Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ganghwado - Island Temple Trip

Dave, Andrew and I had a good weekend break on a northwestern coastal island called Ganghwado.According to the Lonely Planet guide, we bused from Sinchon Stn in Seoul to the Ganghwaeup bus terminal. From there we hitched a ride with a Pastor's daughter to their farm/church property, a Methodist Church. We enjoyed some watermelon in the shade and they lifted us to Oepo-ri, a small coastal village on the western part of the island. The ferry took us to Songmodo Island in 10 minutes. The short ferry ride was fun, it cost KRW 1,800 r/trip, or about $2.00. We took a bus directly to Bomunsa Buddhist Temple and hiked to the Buddha statue carved into the rock cliff. It was really humid, but we rested near the top at the foot of the Buddha before returning to the Temple grounds where Koreans were sitting around collectively. Earlier, we had been asked to leave the temple, when I asked a burly young monk if we could sleep at the temple. We had been told by the Methodist family and the ticket clerk at the shuttle bus terminal on SOngmodo, that it was possible. So, I looked for an elder monk, handed him my cellphone to speak to my wife. She explained in Korean that we were English Teachers and needed a place to stay for the night. He spoke mild English and was smiling from ear-to-ear, he was welcoming and wanted to do anything to help us. It was afterdark, we were tired and wanted to rest. He showed us to our dormroom, and where we could wash up (no showers, but there are large plastic bowls and scoops and soap, bring a towel...) They opened the dining hall for us, and prepared a full-course Korean meal, rice and many different types of Kimchi, very delicious and generous! The dorm room smelled like a mosquito coil, and was full of mosquitos. It was breezy outside and we could see alot of stars around 1am. The three of us went outside, and decided to sleep next to one of the temples. I spotted a corner spot next to a temple and parking lot. Dave and I decided to sleep there, Andrew opted for inside the dormitory. We awoke at 5am to loud Korean drums, and brass gongs going off inside the buildings next to us, and above in the open pagota on the cliff. I had wet-toilet paper earplugs in, I didn't hear it over the murmur of the water fountain spring also on our right. The drumming went on for awhile, then the gongs, finally we went back to sleep. There were mosquitos out there, since we had no repellant, donations were happily accepted. ^^++ It was a great adventure for a night. In the morning, breakfast was being served already in the cafeteria, we ate and hiked back to the lower lot to catch the bus to the ferry terminal. An inexpensive get-away, we left donations for the monks and I turned the prayer wheel with the older monk that befriended us before we left. Good times...

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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