My scheduled post pre-empted by a late breaking e-mail letter from my sleep-deprived but happy 18 yo travel bug son in S. Korea, where he’s staying at a Buddhist temple and traveling with friends for 6 weeks. His flight last Sunday was delayed midway (with a return to PDX for one day) by a volcanic eruption N. of Japan, and required face masks to help reduce the risk of swine flu during the flight and at the Tokyo airport. This is probably more of interest to family and friends who know about his trip (and the worry it’s caused his mother). Although anyone might appreciate his bemused reading of his surroundings.
We are currently at Tongdosa temple, a rather industrialized temple if I do say so, except for the public baths ^.6
We met the head monk and he is going to take us to see Mama Mia and Chicago, Korean style. They own a suprisingly amount of land and buildings outside of the temple. Aside from that the food is interesting, but a hell of a lot healthier, waking up at 3 makes the day a lot longer, and what we are taught is quite interesting. Tonight we are going to go to another temple in the mountains, but since we ran out of time we are going by car…lame. I am having quite a lot of fun here with these guys, and girls, and the monk that is teaching us is quite amusing, too. We sleep on the floor, all 5 of us guys in one room, but it’s never boring, yet. One thing that I noticed about nature here: their trees are much more beautiful than trees at home. I am the only non-Korean person here–big suprise–except for one of the monks. From all the plane rides and crazy waking schedules I feel like I have been here for weeks. I feel like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, except for my 24 hour interpreter, Minsoo, and his sister. No one here at the temple is racist, so I don’t have to deal with that. It still makes me laugh how much technology is here for being a 1,300 hundred year old temple with priceless artifacts.
Will upload photos soon.