This summer I finally got to visit a mountain with a stream (similar to what I saw during EPIK orientation) and swim in it. Before I went, my Korean friends were insisting that it was a valley because of the not-so-great translating devices we were using. But anyway, four of us headed for a 45 minutes car ride up some mountains north of Sangju. About midway to 3/4 up the mountain, a bunch of people were swimming in their regular clothes (only two toddlers were in bathing suits) and others were camping/cooking around the sides. The swimming area’s bottom and sides are cemented, the depth ranges from knee level to about 4.5 feet, and the stream water runs down over it. I didn’t see any fish in the swimming area and the water is VERY clear.
Because the water was freezing, we all entered in our own ways: some shoved in, others jumping–there was no one doing a smooth transition (I tried but my friends oh so kindly pushed me in….I got them back. :-P). Only one of my friends knew how to swim, and he wanted to race me. He gave me a handicap head start but he was surprised when we tied. Then the boys decided to play chicken. At first they wanted me to be the fighter, but I decided to be a base (I looked only *slightly* ridiculous). The fighters both toppled over and one of them ended up with a bruise on his cheekbone from crashing down on my head (lol).
None of us could really take the cold water for too long, so we took a shower in the rooms next to the stream. (Public showers: men and women separate but not individual stalls. Inside the building–well the women’s shower room—there was a machine to spin your wet clothes, lockers, and then the open shower room.) The shower water was FREEZING, which was no surprise. One brave woman was washing her hair beside me. I decided I’d just wash my hair later (don’t judge :-P). On a side note, I think I made a lot of the Korean women/girls in there nervous (there were about 5 in there with me.)