July 1. Barefoot.

View of Seoul from the mountains
A new month begins today. The year 2009 is half over. Do you have good memories of those six months? I hope you do. And I hope the second half will be even better. Never too serious, but always for each other.
I hike Bukhansan with Malia today, but first we listen to some music on the helicopter platform and get locked out on the roof for a little while. Anyway, you can just walk out of a metro station an onto the mountains surrounding Seoul. I love that!
So, the trail leads uphill onto a ridge with a beautiful misty view. Few other hikers are around, and they all wear professional gear. I wear the same sandals since Buenos Aires and this short hike finally gets them. The leather breaks from the sole and I continue barefoot. The sun sets and we have to think about our way back. We reach a natural pool with water that is cold at first, but quite agreeable after a few minutes. We think there is a path down but it is just the cascading waterfall. After we’ve followed it for a while, we decide to go back to the trail because we might be stuck on a cliff any time. We follow the safe rocky trail down and reach the bus stop on time to get back to Seoul. It has been a beautiful short hike on which we’ve seen taramdjis, squirrels, on the trees. Instead of a bar, we just share orange juice and soju on the patio between three huge highrises.
Then I walk home barefoot. Why not? I carry my broken sandal in my hand but there aren’t many people making remarks about it. Actually, nobody seems to notice. I climb the Namsan mountain and I know the way back to where I live now. My nightly adventures in Seoul are set against the background of a gradually improving geographical knowledge of the location where I live. I discover roads in different directions, good roads I can walk down to reach the central Myeong-Dong area easily, for example. On my walk home I sing, but not Michael Jackson since he is dead for too long already. Have you noticed how quickly he disappeared from the news? There was an outburst of interest and hysteria in the days following his death, but that died out pretty soon. A grumpy old philosopher would look up from his book and say something like “I told you, the world is getting too fast”. Of course, I’m not saying there should be a month of worldwide mourning because legendary popstar died, but the hysteria to cramp our emotions into a timeframe as tiny as possible, I do question that. Soon, presidential terms will become shorter, two years, one year, one month. Eventually the people will pick their president every single day with their cellphones. And I am walking home on one sandal and one bare foot, carrying the broken sandal in my hand and I have visionary thoughts.