Monday, October 11, 2021

Day 24, Leg 23

Today was another one of those days that felt like cheating: I walked only 19 kilometers, according to Naver, and I was at my destination before noon. I am, however, now officially in Busan, so there's that. Some stats:

Distance: about 19 km 24 km

Time: 296 373 minutes (about 3.85 3.86 kph)

Steps: 28,357 36,231

Calories Burned: 4,361 4,938

Calories Consumed: 2,802 (deficit = 1,559 2,136)

[Read the addendum to find out about the above corrections.]

It threatened rain all morning, but the water didn't come down until just as I was arriving at Aloha Pension. Good timing. And since it was cloudy all day, the temps were cooler. It was a balmy, comfortable hike. (As I write this, the rain has stopped.)

I wish the day could have started as awesomely as yesterday did, but at least today's hike was mostly traffic-free for the first three quarters. And then, suddenly, I was in town, and cars were everywhere, forcing me to stop in place and wait for them to blow by. 

Some hills today, but as before, nothing exhausting. Overall, the terrain wasn't a problem, and since I was inland for much of the hike, I saw plenty of Four Rivers-style sights, including many farms and fields. Naver took me along one country road for a while, and I had it largely to myself. Again, I found myself wondering why the whole walk couldn't have been more like this.

I saw and photographed another dead cat. Dead cats are kind of sad. Dead rats aren't that surprising, but a cat is (at least in theory) a member of someone's family. A dead dog would produce a similar reaction in me, but most of the dogs I've seen on this walk have been tied up or penned in, with very few wandering exceptions, so it's unlikely for most dogs to end up dead on the street. 

Somewhere during the final two kilometers of today's walk, I ran into a chunky girl who was a little touched in the head. "Hello!" she called out in the manner of crazy people who weave you into their free-form internal narratives. She waved. Cautiously, I smiled and waved back blandly. "I'm Candy!" she said, introducing herself. I merely nodded, not stopping. "You are very handsome!" she added. Now I knew she was crazy. She was, by the way, saying all of this in English. I smiled and said thank you, still not stopping. Luckily, Candy seemed to be too wrapped up in her own thoughts to pursue me, for which I was thankful. I continued on, she walked past me in the opposite direction, and I heard no more from her. Crisis avoided. I guess there's always a chance that Candy was simply extroverted and nice, but as gregarious and sociable as Koreans are, they usually do their best to ignore strangers, so unusual extroversion toward a stranger is generally a warning sign: the person is crazy or is going to try to get you to come to his or her church. 

My arrival in Busan happened early; it was around 9 a.m. that I hit the border. By that point, I'd been walking about three hours, as I had left my motel late, around 5:55 a.m. I didn't realize I was so close to the city border. This was unlike how my arrival in Busan has happened on the Four Rivers trail: there, I know I'm in Busan when I see a particular mountainside that's covered with apartment buildings. Today, a sign indicating the Busan boundary appeared at the top of a hill, and that was that. Hmph.

There's really little else to report about today. I enjoyed the inland portion of the walk, but Naver routed me straight back toward the coast, and that's where I am now. There were some portions of today's trail that I had all to myself, but toward the end, I was back by the water, and crowds of people were there, despite the cloudy/rainy conditions.

Tomorrow's hike is slightly longer, and my destination is the Westin Chosun. What I'd really like to do, but probably can't, is enjoy a decent hotel buffet in the evening. But at the end of every walking day, even the short ones, I'm a stinking mess and not fit to be around fellow humans. Among the first things I do when I secure lodging are hand-wash my clothes and take a shower. Lunch usually happens before arrival at my destination. If it's at a restaurant, then I try to sit in a far corner to minimize the spread of my stench. So I'll probably just seek out a fast-food joint and enjoy a rare hot meal. Up to now, I've had few hot meals this trip: mostly, I've had convenience-store grub, which isn't particularly nutritious, or I've eaten at sashimi places, which usually means no hot food (except for the time I ate that porridge). 

Or maybe I can do a buffet: as mentioned, I normally hand-wash most of my clothes, leaving my pants and jacket untouched and therefore wearable in the evening in case I need to go out. The jacket and pants still stink, but not as badly as the rest of my clothing. I might be able to pass for human as long as I don't stand too close to anyone.

The next dilemma, if I do do a buffet, is intestinal in nature. If I stuff my guts, I'm probably going to have to hit the head while I'm walking the following day. Maybe that's not a huge problem, either, since I'll be walking across Busan. There ought to be plenty of public toilets along the way, and unlike in Europe, you don't have to pay every time you need to take a dump (one of the most humiliating aspects of being a tourist in a European city is having to fish around for coins just to be able to use a cabine).

Anyway, those are problems for tomorrow, which is also supposed to be rainy. I think I got lucky with the rain today, but I'm betting tomorrow will be wetter. 

Here are pictures from today's walk. 


sorry about the blur

When I see the trees in the middle of the sidewalk, I think of John McCrarey's photos, from the Philippines, of telephone and power poles built right in the middle of the road because the road crews couldn't be bothered to move the poles. Easier just to build road around them.

some sidewalk for this portion of the trail

moving out into farmland

getting more rural

crossing some tracks

poor dead kitty

leeps and bounds

flirting with another town, but not going into it

Seems like the harvest is always 2 weeks away.

plunging into la campagne

country roads, take me home

quiet, and I have this all to myself


the lone tree

fun's over—back to a main artery

all roadkill, given time, becomes leather

funhouse Kevin

I like the script, but it's not right for a heavy medium like a boulder.

Jindong Village. True East? Vibrating?

again, not too much traffic

Mageun Village. Horse-root?

Mageun written in Chinese, and while I think the second character may indeed be "root," I don't know the first character.

I know sonkalguksu, and I know sujebi, but I don't know sonkaljebi.

Yeorae Temple

also Yeorae Temple


The wind always starts blowing whenever I close in to get a shot of a flower. The flower shakes around, the camera can't focus, and I get frustrated. Murphy's Law.

impressive stairs from afar

yeah, this sign really makes me want to visit utopia

a little love for the rougher-looking blooms


if only she knew

When I write about dodging traffic...

...this is what I'm talking about.



I did what I could to get a slightly better shot.

Hwasan Village, with Chinese characters, too. This could mean "Millet Mountain Village."

elementary school


another sign for the elementary school

as orange as Tang

This one's for you, John Mac.

train station coming up

some Kamala Harris jokes come to mind

Seosaeng Station (West Life?)

A stretch of railing is charged with 25,000 volts, and you could lose your life if you touch it.

a welcome sign, given that I've been off the Gukto Jongju this whole time

Gogyeong Temple

Gogyeong Temple again

Gogyeong Temple in Chinese (old-style mirror?)

the addition of the rabbit changes everything

I love Engrish. That's probably supposed to be "Food CoRner."

crossing into Busan at 9 a.m.

Greeted by a threat: no mask, get fined.
Welcome to Busan.

apartments for company employees

moving into town, now, and hungry for breakfast

la mer, qu'on voit danser / le long des golfes clairs...

sign for a children's park

lots of pensions named "View"

seaside again

Sometimes, you have to push a button to change the light so you can cross.

Can you see the community of spiders?

Yan Pension

haejang-guk place

a convenience store I didn't visit


around now, I decided to photograph a long series of cars that passed me and made it nearly impossible to advance until they had all gone... very annoying

This happened several times.

moving closer to the coast to avoid cars

Above the pension in expensiveness is the "pool villa." Basically, a pension with a swimming pool.

"Havana" is a refreshing change from the various attempts at French.

he saw me

some kind of temple?

sign for the same temple

I like the little mural of the female divers.

I should have photographed the dragon details.


dick and scrote


this guy missed me

so the she-bear is wearing a bear suit?

a view from a shwimteo, right before the rain hit

my pension

ADDENDUM: seems I was a little too confident about getting a room at Aloha Pension. They said nothing was available because today was "a cleaning day." So I guess it's not like the situation with motels, where every day is a cleaning day: you clean the room when the customer leaves. All the pensions in the area told me the same thing, except one, which admonished me to make a reservation next time. True: in principle, you're supposed to reserve a pension in advance. But as I discovered along most of this route, walk-in service is available almost everywhere. It's just this region that has a stick up its ass about reservations. Dicks.

So I used the 여기어때/Yeogi Oddae app to find a motel 5 km down the coast. That's a short walk for me, and with 5 extra kilometers, my day no longer felt like cheating. 

I'm in Busan, the greatest city in South Korea after Seoul, but the WiFi in the Shwimpyo Motel—W40,000 a night—sucks (shwimpyo/쉼표 = comma), so I'm on LTE. I wanted to upload a few extra pictures that I took while walking those final 5 kilometers, but that will have to wait until I find good WiFi. Maybe I'll hit a café tonight. We'll see.

A very light, misty rain has been falling. No serious rain at all today, except for that brief burst around noon. 

And there's your update. I've corrected my numbers, above, to reflect the extra 5 km walked at the end of today.

ADDENDUM 2: extra photos!

another streetside myo

These folks look as if they're camping, not prepping to pack up come nightfall. And this is what I'm complaining about: they apparently care nothing for the bottoms of their tents if they're willing to camp on rocks, even smooth rocks. 

more "campers"

saw this café, but...

...only loved it for the statue

The artwork at this café was confused and all over the place, reflecting clashing styles and not representing any coherent theme. Down a bit from that statue was this giant, and very tacky, shrimp. I had to laugh.

You can see how built-up Busan is, even in its northern region.

Dilapidation. I love it.

I end with this pic, which I must now send accusingly to my buddy JW, whose surname is Kang. His wife has a temple, and now he secretly owns a restaurant? What nonsense is this?

ADDENDUM 3: since I walked 5 km more down the coast, tomorrow's walk is now only 17 km. Again, this feels like cheating, but if tonight's rain is a preview of tomorrow's conditions, I won't mind a shorter walk before the final day.

ADDENDUM 4: the forecast for tomorrow no longer predicts rain! Nice! I'm going to leave late tomorrow morning, then, because I'm walking only 17 km, and I'm pretty sure the Westin Chosun is strict about check-in times, i.e., if I show up too early, I'll be told to wait. So I may as well take my time arriving. This is awesome.


John Mac said...

Welcome to Busan!

Loved that colorful early morning sky and the backroads through the agricultural area. Those shoulderless roads full of traffic not so much. That shot of the blue truck passing within inches of you made me cringe all the way here in the Philippines. Yikes!

Some other interesting sights along the way. Loved that little blue trailer perched on the roof of the house. I reckon it must be a guest room for folks you don't want to make feel too welcome. Yeah, those tents look almost permanent, certainly not day-trippers.

Ah, Candy sounds sweet. Was she cute at all?

Looks to have been a mostly good day though and tonight you will be doing it in style at the Westin. You've Chosun well! (sorry)

Kevin Kim said...

Well, Candy wasn't cute to me, but I imagine she's cute to somebody.