who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Friday, February 26, 2010

sorry, we're sold out of "entrepreneurship"

at the back end of our holiday last week, we set off to a town called gohan - famous for it's ski resorts.  i had, against my better judgment, been convinced by Fathead to return the slopes for a second round of skiing.

i will remind everyone that this was only the second time that this sportingly-challenged being attempted ski greatness.  

a friend of ours had kindly arranged the trip on our behalf - sorting out accommodation, pricing structures, gear rentals and transport arrangements.  you can imagine how this might be somewhat difficult in a country that basically doesn't speak english - so we were rather relieved to have this schlep taken off our hands!

another sparrow's fart start had us back at the same bus terminal we used to get to gyeongju.

another warm and luxurious bus ride, and soon we were in gohan and checking into the high valley hotel.

loom for 6 please? 


shortly after settling in, we headed up to the slope - high 1 ski resort
in comparison to the previous resort - high 1 is a monster.  it's slopes are breathtakingly enormous.  they seem to span across entire mountain ranges.  i'd never seen or imagined anything of it's scale. 

the only way to navigate the resort is by using an intricate and highly efficient cable car / ski lift system.  the design seems to have been inspired by that of a subway - as you have to switch cable tracks and catch connecting ski lifts.   

the cable cars (for some reason also called "gondolas") are glass all around, and the views from this height are unbelievable.

the "beginners" slope (which our friend insisted was the right one for my level of ski-pertise) was around 2,8km down a mountain.  it was steep, it was winding.  it was full of small people (who's skills far exceeded mine).

around the 8th fall, i had all but given up.  i was frustrated and alone (seen as everyone else, but this stage, had reached the bottom and was happily enjoying lunch).  i took a deep breath and with that, decided i would not let this mountain beat me.  so i summoned my inner hero, had a private pep-talk with myself and bravely rose to my feet once more.

my eyes locked forward with a determined glint so powerful, the trees began to shake in fear.  it was just the mountain and i up there.  no one else. not even the wind dared venture so high.

i adjusted my grip on the poles, positioned my ski's and in a soundless moment, i was gliding down the icy slope with the grace of a raptor in flight. 

then i lost the ability to stop, and collided ski-first, with a large cement barrier.

as i lay in a twisted heap of ski's and poles and legs and feet being pulled in directions nature had not intended for them, the slope broken my spirit.

so i unclipped my ski's, propped them under my arm, and began to limp my 2,5 hr downhill hike from hell.

embarrassed, in pain, tearful and defeated - i eventually arrive at the bottom. 
i had slipped and slid down 2,3km's of steep snow.

my aches and shame were soaked away for an hour in a jimjilbang (korean spa/sauna).  these are fairly common in korea.  they usually have treatments available, as well as relaxation lounges, gyms and sleeping quarters where you can spend the night.  they also have hot pools - ranging in temperatures between 24 and 45 degrees.  the pools are often made from some kind of mineral - jade, red dust clay, gold, marble ... each intended to release, relieve, relax or rejuvenate.

men and women are separated and once inside, everyone is naked. at first it's a little strange (well, for me anyway).  but once you're in the pools, and you're having your back massaged by high speed water jets, and you're helping yourself to the many pamper products they display on offer ... you get over it pretty quickly.

the following morning, my ego was still rather wounded, and like the wuss i can be - i declined to venture onto the slope of death for a second helping of ass-whipping.

instead, i wandered into town to uncover the hidden charms gohan might have. shortly into my explorations, i'd seen pretty much all there is to see in this ski-befok dorpie.

the town's existence revolves entirely around the skiing industry.  the street (yes, there is only one) is lined on both sides with gear rental stores.  each store offers the exact same gear, at the exact same price.  each store will shuttle you to the resort, and will collect the gear from you, at the resort.

so, one might draw the conclusion that this is a rather saturated market.  one might also see an enormous entrepreneurial opportunity for others to offer something different to the guests in the town.

i don't know - maybe a restaurant.  or perhaps a bar.  somewhere that people would go when they are not on the ski slopes.   perhaps, offer them something they might want when on a skiing holiday ... like, umm ... food, or water, or perhaps even coffee.

but no!  the folks in gohan do not appear to think that a tourist on a ski trip might like something warm to drink.  or perhaps something to satiate their hunger.  apparently, the only thing you could possible need when visiting gohan is a snow board, or a set of skis.  that's the final verdict.  okay?

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