There is something particularly peaceful about waking up late on a Sunday morning with the sounds of skiing outside the window and the sun filtering through the not-quite-meeting curtains over the sleeping forms of friends huddled under excessive amounts of yellow bedding on the heated floor. Everything was quiet and warm in the room. I sat for a while jotting down thoughts and memories of the evening before, from Zanzibar the ladybird to cotton-producing sheep. At about noon, the first of the other room to emerge, Erin, came and joined me in my peaceful little spot and eventually, as we chatted quietly, other people emerged from their yellow cocoons. The process of 12 people waking up and getting organised tends to be a slow, noisy and sometimes humorous one. This one was notably highlighted by the series of groans as people moved sore arms, legs and asses in their attempts to stand up. It took a little longer to get moving than usual. I wasn’t horribly stiff from the waist down but my arms were ridiculous. It hurt to lift them at all. Even writing caused twinges of stiffness. Reaching for food from the cupboards at home that night was not fun. In fact, by the end of Sunday sitting still hurt.
This did not deter us from heading out, however. Largely because we were in need of food. We had all also reached the outer limits of our capacity to eat KFC or the same five Korean meals even once more. So we took the plunge and headed off the resort in search of lunch. Down the hill and past the cheaper ski rental place we went, all the while enjoying the incredible and for me (although less for those who have seen it before) somewhat breathtaking views of a snowy-wonderland world under the bright lunchtime sun.
A little way along the road, we spotted a galbi place. Just the thing for lunch. We headed inside, took off our shoes and sat at our table. A disadvantage of eating Korean food when incredibly stiff is that it may require sitting on the floor. Actually, sitting on the floor isn’t the worst part. The worst part is standing up afterwards. The galbi was good, with the usual array of side-dishes and some particularly good onion-y-type-salad. The galbi cooked over hot coals in a little braai set into the table. The coals were a little hot so some of the meat caught a little, which was actually particularly yummy.
After lunch, we rose with moans and groans and headed back up the hill through the snow to our warm and cosy youth hostel room. Everyone flopped down on a sleeping mat and/or burrowed under blankets in front of the TV. Some people napped. We flipped through channels, searching for more of the figure-skating which had dominated the occasional TV viewing of the weekend. There was a documentary on rodeo clowns and barrel men, in which inexplicably became enthralled. Then we happened upon the movie Stardust and settled there for a while. Desultory conversation and laughter drifted back and forth.
At 4:30 we packed up for the last time, gathered our luggage and set off on the trek up the hill to where the bus-driver had dropped us off and would pick us up. After rearranging the seating and luggage set-up, much to the driver’s not-entirely-happy surprise, we squeezed everyone in without anyone sitting on the floor and set off for home. The drive back was long and chilly – except for the feet next to the heater-outlet. Almost 4 hours later, we arrived back in Daegu in the middle of a conversation about super-powers. We were all tired and sore as we tumbled out and gathered our belongings. I was so exhausted I could barely organise myself enough for the last little bit of the trip. Luckily, I shared a cab with someone could give the driver directions – I’m not sure I would have made it home alone.
Finally home in my freezing cold apartment, I had some dinner, checked mail and spent some time just sitting around – blobbing as one of my friends put it. Monday would be back to work in the cold, windy, snow-less wilds of Daegu but for a while it was nice to potter around, downloading photos and generally decompressing in the last glow of what had turned out to an exhausting and stiffness-inducing but truly enjoyable weekend filled with snow, fun people, trying new things and plenty of crazy memories.
Postscript: As is turned out the wilds of Daegu were not, in fact, snow-less on Monday but that is a whole different story.