Aug 5, 2013

K-Fail: The bicycle incident--Part 2

Read Part 1 here

Last we left our increasingly unfortunate tale, N and I were holed up in a remote trail-side cafe trying to stave off dehydration as we planned our next move.

We'd just about had our fill of the "scenic trail," so we decided to hit the road to the beach. It seemed pretty straightforward.

After doing our best to refresh ourselves, we headed back out into the brutal heat to look for the road. We had to navigate the bumpy, unpaved, uphill cafe driveway before emerging onto pavement.

Once we made it to the main road, all seemed well. The road was nice and straight and sloped gently downhill. But during our periodic Google Map checks, we noticed that we didn't seem to be moving as quickly as we thought we would. We realized that, once again, we had been duped. The beach was a solid 15km away, and we were getting increasingly sunburned.

Screw it, we decided, Let's get a cab.

We pulled over in front of an E-Mart and accosted the cab drivers waiting at the taxi stand. They recoiled as we approached, filthy, smelly, and walking our bikes beside us. All might have been lost had it not been for a friendly passer-by. A Korean man dressed in fancy bike gear noticed our plight and stopped to help. After several minutes of intense negotiation, he managed to persuade two cabbies to take us and our bikes to the beach for a flat rate.

We were more than ready to lay out and have a relaxing afternoon on the beach. Unfortunately, the beach had other plans.

Upon arrival, we locked up our bikes and sprinted into the water, eager to wash away the sweat and grime.  We were immediately knocked off our feet by some of the most powerful waves I've ever experienced at a beach. They flipped us over and over, dragging us through the sand along the bottom. When we finally extricated ourselves, we were covered in sand. It crusted our hair and lined our swimsuits. We ran for the showers... only to find them out of order.

We had no choice but to go back into the water for what we called the "dunk and scrub." We would wait for a big wave to crash, run out, dunk and try to scrub the sand out, then run back out before the wave retreated and dragged us with it. It was only mildly successful.

Too uncomfortable to enjoy laying out on the sand, we finally decided to admit defeat. We got back on our bikes and rode to a nearby convention center, hoping to pick up another cab or two. All the cabbies waved us off. One told us to catch a bus and pointed us towards a small, isolated bus shelter.

The view from near our bus shelter

We had no way of figuring out if or when a bus was coming. The schedule posted on the shelter wall was unintelligible, even with N's superior Korean skills. So we waited. And waited. By now, it was about 4 in the afternoon: 90 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. The sun beat down on our little shelter as we huddled in the shade, nursing our increasingly fierce sunburns and raw, sand-worn skin.

Then, our angel arrived. He took the form of a little old Korean man driving a black cab. He pulled over and asked where we were going. We said the name of our town. He told us to get in. "With bikes?" we said. "Yes. With bikes."

We were saved.  He dismembered our bikes and shoved them into his cab. He had to tie the trunk down with string because it wouldn't close. We piled in and headed home.

As we approached the hostel, N and I decided that despite all our troubles, we didn't want to admit defeat. We didn't want the hostel manager to know how sorely we'd been beaten.

So obviously, we couldn't pull up in front of the hostel in a cab. We had our cabbie/angel pull over about a block away. We got out, reassembled our bikes, and rode into the hostel courtyard in a blaze of pride and glory.

Then we both took 2-hour naps.

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