The camping season is upon us, and this weekend I had my first experience of Korean camping. Camping and I have never been close companions, I’ll put up with it at a festival where your days are filled with prodigious musicians and your nights are a blurry, intoxicated wreck. It wouldn’t be a festival if you weren’t perfumed like a homeless person, wearily grasping a 2 litre bottle of Frosty Jacks. However, when it comes to the camping that we partake in so that we can be at one with nature, I am completely flummoxed. I’m a city girl, and whilst I’ve always enjoyed a ramble into the country, the most pleasurable part is leaving it all behind to return to urban life.
However, camping is something that foreigners in Korea are infatuated with. Another example is hiking, an activity that results in me grimly gritting my teeth whilst enduring the peaks and troughs, whereas those around me smirk with indisputable gratification. Like a good friend, I duly packed up my camping equipment and enough wine to render me unconscious.
Even though the sun was shining and the temperature was in the 20’s, Saturday evening was chilled by a Baltic Sea breeze. Being unaccustomed to camping, I hadn’t packed anything to keep me warm enough through the night. Luckily, the more practised campers fetched wood and lit a roaring fire on the beach. The best thing about camping with people who love the outdoors is that you don’t have to do anything; they want to tend to the fire, they want to collect the wood, they want to erect the tent.
Sleeping on the corrugated ridges of the sand wasn’t exactly comfortable, even in my inebriated state. What began as a biting cold night rapidly transformed into a sweltering, humid morning as soon as the sun rose. Luckily, our seaside location meant that lying semi-comatose in a bikini whilst the day rapidly grew hotter was completely acceptable. However, the glaring sun and sleep depravation made enjoying Sunday almost impossible. I had to leave the beach early in order to clean myself and nap in a proper bed, and a bed has never felt so good.