camping in Korea

Dadaepo Birthday Sky

When I was a kid my birthday always fell somewhere around the first day of school.  No big deal, though I do remember a few tears in grade one: everybody more stoked about their fancy new pencil cases than the fact I was turning six.

Now I love September.  Before moving to Korea I spent a year in Edmonton, Alberta, and in the fall there I began to run through the river valley in the evenings, when there was still enough light to see the leaves scattered across the path in loose piles, red and yellow and the last bit of summer green hanging on.  Despite the trees shedding their colour, fall feels new.  And hopeful.

This year, I celebrated the birthday on a Busan beach called Dadaepo…


Bus Ride Hite, Portside Morning

Board a bus on a Friday night from Busan to Tongyeong, a little city west on the southeast coast, with a couple cans of Hite and a blue tent left in your apartment last year by a guy called Alex who lived in it before you arrived.  Bring a sleeping bag and a copy of The Korea Herald, bought for 1000 won from the newsstand guy at the Seomyeon subway transfer.  Look out the darkened window as the engine comes on.  Crack the Hite, crack the Herald.  Lean back and smile at Joe.  It’s Friday.  It’s April.  The evenings have started to shake off the cold; spring in Korea is on time.  You’re going camping.

But first, a night and a morning in Tongyeong

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