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AsiaWheeling Finally Grows Tired of Bathing

If the jimjilbang provides any indication, Koreans like to sleep on very hard surfaces, and tired and relaxed as I was from an evening of bathing, soaking, scrubbing and the like, my body is just too boney to sleep very long on a marble floor (even if it’s heated). The result of this condition is that I woke up rather early the next day. Scott was still snoozing.

I decided to head out to the spa balcony and spend a few hours typing correspondance for you, dear reader.

Scott woke up after a couple posts and came out to join me. We looked out over the city and discussed our plans for the day. We had to catch a train leaving maybe 5 hours from then headed for the inland city of Daegu. We were in no huge rush, but my growing hunger encouraged us to check out of the spa and head into the city.

We stopped just a few blocks down from the hotel to grab a little late breakfast-early-lunch. This was a hot pot place, it turned out, and like many of the restaurants we’d visited thusfar in Korea, there was but one item on the menu. I like this a lot; as it simplified what can be a bewildering ordering process. It also encourages us to order somewhat splashier dishes, which AsiaWheeling’s thirfty mentality would normally turn us away from.

We were the only people in the restaurant, so most of the staff just lounged and watched us. A huge mushroom and meat soup was brought out and placed on a burner sunk into the 1 foot tall table between where Scott and I sat cross legged on the floor.

We waited semi-patiently while it came to a boil. The staff tried to chat with us in Korean, and we tried to chat back with marginal success. Finally the soup was done… what a transformation!

Stomachs plenty full for the second meal in a row, we hopped back on the cycles grinning. It had not only been one of the most delicious, but also one of the cheapest meals of our time in Korea.

At the Busan railway station, we purchased two tickets on the next slow train to Daegu and commenced the usual purchasing of snacks and wheeling of bikes through crowded halls. Even though we were seated somewhere in the middle of the train, we were able to stash our cycles behind the rearmost seats of our car.It was nice to get on the train and just sit for a bit watching the scenery go by. What a journey it had been, and in these few quite moments, I could feel the experience begin to wash over me, my mind chewing over everything in the background while farms, cities, and industry flew by outside.

I after a while, I did my best shake the feeling off, and unzipped my bag to begin writing some more correspondence for you, dear reader.

And so the train rumbled on, making its way slowly across Korea as the day wore on.

It must have been 4  pm when we arrived in Daegu.

We unloaded ourselves from the train, strapped down our baggage and about half an hour of wheeling later were checking into a sort of random love hotel. Each room in this hotel was outfitted with its own windows desktop, which we promptly unplugged to make way for our electronic devices.

We were tempted to feast on the internet, but with the sun still up the call of wheeling was too strong.

Daegu was much more a working man’s town, compared to Busan. It was cluttered and active. People were buying and selling and getting things done.

Tourism seemed a nonexistent industry here. In short, it was AsiaWheeling’s kind of city.  Daegu was to be a fascinating and refreshing exploration of the inner-workings of Korea’s less glamourous economic machinery.

We wheeled our way through crowded markets and huge abandoned lots, walled off on all sides.

The more we rode, the more we began to realize this was a pretty huge metropolitan area, with gaint ring highways, canals, bike paths, tons of high rises, big wide roads. It felt great.

We didn’t want the sun to go down.

We continued to wheel through street after street of markets, specializing in everything from plastics, to seafood, to electronics.
We spotted a particularly dramatic looking barbershop and decided to stop in for a quick trim. The haircuts included massages and medicinal vitamin drinks. I read to Scott about the science of Volcanoes from the Wikireader while they finished his treatment.

The sun was beginning to sink behind the two huge towers of a downtown cathedral and a glorious sunset was spreading across the sky when the hunger began to flair up again.

We were wheeling through downtown as the golden light began to spread over Daegu. Why did this place feel so magical? Was it the proximity card based bike sharing business that seemed to be very popular here? Probably not entirely.

The sunset just refused to quit as we rode into a giant pedestrian mall, filled with brands from all over the world.

We noticed this coffee shop, whose branding spoke to us, but was closed.

Night finally fell, and we began to head back to the neighborhood of our hotel. We rode a few blocks past it to find another Korean feasting spot. We spotted this 24 hour joint, there were positively amazing smells coming out of it, and we were plenty starving, so we headed in.

Now it’s true, dear reader, that we had been feasting pretty hard already hitherto, but this meal really put the rest of them to shame.

All we ordered was a sizzling mollusk soup and a seriously giant pile of pork spine in thick spicy mushroom sauce, but the amount of food that came out of the kitchen was huge. We got at least two gift dishes, and mountains of Banchan.

We stumbled out, bursting at the gills, and headed back to our love hotel to sleep like kings.


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