Sunday, 1 November 2009

More to Andeok…

Did you know that there is more to Andeok than the 5 minute walk down its single main road?


It was Corey and Ilana’s last morning in Andeok, and after a manly breakfast inside the house (eggs, toast, and ham and sausage drenched in caramelized maple syrup) and a nice coffee out on the roof, we set out in search of a mysterious path up the mountain that Young-hee (my Korean co-teacher) had talked about. It was actually a tractor path, but worth walking on. We walked behind Andeok School, passing the cows, overturned rice fields, and harvested apple orchards, right into the woods.

Not far from the school, we immediately saw a sign which had lots of Korean writing on it. Rough translation: Do not go up if you’re exercising!! Were we exercising? Kind of. I saw the uneven pattern of rocks making up a pathway of some sort up the steep mountain, branching off to the side rather than heading straightforward.

We climbed it. I could see why there was a warning sign at the very bottom. The fiery tree leaves had fallen, it had rained a little bit, and the stone steps were more than a little loose. Not to mention the light rain that had fallen during the night, making the leaves slippery over the damp ground.

Up at the very top was a clearing of trees. The grass had just recently been cut, and the area well-maintained. At the center were two hilly mounds, encircled by stone bricks, and in the center of the two, a tombstone with a flower carving at the top. There was even a concrete area (on which to put an offering of rice wine, rice cakes, and fruits) set up for ancestral thanksgiving services. After appreciating the view from the top, we set out to continue along the tractor path that was leading to another village of Andeok. That’s right, there is more to Andeok than meets the eye.

We kept on walking, but the pathway curved around the tree-covered mountain, surrounded by more apple orchards, cabbage patches, and harvested rice fields. The mountain landscape around the other village was captivating, seemingly touching the edges of the village.

Just then, a large dog came running out from the end of the path. We hadn’t noticed that our walk was coming close to an end, until the massive dog (quite like a horror movie), came speeding towards us, barking madly. Ken had instinctively pushed me back, putting his arm out in front of me, protecting me. Luckily, the unleashed dog (literally unleashed) stopped at the edge of the property and just kept on barking. It was a frightening moment.

We turned back, following the path back to our village of Myungdang-ri. After spending a few moments of rest at the house, Corey and Ilana left on the bus, back to Andong City.

Thank-you for such an enjoyable and fulfilling weekend, guys. We’ll see you soon in Andong!

- Jess

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