There is a mountain outside my front door.
It’s not strictly my front door. I’m staying on a hotel. And yet the mountain is there, all indifferent to the distinction.
The mountain is Mt. Namsan, South Mountain. Namsan Park encompasses the mountain.
Namsan modest in demeanor and elevation (262 meters or 860 feet). Historical signs sprout along the manicured paths and steps. It’s delightful, and yet the mountain is there.
I tried walking up it three different times. I’ve made it to the top exactly zero times. All three of my walks end-to-end might summit me. And yet the mountain is there.
Groups of puffer coated elderly women chatter up the mountain. Besuited business people traipse up it. School children play running in circle games summit. And yet the mountain is there.
That wheezing puddle of sweat on the side in the shade? That, Dear Friends, is me. I am there on the mountain. Namsan is there, too, under me being indifferent.
Opposite of Namsan is Seoul Station. I visited it several times on my last trip including a sojourn on the departure steps waiting for my train to rapid me away to Busan. There is a big COVID testing tent there.
There are homeless at Seoul Station. There are homeless along the walking way to Seoul Station. Much like in Japan, they are visible but not soliciting. Today I saw some of them at the station in worship in the lovely fall sun singing hymns.
Above them is the walkway I took from the hotel to the station. Large circular planters house plants of all kinds. There are at least 3 pianos along the path. Sentries patrol the walk. In the before times there were cute coffee shops and trinket purveyors.
My work week was typical pandemic – I worked from my hotel because I needed a 3rd negative test to go to the customer site. Many WebEx and Teams calls were executed.
Less than 4 weeks to my return home.