Last Saturday was KMPL‘s regular monthly mountain clean-up operation in Bukhansan (북한산) National Park. We started off on one of the relatively newly-opened trails in the west of the park, joining the usual throngs of hikers enjoying the warm weather. We weren’t expecting to find a lot of litter, and so were dismayed when we reached our carrying capacity of around 80 litres (mostly broken glass bottles) less than a kilometre along our route. We did, however, get the chance to enjoy the serene surroundings of the riverside trail and encountered plenty of wildlife (a black squirrel, and many frogs and butterflies).
On our way back to the main road, we came across a very malnourished and dehydrated white cat. We’d passed it on the way up, but had assumed it was almost dead – now, it was making some noise and paying more attention to its surroundings. I scooped it up, and one of the Korean volunteers got on the phone to find the nearest animal hospital. We had expected to take a taxi, but the hospital said that they would send a vehicle to pick us up. We waited for about ten minutes, the cat wheezing and struggling occasionally, and watched in disbelief as a fire engine pulled up. Apparently the Korean emergency services also deal with animal rescues, and so we clambered in and held on as the driver pulled a quick u-turn with the siren going. We drove to the hospital at a fairly sedate pace, explained as much as we knew to the vet, thanked the firemen profusely and then headed back into the city, hoping for good news. Sadly, the cat’s condition was very poor and it died a few days later.
A quick shower and long subway ride later, we met some friends from Yongin for a baseball game way down in Jamsil (잠실). The Doosan Bears were playing the Samsung Lions, and we sat up in the high seats right behind the shortstop for hours while balls where whacked seemingly everywhere except in play. The Bears got the upper hand in the sixth or seventh inning; the Lions’ imminent defeat written in the suddenly empty seats of their supporters’ section.