Jillian R.
This is a continuation of the previous entry.

Upon arriving at the Daedeok Cable Car (which I later discovered was the name of the place) the long, uncomfortable bus ride seemed like distant history. The Russian girls (and boy) immediately started taking pictures with their digital SLR camera (at least I think it's what they're called) and I, with my little point-and-shoot.



(The red leaves were no match to Sacha's very red hair though!)


Neglecting to remember that it was Halloween weekend, we chose this specific week to enjoy the cable car ride to enjoy the leave change. True enough, the gold, red and green trees surrounding the fountain were such a beautiful sight.


It took a while for us to find the cable-car station. I was quite impressed happy that they had signs leading to it in English. The signs were not difficult to follow and after 10 mins of following groups of people in a general direction, we found the station. There were hoards of people queuing to buy tickets. While waiting our turn, we saw families with little kids enjoying pumpkin candy (bought there) and a variety of in-season fruits, namely clementines and persimmons. For some reason I've always enjoyed watching little toddlers holding food with their tiny little hands. Very messy. Very Cute.


Anyway...


The numbers went by quite fast and we got our tickets after a 10-15 minute wait. At 7,000 Won a piece for a round trip, I'd say it was well worth it - on any other day. That day, it was crowded and everywhere we went there were long queues for everything! The 5 of us got into one cable-car and it was then that Sacha went really quiet. We discovered that he was afraid of heights. I told him of the time when a friend of mine who was also afraid of heights cried when we went on the cable-car back in Malaysia. I guess that didn't make him feel better.





(Everyone having fun on the ride)

When we got to the upper station, the view was so beautiful that I forgot all about the long bus ride, the queues, everything. It was absolutely beautiful!



Maybe it's because I'm a city girl, but I've always got a soft spot for nature. It was just so...so serene - when I blocked out the people around me.




Some of the trees had begun to lose their leaves (some completed the task!) and that just adds to the beauty, in my opinion.



What's a trip up the mountains when you don't enjoy some makgeolli? So we had a big clay bowl of it with a light snack - Korean pizza; a thin pancake with squids and lots of chives served with some flavorful (these are hard to come by here in Koreagreen peppers, it quickly jumped up a few notches on my list of favorite Korean foods!


(The cafeteria was crowded and we were fortunate enough to have gotten a table)


After the meal, although we didn't know it yet, the fun was over. Dark clouds were quickly moving towards our area and people were beginning to leave. We joined the big crowd at the cable-car boarding station thinking it was just an unruly line to get on the cars. We were wrong.

Those people were standing in the rain for no reason. Really.

It turned out that we had to take a deli-ticket in order to get on the cars. Now, if we had known this sooner, we would've taken a number before going about enjoying ourselves. The current number then was 605 (or something like that) our number was 950. Our chances of getting down the mountain before Christmas were starting to look bleak. Anyway, we started to look around on the ground to see if anyone dropped their deli-tickets. We picked up a ticket with 930 on it. 20 people is a lot...

Long story short, it took about an hour or so to get to our turn and by then, the temperature had taken a severe drop. With the rain and winds getting stronger, my teeth were beginning to chatter (I was dressed for fall afternoon). By the time we got down the mountain, all the bus stops were filled with at least 50 people. Moreover, there were several empty "Rapid" buses just waiting around. We played dumb and tried to get on one of the empty buses only to be scolded by the driver - who then drove away.

To make matters worse, there were no taxis around, and when one did come along, and were were about to get in, a Korean guy came out of nowhere and hopped into the taxi before anyone could react. He was like a taxi-snatching ninja!

In the end, we walked a bit to a nearly cafe-slash-convenience store where the owner called us a taxi. What was supposed to be a few hours' day out, turned out to be a 7-hr ordeal.

Lesson learnt; never plan anything like this ever again on a holiday weekend, yes even though Koreans supposedly do not celebrate Halloween. 
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