Day 3: A Day of Rest at Yangdong Folk Village

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011-12-06

Today was a day of rest. The toe nails of my big toes had turned blue, probably because my shoes were too loose and my feet were sliding into the front of the shoes. But my left knee, which had been banged in a fall, gave me no pain when I walked to a little convenience store/restaurant at the entrance to Yangdong Village.

A gentle rain was falling as I sat on the red plastic chairs outside the store and ate instant shrimp noodles, a red bean bun and a bottle of soy milk for breakfast. The tour guide, BYC, who had been such a help to me the day before, explained to me how to catch a bus to the city of Angang, where I planned to buy bandages for my big toes and go to a public bath (Jimjilbang).

BYC explained to me how to catch a bus to Angang, and on my notepad I had instructions written in Hangul, Korean characters) on the places I wanted to visit – the pharmacy and the baths.

But I couldn’t find a pharmacy. One person gave me instructions, but they led me nowhere. When I next asked for directions, one man took me personally to the pharmacy. In the pharmacy I asked where the jimjilbang was and without hesitation, the middle aged woman pharmacist asked me outside to her car and drove me there.

Jjimjilbangs are unique Korean institutions. Sex-segregated public baths, they are cheap and offer several large pools of water of varying temperatures, a sauna and a cold pool as well as massages. I sat in the hot pools of water and felt the aches and pains melt away.

The Buddha taught that the body is important and on this pilgrimage I am getting to know my body. The Buddha said “In this one-fathom long body with its perceptions and thoughts, is the world, the origin of the world, the end of the world and the path leading to the end of the world.”

He rejected extreme asceticism after almost killing himself from starvation and chose instead the Middle path in which he responded to his body’s needs without indulging it.

After the Jjimjilbang I walked to a bus stop and asked a lady waiting there whether a bus stopped there for Yangdong Village. She spoke no English but understood Yangdong and flagged down a bus for me. I spent the afternoon writing the blog and when Christopher and David returned, quite late, we went to one of the restaurants in the village and, after guidance from BYC, ate some delicious noodle soup, with onions, potatoes and seaweed before going to bed.

3 Responses to “Day 3: A Day of Rest at Yangdong Folk Village”
  1. drwillajahn says:

    Take care of your feet, Tony! Fascinating trip.

  2. roger says:

    Tony, your shoes may actually be too small by a fraction and there is not enough free movement inside your boot which is quite essential for swelling etc. If your toes are touching the end of your boots even when moving around, then this is a sign that they could be too small by half a size. Make sure you’re tieing up all the eyelets on your boots so your ankles are secure and your foot not sliding so much. I figure your boots are new, so will need some breaking in….otherwise change to trainers. Your feet are the most important physical part of your journey and if not in good shape will do you some serious damage to your spirit. I don’t know if your the type who’s in to pain.
    To protect any blisters, apply some Betadine and wrap them tidily without creases with adhesive strapping tape so as to generate a second skin (use scissors to cut the strips), as blisters are all about hotspots and friction – and you also can’t cram your feet and boots with thick dressings and cotton wool – so strapping is “much” better.
    Call me anytime.
    010 29667612

    • steppeandsky says:

      Hey, that’s great advice and information Roger. Thanks so much. I did start tying my laces tighter and I bandaged my big toes. That seems to have done the trick. My toes were not painful yesterday and today. No, I’m not into pain as a means of spiritual enlightenment. It may work as when monks endure painful sitting for many hours and I may try it some time, but right now I’m mostly concerned about getting through the hike – and that mneans healthy feet, as you point out. So far I have had no problems with blisters. Nice to hear from an expert Roger. Thanks. Tony

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