6 May 2003 - Seoul Express Bus Station
Korea's Golden Oldies

Korea must have the most active senior citizens I have ever seen. You find them all over the place, playing badminton or tennis, or just walking around. Admittedly, they're not sprinting and performing jumping smashes, but they move around quite a bit.

Take, for example, my hike up to the Seoul Tower in Namsan Park. It's about 240m above sea level, and a very good climb, if a bit streneous in places. The Lonely Planet describes it as "exhilarating", which I suppose is shorthand for "can only be climbed at a fair rate without resting by the very fit".

I made the mistake of not bringing my ventolin with me, so when I was half-way up and wheezing slightly, I had to slow down a little or otherwise risk an asthma attack. It's okay, as long as I don't over-exert, and I know my limits, but the ventolin does wonders when it's needed.

Anyway, I wasn't the only one who thought that it was a nice day for a climb. Quite a few over-60's were doing the same thing with me. Of course, being young and fit, I quickly overtook them, clipping along at a rate of about a hundred steps per minute. But then, I started breathing very heavily and really, really, really had to rest along the way. Let me say this: Each time I rested, these golden oldies, with silver hair and a slight step, plodding along at their own pace, overtook me. I'm sure they didn't take any rests on the way to the top.

I beat them to the tower, of course, but only because I'm too proud to do otherwise.


posted on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - permalink
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