike up wasn’t too bad. We chose a path sheltered from the high winds, but it was very steep and slippery. About three-fourths of the way up, I began to feel as if I were losing favor with my in-laws. Desperate, I sold Lindsay out, “I just want to remind everyone that I voted for a day-trip
somewhere else.” My claim fell on deaf ears. The bus ride to Mudeung had left a bad taste in Terry and Deborah’s mouths. My idea sounded as bad as Lindsay’s.
We ascended higher and higher, slowly losing feeling of our feet and hands, wondering how any of us could be so stupid as to not dress for the occasion.
Finally, we decided to turn back. We were close enough to the top we could smell it, but unfortunately our noses were too frozen to perform their main function. It was sometime on the way down that it was suggested to Lindsay and I that we were attempting to essentially bring an early death to Terry and Deborah. A Korean Kibosh.
Thankfully, this did not happen, and just to show that we were in no way trying to freeze Terry and Deborah to death, Lindsay insisted we go down some Green Tea milkshakes. Then just to rub salt in the wounds, they returned to an apartment with open windows, left open by yours truly. But in all honesty, a winter trip to Korea wouldn’t be authentic with out contracting some sort of head cold or pneumonia. We are just being good hosts.