My co-workers were kind enough to invite me on a rafting trip one Saturday. The day dawned clear and sunny.
I was exhausted and running on zero sleep, but thrilled at the idea of rafting. And in South Korea! I love my life!
Jamie picked me up and we shared some coffee and peaches for breakfast while noting with gratitude that soju doesn’t give either of us quite the same hang over as vodka. Soju is a bit more mild in it’s revenge. Less headached, more body ache but not particularly severe.
We met up with the crew and headed out to Dangyang. It was a gorgeous two hour drive through winding green mountains. Unfortunately the skies became gray and cloudy and soon we were driving through a downpour. I sighed.
“Will we still be able to raft?”
“Hell yeah! This is Korea!”
Jamie’s response gave me hope the rain would end. But I had a feeling we were doing this regardless of the typhoon pouring from the sky.
We stopped at a shack on top of a mountain, where we paid about $10 each for our day on the river. The rain was still pouring down and the temperature had dropped. I was feeling chilled in my shirt and capris while regretting the decision to not bring a jacket. Then we were directed to drive back down the mountain, cross the river and up another mountain.
We arrived at a busy rest area. People were gathered around buses, a few food carts, a small market and a large bathroom. The rain poured down harder than ever. Pretty soon we got on a bus that would take us to the boarding area. (I have no explanation for the circuitous route we took to get there, but we were there.)
Once we got off the bus, we were immediately soaked through by the rain. Our river guide gave us some directions and we did a few warm up exercises. He did a nice job of translating himself into English. We hoisted our raft and walked to the river.
The shallow, lazy river.
Then we went rafting in a way I have never experienced before. The river was very slow moving. We had a few rounds of “this is how you paddle” where we switched between counting off in Korean and English. (hanna, dul, set, net=one, two, three, four)
Then we went through some nice mild rapids. They were fun, but shallow and I hoped they were just a taste of what was to come. When we were through the rapids, our guide directed us to splash another raft full of intrepid people willing to brave the ongoing downpour for a day on the river.
We splashed each other until we were all beyond soaked through. I felt like a half-drowned kitten and was shivering. Another game was introduced farther along the river, we were supposed to rock the raft until we all fell out. “So the point of rafting in Korea is to spend as much time as possible in the water?” I asked our guide. He smiled at me. “Okay!” Then he pushed me in the river.
We swam around for a bit before pushing and pulling our way back into the rubber boat. Than we went over another rapid, this one was even gentler than the first one. Soon we were back to playing ridiculous games in the river. I was beyond soaked and beyond cold meanwhile the rain continued to pour down.
Then finally just as we were nearing the final shore, right by some cool ancient runes (Chines script I think) the sun came out and the rain stopped.
“Perfect timing, Nature. Thanks for that.”