Seoraksan, Korea: Frozen Tears, Crystal Snot

THERE IS A MOMENT on Seorak Mountain, over two hours in and 1,000 meters above sea level, that is dauntingly unfair to novice hikers. You have to squint real hard and crane your neck so far back that your head hits your backpack just to glimpse the three-kilometer signpost, tauntingly perched atop this sleet-covered, 70-degree-steep, God-knows-how-tall hill. It is a profoundly ridiculous slope. We witnessed a … Continue reading Seoraksan, Korea: Frozen Tears, Crystal Snot

Qingdao, China: Sleeping Everywhere But in a Motel

WE HADN’T SLEPT longer than an hour when the disinterested, pale-shirted, tired-eyed Chinese airport security guard padded over and shook us awake. I knew immediately that our plan had failed. When you travel like this, very rarely do things go as expected. Flustered by interrupted sleep at 1:30 a.m. and a lack of ability in any Chinese language, we tried to explain, to plead that … Continue reading Qingdao, China: Sleeping Everywhere But in a Motel

Chenjiapu Valley, China: A Refreshing Take on the Great Wall

ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS, Chen Yang’s farm is situated in the middle of a patch of complete, unblemished grayness. There is no Street View. Driving directions on his website are an exhausting 368 words long: Jingzang Expressway to Badaling, a tunnel to exit 62, keep right after a U-turn 200 meters after a toll booth at a fork in the road. It’s safe to say … Continue reading Chenjiapu Valley, China: A Refreshing Take on the Great Wall

Busan, South Korea: Texas Street is an Angry, Lonely Place

Let me be clear: the lads only went to see boobs. This is why, after two-and-a-half hours of drinking through one of South Korea’s most notorious and least desirable red light districts—and having eyeballed disappointingly zero nipples—it seemed a good idea to ask the six-foot-two, black-leather-jacketed Russian man stumbling down the street at 2:30 in the morning: “Do you know where a strip bar is?” … Continue reading Busan, South Korea: Texas Street is an Angry, Lonely Place