Monday, October 30, 2006

A Story of Three Friends

North Korea is threatening to bomb the world with nukes. Bush is doing what he can to annihilate the idea of democracy. Stephen Harper is eating a hot dog. I am keeping aloof from the goings-on of the world, and exploring the little island which God has in His grace planted me. This weekend Johnny T and Aussie Jon came and visited me. I picked them up at about 3am on Saturday from the bus station. After arriving at my place, we all decided there was only one thing to do - skate. It's great to have friends that are on the same page as you. Every time we get together we skate. That's what we do. We don't necessarily talk a whole lot with each other, but we don't need to. Sometimes with friends there is an unspoken understanding that you are friends because you have a common enjoyment of life. These friendships are the ones that I value the most. I guess the reason I value these friendships is because of the relationship I have with my dad. We don't necessarily talk a lot, but we understand each other when we're with each other, and enjoy the moments we spend together - unspoken or otherwise.

Whenever friends come to visit me on my quaint little island, Saturday always seems to bring unspeakable feelings of comradery, and a reverential awe of what God has given us to enjoy. It also always seems to tire me out beyond recuperation. This Saturday was no different. We began the day at about 9am, despite the late night. We stirred ourselves from sleep, talked about the day ahead, and I made us a pasta/cheese dish for brunch. Then the day really began. I decided to show them something different.

We headed out towards an abandoned amusement park that I found earlier this week. On Thursday, after driving my girlfriend to the ferry terminal, I looked up and saw a rollercoaster on top of a hill. How I had never seen this before escapes my rumination. The boys were more than happy to check the place out. Apparently the place had closed down due to the death of a child several years earlier. The grounds had been deserted for many years.

We began our inspection of the place by simply observing the wonders that surrounded us. In Johnny T's words, "this would be a great place to shoot a horror film." The ghosts of past patrons filled the desolate parkways; the bygone laughter of children echoed off the shattered windows of empty gamehouses. The place demanded a reverential pursuit of fun. Johnny T and I decided this would be a great place for the intro to our second documentary; john and jeff's excellent adventure in korea, pt 2. We climbed onto the long since ridden tracks of a roller coaster, and walked along its tracks to the loading house.
Walking along the tracks would have been sketchy if the metal was new, but years without maintenance made this walk dangerous. The track consisted of two main cylinders of steel, with metal grates in between. The track was supported by steel cross-sections that ran perpendicular to the track. We tried to walk on the cross-sections instead of the weak, bending, rusted and sometimes hole-filled metal grate. After walking around a curve we made it to the loading station. This station provided a great view of the city below. One of the coasters was situated at the bottom of the first hill. We decided to walk the tracks to the coaster and take some pics.

The entry was blocked by tree branches growing over the tracks. This little trek of ours was a little frightening. I plugged on through the bushes, receiving several cuts from the thorny branches, and inched my way up to the coaster. In order to get into the coaster, I had to step off the track onto a little side platform at the bottom of the big hill. This platform had no real supports under it - they were under the four corners -and consisted of the same weak metal grating that was in the center of the tracks. The railing was rusted and flimsy.

After this we walked around the grounds for a while, absorbing the curious images we were seeing before us - bumper cars strewn around everywhere, air hockey tables in the middle of a walkway, giant shoes sitting on the brick path. We made our way up to the old viking ship and hopped in. The thing started to move, and we thought maybe we'd be able to push ourselves into a ride. Then we noticed the chains. One of the chains was well-rusted, and could probably be smashed open with a rock, but the other was fairly new. Disappointed at this failed prospect, we skated the platform like a mini-ramp. The view was pretty spectacular, as it was from nearly every area of the once-bustling park.

Walking back down the hill, the idea to construct a kicker and gap over the railing into the bumper car ring forced its way into our minds. We began searching for materials to bring this plan to fruition. I found a piece of plywood which was both strong and thin enough to make for a good ramp. Now we needed supports for underneath it. I found a plastic seat which Aussie Jon and I brought over and laid sideways, propping the plywood up on it. Unfortunately, although it was the right height, there was too much empty space left at the start of the ramp. We needed something else.

"What about this piece of metal?" I heard Johnny T call out.

"What piece of metal?" I answered.

He crawled out of some bushes with a solid white metal frame, with metal bars running down through the metal. Pure genius! He laid the metal on the plastic seat and placed the plywood on top of the metal. Now we only needed to test this work of art, and there was only one way to do that - go full steam at it. I went to the hill which would be our starting point and started rolling down towards a possible injury. The thing that worried me was the thickness of the plywood. I was afraid that upon rolling up to the ramp, the wheels would catch on the edge of the plywood and I would be propelled forward into the railing.

It turned out that the setup was perfect and I was propelled into the air naturally by the ramp. What a great feeling! I love skateboarding, and it's always most satisfying for me when I skate something that my friends and I have set up ourselves, or when I skate something that's never been skated before. We skated the ramp for about 45 minutes.

After skating the ramp we continued to explore the park, which was deceptively large. We walked down a pathway to another rollercoaster and some traditional spinny rides. The view from here was spectacular. We skated a concrete pad with glass everywhere, and then chilled on the scattercars.

We goofed around a little taking pictures and trying to skate the cars. There was really nothing more to do other than handplants and dropping in off them.

After saying goodbye to the mesmerising amusement park, we drove away, heading south to the infamous cliffs. It was a great drive, and it was really great to be able to enjoy it with friends. We listened to various music and stopped at different places to take pictures. The first thing we did was to stop at an ostrich farm and look at some ostriches. These birds are surprisingly gigantic, and a little unnerving. They seem like creatures that possess great strength, and could certainly make short work of a human. We watched them from behind the fence.

Following this strange circus, we continued non-stop to the cliffs. The cliffs were just as beautiful as I remembered them. Unfortunately, as soon as we got to them, three giant jellyfish were visible right around our swimming area. As we got nearer to the place, we saw how huge these jellyfish actually were. The largest one had to have been at least three feet in diameter. It was simply huge. We decided that it would be okay to swim since we could see the jellyfish from above - but someone needed to stay on jellyfish duty while the others were jumping.

We climbed over to the spot where we could jump from, and I went to the water to check the temperature. It was a little cold, but not cold enough to keep us from enjoying the water. I approached the first platform, but the only thing I could think about was those jellyfish. They were haunting me, and the fear of them paralyzed me from jumping. I called for a rock-paper-scissors decision to see who should jump first. Aussie Jon lost and had to go. HA HA HA.... I was safe. It seems like everywhere I go, I'm usually the one doing the testing of things to make sure they're safe. I got lucky this time, and could rest assured knowing that both John's had to go before me.

The cliff jumping was good that day. The water was calm, and the sun was beating down just hot enough. We sat on the rocks and enjoyed the scenery for about an hour. We talked, I took a nap, and the boys took some great pictures. I really love this place. There was a Korean couple fishing on a nearby cliff, and they were watching us while we were jumping into the water. A few boats came by as well, checking their crab cages and greeting us with rapid waving gestures.

After the cliffs, we went to Haegeumgang, which is a section of beautiful rock formations and rich, deep blue-green water. We saw a few giant jellyfish in the water, and then saw what we thought was a sting ray. Excitedly, we sought a place to get close to the water to verify whether or not it really was a stingray. We found a place that we could climb down. It was a gap between two cliff faces. When we got to the spot where we thought we saw the sting ray, there was nothing. There was nothing that accounted for the mysterious shadows we saw in the water.

When we were leaving, there was a flock of goats on the cliff face directly above us. I began bleating back at them, trying to effectively communicate that we wanted to see a goat brawl on the cliffs. They seemed to understand me, and some of them started fighting each other. Rocks were flying off the cliffs, and goats were either asserting their supremacy or running away from their superiors. After standing there about twenty minutes, Aussie Jon summed up the situation pretty nicely. "We're watching goats," he said. We all just laughed and then started walking away, arguing over the true usefulness of goats.

This marked the end of the day for us, and we began our drive back home, enjoying the sunshine, scenery, and music. One day can be enough to make a man peaceful for a month. One hour can change a seemingly hectic life into one of tranquility. I'm sure that while I was enjoying the beautiful terrain, all throughout the world many people had many problems, and many leaders made many selfish, broad-sweeping decisions which would affect the direction of the modern world. They had their problems, I had my God and my life. I enjoyed them both.

1 comment:

billy gomez said...

great story and photos Jeff, so well documented... I really enjoyed reading it. the video was really cool too... looks like you guys had a blast...