Every useable piece of flat land is either heavily farmed or turned into an apartment building in Korea. Finding good spots to camp is akin to searching for gold on the beach (you’ve seen them, with their metal detectors, spending most of their day painfully digging up drinks cans). So, this is how we found ourselves driving at 11pm, out of a good sized city in search of a rare grassy spot, hoping to pitch our tent for the night. The lack of grass wasn’t our only problem, being the experienced campers we are, we of course forgot batteries for our headlights. This left us without the option of going too far from the houses and keeping a low profile. After some serious deliberation and pacing of our shortlisted areas we decided on a narrow strip of
grass rocks by the side of the road. Less low profile, more glaringly obvious. An outstretched banner and the nearby pagoda gave just enough cover to shield us from passing headlights and any passing objectors, at least until daylight. The tents went up and we crawled in to get some shut eye. I remember hearing running water and thinking that our choice can’t be too bad if there’s a stream. There’s nothing like being outdoors.
It turned out that the ‘stream’ I had envisaged was nothing more than a drainage pipe for irrigation of the fields. By morning the field next to the tent had also gained working farm machinery, and a band of farm workers who looked bemused to say the least when we poked our heads through the tent fly. However the best reaction to our unexpected presence came from a suited, older resident of the village we had called home for the night, who gingerly circled us on his way to the bus stop on the opposite side of the road. His big, beaming smile didn’t leave his friendly, albeit inquisitive, face for the full twenty minutes he watched us pack up our gear and drive away. Someone was clearly a morning person.