Tuesday, June 9, 2009

South Korea 13

June 8

I felt remarkably refreshed in the morning. My solitude must have paid off. After breakfast we set out to enjoy our last full day in Korea.

Pastor James told us that Rev. Peter was "in poor condition." While we have all enjoyed his devotion to hospitality, it is a real reminder of the importance of self care while in vocational ministry.

Pastor James bravely leads us for the day. The first stop was the Samsung Center where we got to experience some of the newest technologly that Samsung has developed recently. The most noteable was the "fingerthin" 60" LCD TV. man, that would be a souvenir for Garrett! Our next stop was to the market. We had won in hand and were ready to spend. We were told that this was a tourist market, but i did not see very many tourists outside of our group. I just cannot picture myself shopping in this setting on a regular basis. I did, however, getting even better at bartering. I ended up making deals for half of our group because they were too timid to push the vendors. Imagine me, the aggressive shopper. Garrett probably wouldn't believe that at all. I am too much of a people pleaser normally to be good at bartering.

The market was so busy that I felt like my introverted evening the night before was immediately washed away in the crowd. Also in the crowd were men who had deformed and missing appendages (mainly legs) who would crawl around on the ground with boomboxes on wheels looking for money. Whenever someone would step over them or onto them, they would just grunt a little and keep moving. It was an interesting site. I wonder if they are being "pimped" for their deformaties.

I got all of my souvenirs from Korea, and only had about 1,000 won left. It was a good hour of shopping. We came back, had a quick rest, and then were taken out by Peter and James for our "last supper." We ate on the upper deck of a restaraunt and enjoyed traditional Korean food with our Korean friends. We laughed a lot, reminisced about our time in Korea, and did not want to go back for the "final lecture" at church. We were happily suprised when Peter told us that instead he was going to treat us to an evening at the traditional Korean sauna instead!

What an experience the sauna was! Let me be frank for a minute. I turned the corner into the locker room and was taken aback by all of the nakedness in the ladies' locker room. It was quite shocking!! The ladies of the group changed into the shorts and t-shirts provided by the sauna and met up with the gents for some sweating time. We entered the first of three heat rooms. This one was 64 degrees celcius. The room was painted on the inside like a pyramid, and half of the floor was a rock pit. Some of us put our feet into the rocks while sitting on a step, not being very adventurous. The others sat on the mat on the floor and played jacks with Peter. As we all chatted, a women came in and dug herself a pit in the scorching rocks and just laid down. Three of us were brave enough to take the plunge and lay in the rocks. It was intense, but so relaxing.

After each session in the heat room, we took a quick trip to the igloo. This is seriously a real igloo in the middle of a spa. I had to remind myself not to lean against the walls for fear that my back would stick to them. We worked our way up to the highest heat room, the 85 degrees celcius room (194 degrees F). We (for time's sake) didn't stay in long, but it was so worth it. After leaving the heat room, we decided to go Korean style and take a dip into a few of the various hot tubs. These tubs are separate for men and women, as it is traditional to go nude. It was fun to let the inhibitions go within our group, but it was awkward to be the naked Americans in a spa full of Korean women. For me, the challenge was getting looked at because I had tattoos. There was only one other women in the room with a tattoo. The rest of the experience I will not write about, as it is too personal for public eyes ;)

It was a great close to a great time with our friends at Bupyeong Church. We exchanged gifts with Peter and James and called it a night. I think we all slept a little more relaxed that night.


Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
I have really enjoyed reading your posts during your trip. Thanks for making your journaling so public. Enjoy Japan. I look forward to hearing all about the trip when you return.
~~ Robin

April Casperson said...

Loving the blog...and nice job bartering! See you when you return!