Kiel’s alarm went of at 8am and immediately he turned on all the lights and yelled “everybody up!” like a drill sergeant. We all stumbled around groaning and half-consciously putting on clothes. The boys got ready in .5 seconds and so I was the last one out. I put on my damp bathing suit and shuddered. Next were my running shoes that seemed wetter than the day before. My new dry socks instantly went to mush in them. Shudder.
Outside, William Cho had set out Costco muffins and a sandwich station to make our lunch for the day. As a smoothie addict, I didn’t find a hunk of chocolate surrounded by cake to be an inspiring breakfast, but Vosa seemed to like it all right, as he slammed an ice cream cone on top of it. I have to wonder how he is still alive. Some people looked like they were still dragging from the night before, but most of us were ready to go zip-line and raft. The bus took us to the river where a 9 line course was set up alongside it. It was like an adventure playground; an assembly line of foreigners zipping along and yellow and blue rafts sitting in tents where companies tried to hawk their rafting business. I’d never seen anything like that and it astounded me to see mass consumption of river rafting. At home, in Coloma, I live in a river town where companies compete for business but not in one parking lot. They are all spaced out in camps along a 5 mile or so stretch. Here in Korea, it was like being in a rafting market.
The zip line was not an intense as the one I did in Daegu, which seriously tested my fear of heights and left you to your own devices. This one was carefully controlled by guides at each platform who would hook you onto the line and push you off. A few of them had two people go at one time and we were forced to hold hands with the person next to us so Jason and I held hands and sang “Sweet Caroline” as we screeched down to hit the mats. The course was pretty tame except for the line that went over the river. It wasn’t super fast, but it was a thrill to be so high and seemingly flying over the water.
Team Awesome, alas, was unable to all fit on one raft, so when it came time for rafting, we split up. My group was Jason, Steph, Kiel, Jeremy, Mike, his girlfriend, and a random Korean woman. Our guide had a shoulder tattoo and looked about 18. I don’t blame his age for his poor guiding because I’ve seen 18 year olds kill it on the river. He just seemed to be inexperienced. I’m not a good river guide by any means, but I’ve grown up with them (my dad was one and my brother is currently one) and I know when someone knows what they are doing. Our guide would take us right to a rock, sit us up upon it, and wouldn’t have even yelled out directions on how to get around it. We just went to it like there was nothing else we could do. He would have us bounce up and down to get off, but didn’t seem to know the option of high-siding. I was extremely frustrated when we hit our SIXTH rock. I wanted to throw him overboard and take over. Positively, we never flipped or lost anyone out of the boat..except for the guide, so he did decently and I did have a fun time when I wasn’t going mad over his guidng methods. The rapids were maybe class 1 or a slight 2 and we had some good drops to make it all worthwhile.
Raft guides are some of my favorite people because they are wild souls who want to show their customers a crazy time. Back at home, guides will regale you with stories of death and absurdity on the river, show you rocks and trees with human or animal features, and risk their lives just to entertain you. They also know how to drink and party, like nobody’s business. The Korean raft guides were quiet, seeing as we couldn’t communicate very well, but seemed to be in that same spirit. We stopped twice on the banks of the river. Once to set up a slide with the rafts, where they flipped it over so we could slide down on our stomachs like seals. The second time they had people sit under a small waterfall of fresh spring water. One guide would sit up high in the middle of the water to stop the flow, then once someone was under it, he would lift up and the guide below would basically water board the poor foreigner. It looked horrifying and yet we all lined up to do it. A guy next to me wondered aloud with disgust if we were all really that much of sheep. I opted out because drowning scares me, but I drank some of the water and it was FRESH.
The trip was only about an hour and a half (trips back home take around 3-4 hours) but it was a refreshing way to end the weekend. Everyone got ice cream at the corner store and then our bus started back to Seoul with some dirty, happy, and content foreigners.