I have been camping a lot this summer, and I started wondering how different cultures approach camping. Personally, when our family camps, we do car camping. Our favorite campsite had flush toilets, hot showers, playground, basketball court, and even fully furnished cabins for folks who don't really want to camp at all. We pitch a tent that is big enough to stand up in straight (OK, we're not real tall, but still) and room to walk around all the air mattresses. Heck, it even has cloth "walls" that we can button in place to divide the space into 3 "rooms."
A coworker told me about taking his Russian-born wife camping for the first time, and how she laughed when arriving at the car-camping site. To her, camping meant a sleeping roll and a shotgun, period. Of course, there are more rugged Americans too, who camp out under the stars, and cook their food over open fires, not propane fold-up stoves.
When I lived as an exchange student in Seoul for a year, the closest I came to camping was a day trip to Soraksan. My friends packed daypacks with a one-burner stove and extra fuel. They also packed whole carrots, onions, and potatoes. I was a little puzzled by all the gear, as I expected we would just bring sandwiches.
We got up and boarded the bus at 5:00am. It was several hours to get to Soraksan, and then we hiked around the whole day, stopping to take pictures. There must have been places to buy lunch, but we bypassed all of them. Instead, my friends found a nice spot in the shade, with a dry patch of dirt big enough for us all to sit around. They opened up all the bags we had been carrying, and they proceeded to prepare Curry-Rice right there on the spot! Never having camped as a child, I was amazed at the process. Nothing was pre-chopped. They peeled the potatoes, chopped the carrot, diced the onion right there in the wilderness (next to the sidewalk, anyway). They opened the curry mix, added water, and in a short while, our hot tasty lunch was ready. I can't remember if we had bowls, or just picked out of the pot with our chopsticks, but it was very tasty. They wrapped up all the waste, in efficient Korean woman style, packed up the gear, and we were off again. This was one of my favorite days in Korea.
Nowadays, our family's car camping expeditions have nothing Korean about them, unless I packed some gim as a snack. I am the only one who eats kimchi, and while I suppose I could bring kalbi along, beef stew in my thermal cooker just seems easier.
Does your family camp? If so, are there any things you do, or bring along that are uniquely Korean? Have any of you ever camped in Korea? Just wondering...
I announced this Book Club meeting 6 weeks ago, and now, the night before, I feel like I am back in college with a paper due in the morning.
I will do my best to host this properly, but I feel pressure to be insightful, literary, and erudite. And yes, I write a blog, but it's a blog, people, not "real" literature! So, I will confess right up front that I am not qualified as a book reviewer. In the vernacular of our heroine,
"This person can only share her humble opinions and hope that you will find them worthy."
My immediate impression after the reading the book? I liked it. Spoilers ahead as we discuss further.
The beautifully descriptive prose allowed me to see, and smell, and hear, and touch the scenes in the book. I will remember the mudworms forever. I can see the huge smile on Najin's face as she rode the bicycle home as a girl, and I teetered down the aisle along with her in her unfamiliar high heels and western wedding gown.
Hi there! Just wanted to remind everyone that the Kimchi Book Club that I announced in June, is coming right up this Saturday. We will be discussing The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim. Since Lori just commented the link to the author's blog, do you think we should invite her to the Book Club discussion on Saturday? Or just tell her about it afterward? Would that make the discussion more interesting, or just more awkward?
In the way of parenting life, the wide open Saturday that I picked 6 weeks ago is now filled with 2 soccer tournament games and a birthday party! I will be posting at 7:00am Saturday, to give our early risers a chance to comment first. I promise to join live by 8:00am and will monitor comments from field-side for as long as my iPhone batteries hold out.