I survived my boss's speed-demon driving to make it back safely to Daecheong Tower, my personal fortress. The drive up from Busan involved several rest stops, at none of which I successfully pooped—but not for lack of trying. Birth is a beautiful thing; you must simply let it happen, not force your beautiful children into the world.
I have some photos from this morning, when I was saying goodbye to my final motel. I'll post those soon, along with my last-day assessment and a few epiloguish thoughts, some of which will be big-picture in nature, others of which will be more technical and practical for anyone thinking about doing a similar hike.
I have some news, too. My backpack's final weight, when I weighed it just now without any water in the water tank, is exactly 15 kilograms (33.1 lbs.). And I'm sure you're dying to know my current weight, so I weighed myself, too. As I suspected, there was no dietary miracle, but I did lose some inches off my waist and some pounds off my body. After starting the walk at 126 kg, I am now down to 116 kg, which puts me 1 kg below my lowest weight while I was teaching at Dongguk University's Seoul campus and hiking up Namsan almost every night. So now I know: to lose 22 pounds, just walk 340 miles in 26 days.
As Neo warned the machine intelligence behind the Matrix, where we go from here is a choice left up to me. I can fuck this all up by rapidly regaining the weight I've lost through miles and miles of hard work (more as a byproduct of hiking than as a goal of hiking), or I can do something to keep the weight off and continue to lose more. In future posts, I'll be talking about what path I'll choose.
For now, I'm happy to be back in my apartment. I had completely forgotten that I'd left two Bundaberg ginger beers in my fridge; I've already sucked one down, which isn't going to help my blood-sugar numbers when I visit my doc tomorrow. But the doc ought to be pleased about the weight loss and, I hope, the concomitant reduction in blood pressure.
The kind old lobby guard to whom I had given W300,000 to pay my bills in my absence was there to greet me when my boss dropped me off at my place. He clasped my hand in both of his hands and asked me how everything had gone. He noted my weight loss and reassured me that my "rent" had been taken care of, and that I needed to visit the building's admin office to pick up my receipt and my change. After dropping off my backpack in my place, I went to the second-floor admin office and got my white envelope back with about W120,000 in it; my "rent" that month had totaled about W180,000, which is dirt cheap: I wasn't around to consume any electricity. I still need to pay my gas bill myself, and the gas company left a message about needing to visit my place for an inspection; I called the company and we came to no definite arrangement, but we'll work something out, I'm sure.
Before I left the front desk, the lobby guard also told me a package had arrived: when he handed me the box, I saw it had the word "COOKIES" stenciled on the side. What better way to end the day, right? I won't eat those until after I've seen the doctor.
1. Confirm when the gas company will come for an inspection.
2. Pay my gas bill.
3. Quickly run to the office to grab some meds that I had left there.
4. Go to Euljiro 4-ga, find the belt-hole-punching ajeossi, and have him punch extra holes in both of my leather belts. I'm curious as to how many extra holes I'll need.
5. Find a service center for my phone and get the broken glass replaced.
6. Go watch "Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2."
As returns to civilization go, that agenda doesn't sound so bad.