Southbound in a bullet train


We picked up breads and pastries at the train station in Seoul. Then once we arrived in Jeongeup we stopped in a convenience store and bought cups of ramen and cheap, cold beer. We were headed south.

The bus had tinted windows, and yellow curtains. We caught it at 2:46 pm and it departed from the station at 2:50 pm.

When we arrived at the base of the mountain, the leaves were already turning. Vendors sold persimmons and roasted chestnuts to hikers who walked back to their cars with their shirts caked to their arms in sweat.

We entered a dank and desolate hotel. Our room was facing the mountains. Our bathroom’s pipes were rusty and leaking. Our pillows were like bean bags filled with cut up plastic straws, but we were happy. We stocked our fridge with our Japanese beer and filled up the electric water kettle for our cup of instant noodles. We’d trace the trail to the Baekyangsa Temple that night to be ready for the morning.