They went past the deserts, rivers, and meadows of the south.
In order to cross the border of Africa to other countries, you had to pay an entry fee to pa.s.s which was quite expensive. At the border of the desert there were two rivers flowing of which animals came by to drink water. There were all sorts of creatures from the animal kingdom such as antelopes, zebras, cheetahs, jackals, buffalos, monkeys, and deer. The sky was filled with flocks of various colored feathered birds. Jong Bom Ah said to Lee Hyun.
“This is pretty amazing. It’s like a small zoo.”
Animals in the dry wilderness!
Lee Hyun nodded.
“It’s just as you say.”
Sparrows sitting on a telephone pole could not even begin to compare to the animal spirit he felt from the animals such as the pink flamingo. The jeep was safe from animal attacks since it was made of reinforced steel, but they still had to be careful of the vehicle being turned upside down.
Lee Hyun drove down a rough road with Jong Bom Ah. They could not get tired of looking at the animals.. Most of the animals in Korea were trapped in cages, but here there were herbivores grazing everywhere. There were giraffes that were looking around with its long neck for nearby dangerous wild beasts. Hungry lions looking for prey were wandering about. Crocodiles were swimming in the river.
At night they would sleep inside the cars.
Kuuueng! Kuuueng! Kueng! Kueng! Kueng!
It was shaking because of the wild animals running about crying noisily. Nights in Africa were dangerous.
They went to deliver medicine to African villages in the Prairie. They went to larger cities to deliver the supplies to other places. Lee Hyun would probably be pleased with what he was doing but there was something that was on his mind. The land was very beautiful, as were the animals, but he noticed the true painful nature was how deeply rooted poverty was in the people. Africa was the world’s largest ghetto and no one knew how many children were starving in a place like this.
A pair of shoes bought in Korea would be enough to save the lives of 10 children in Africa.
‘I, however, did not suffer anything. I have to reflect on this. From now on I need to put more effort and work even harder.’
Rather than complaining about his past, his real motivation was for the future.
Life, nature, fate, and dreams.
From seeing life in Africa, he took time to give it some thought.
The world was not fair.
While some people were laughing while watching TV, there were numerous people out there sick, hungry, and dying. Elementary school, middle school, high school, college.
They did not receive an education and could not dream of doing anything as adults.
At first he did not want to go anywhere, but now he did not regret going.
It had been four days since they had been in Africa.
At the end of the day, they would finally reach the city of their destination.
Lee Hyun took off his face mask that was covered in sand. There was dust in his hair and all over his entire body.
“Sahyung, where is this?”
“This is the heart of Africa.”
In the heart of Africa there were many large buildings and shops. There were many tourists so there was a stable economy and the city dealt in multinational trade.
“We’re done delivering all the medicine so the rest of the day is free time.”
“I’m going to take a bath.”
Lee Hyun and Jong Bom Ah went to a hotel to clean themselves with a bath.
Then they toured the African city.
There were black people entering and hanging around the alley of the slums.
Travelers from all over the world could be seen here in Africa.
The city had very good security but people were careful not to come too close to Lee Hyun and Jong Bom Ah. From the way they looked and dressed, they looked like a group of desert bandits.
The next day they took a plane.
They went north of Africa into Europe. So they had to cross the ocean.
“Where are we going now?”
Lee Hyun asked Jong Bom Ah who was carrying a parachute backpack.
“We’re going here.”
“Every real man should try skydiving once right?”
Lee Hyun looked out the window of the plane.
The houses in Europe looked like small dots and the road was drawn as if it were a blur.
“I’ve never skydived before.”
“You’ll get the hang of it.”
They recieved a small briefing from a French instructor on how to jump.
Fortunately the man had also learned the sword from the dojo so he was able to explain it quickly in Korean.
The hangar door of the airplane opened, causing their whole bodies to shake from the wind blowing on them.
Jong Bom Ah yelled.
“I’ll be going first!”
Jong Bom Ah jumped out of the hangar door fabulously and began falling towards the ground. Running as hard as he could, Lee Hyun jumped out of the airplane’s hangar.
At that moment.
He was in the middle of the blue sky.
He could feel the wind flowing past his body as he descended to the ground.
It was like when he descended from the City of the Sky, Lavias!
With his entire body in free fall, he felt like he had the freedom to go anywhere.
A five star hotel in Paris, France.
Lee Hyun and Jong Bom Ah were staying in a penthouse. After they checked in with the bellhop, the hotel staff gave them strange looks. They were being misunderstood since there were a lot gay people in Korea in comparison to Europe.
The hotel they had in France was equipped with a wine room.
Jong Bom Ah threw his backpack aside and took out a hand-knife and stabbed it into the high quality wine. He was not interested in using a corkscrew. Then he poured the cool wine into a cup and drank it.
“Ah, so refres.h.i.+ng! Is there any whiskey or soju here?”
As a typical Korean man, he enjoyed drinking his soju.
“There’s nothing like drinking soju!”
“Yea. It’s good to be honest! Aren’t there some middle school and high school students that drink wine? Soju is the best.”
They could not understand the taste and smell of wine.
It was just bitter!
For Jong Bom Ah, he could not enjoy drinking wine since it was distasteful.
“I don’t understand why its so expensive. Its the worst kind of drink.”
They had insulted all the wine lovers of the world!
Soju on the other hand was good with food like pork and together with friends, as well as creating a more sociable atmosphere.
“A bottle of soju is good in any country.”
Lee Hyun and Jong Bom Ah went to the terrace that was overlooking the Eiffel Tower as they briefly drank two cups of alcohol. Both of the men enjoyed their alcohol even more because it wasn’t costing them anything. Outside of the window was the Seine River and the historical buildings of Paris.
In Europe there was a saying that Paris had the most beautiful streets. In the hotel lobby there were statues and bright, colorful paintings in every corridor. Even the alcohol from the ice chest had a exotic feeling to it. Jong Bom Ah spun the bottle of liquor around as he said.
“Instead of feeling cooped up and watching TV, why do we take a night trip and walk around France.”
“Get a parachute.”
The was a movie that was playing on the TV that was popular in Europe and the United States. The five star hotel also had Chinese and j.a.panese broadcasting, but the variety of entertainment did not have the many professional Korean broadcasts. Lee Hyun took his camcorder along with his parachute. Everything will be recorded by the camcorder!
Jong Bom Ah did a nasty laugh in from of the camera as he walked over to the terrace.
“You were promised that you would get to stay at a five star hotel. Come on, let’s go.”
They did not need elevators. Jong Bom Ah dramatically jumped over the terrace. It looked as if he wanted to commit suicide. The only other thing was the night sky of Paris.
“So these kind of experiences are a part of traveling.”
Lee Hyun quickly followed him. He climbed over the railing and jumped to the ground. He expanded the parachute immediately and he descended slowing to the ground in the night sky of Paris. The hotel they were staying in was very tall so he could view a little bit of Paris’s scenery. However, he was gradually getting closer to the ground! Because Jong Bom Ah was more experience with using a parachute, he had arrived at the ground first. People were looking at them since they had suddenly fell out of the air. Then a French beauty approached them. She asked in her native language.
“Tu es d’ou (Where are you from)?”
Jong Bom Ah did not know French. Of course he didn’t know English either.
He made a glance towards Lee Hyun, who was the same.
They were now stuck with a frozen expression.
In order to enter a university, GED required to have basic proficiency in English.
They were Korean and didn’t learn any foreign languages so they could not understand the French woman. Lee Hyun decided to ignore her.
“Sahyung, let’s go eat hot dogs.”
He came to help Jong Bom Ah out of the situation.
“Sure. How about over there?”
They ignored the French beauty and instead went to a hot dog stand.
Clap clap clap!
Nearby pa.s.serby began to clap at them.
They wanted to congratulate them for having parachuted down.
They went around like ordinary tourists for the rest of the day.
They went the the Palace of Versailles, Luxembourg Gardens, Place de la Concorde, and the Bastille Opera House. Using the attractions as backgrounds, Jong Bom Ah struck a pose and revealed the muscles on his forearm.
“Ready. One, two three!”
“Now you go and do it.”
“Okay. Now let’s go.”
A typical photo shoot trip!
They would ask some French people or other travelers to take one of two pictures with them. They would then be busy eating hot dogs in the elegant streets of Paris.
“The hot dogs are good in Paris.”
“It’s very delicious. How about we eat some pork chops in the evening?”
“Yea, pork chops sound good too.”
After a hearty meal in the evening, they went to Germany. The dojo had went ahead and rented them motorcycles.
“Let’s see the capabilities of the German produced Autobahn motorcycles.”
“There’s a highway rest area around here right? Eating noodles and baked potatoes sound good.”
Then they went to the Netherlands to ride high speed motor boats and then they went diving into the sea. They explored the ocean floor and saw some fish. Then the went across the United Kingdoms to watch soccer games. There were many Koreans travelers and students that they heard from time to time. On the Croyde Beach in the United Kingdom as strong wind blew from the storm.
“This is good weather.”
“This weather is a good thing?”
There were dark clouds in the sky and it looked like it could rain any minute. It was the kind of weather where you would not be surprise if lightning struck suddenly.
“According to the Master, I need to take you surfing.”
Lee Hyun and Jong Bom Ah changed into swimming clothing. On the beach there were a lot of people watching the waves. Every time the storm hit, the waves would suddenly increase in size. The storm that was blowing was apparently a strong one that came once every ten years. Large and high waves were going to the the beach accordingly.
“Have you never surfed before?”
“It should be comfortable even if its your first time. Think of it like taking a dip and you should be able to do it like other people.”
There were few people trying to ride the waves. Jong Bom Ah and Lee Hyun tried to memorize their behavior and actions into their mind as they walked carefully. Walking down the beach were two Asians holding a surfboard. Usually one would wear a surfing suit to reduce the amount of water resistance. However they left their upper body completely exposed. The only thing they needed was their muscular upper body that they had developed earnestly. It was quite eye catching for the British people to see an Asian like Jong Bom Ah.
Jong Bom Ah spread out his surfboad onto the sea and tried to surf. However the waves that kept hitting made him unable to. The sight of Lee Hyun following in gave the crowd greater courage. Swimming was one of the Republic of Korea’s favorite past times. Everyone knew how to do some basic form of swimming! He spread out his board and began to move his body, arms, and legs furiously.
“To think I would be doing this in the United Kingdoms!”
Severe wind and light rainfall began to create waves against his body. Waves that were a few meters high would catch him and his board every time causing him to be submerged into the salty sea. In fact, it was hard to move from the water pressure of the ocean waves. As soon as he got a hold of the board, another wave would strike him.
This repeated twelve times as the meter high waves kept at him brutally.
Lee Hyun was upset.
“It’s like the time I had a bath in the neighborhood reservoir on that stormy night!”
As a kid there was not many games that he could play without spending money. As a child, he would spend his time trying to catch frogs and crayfish from a ditch and as he got older he would find try to find better things to eat.
The nearby reservoir!
It was a notorious place because roughly 3 to 5 people drowned there a year. In the pouring rain that day, Lee Hyun went and tried to fish with his bare hands in the reservoir so there was no way he would give in to the UK’s sea.
“In the Republic of Korea more than 100 thousand people are swimming all over the country! British waters are not big deal.”
He went forth to challenge it once more!
Lee Hyun tried again and again.
The waves kept getting bigger but it never returned him back to sh.o.r.e.
“How dare the waves do this…I am Jong Bom Ah!”
Jong Bom Ah’s eyes burned with his willpower as he stumbled.
At first he was trying to enjoy the waves but now it was a challenge. His upper body muscles were wet from the water and greasy from sweat. He used his power to grab the surfboard and jumped. He repeated his to try and get into the waves. Through his failures, Lee Hyun realized the concept of it.
‘So it has to do with being balanced despite the confusion.’
The big waves would push against the board and disrupt the balance even if you were successful. You had to try and reverse the flow to stay on.
‘So instead of trying to push to waves…it might be better to ride it?’
So he had to get it floating without upsetting the flow of the waves.
‘I can do it. Think of it as if I were riding the Wyverns…’
Lee Hyun’s survival senses.
Compared to the fast speed of the Wyverns in the valley, the waves were more normal. You need to get the hang of nature in order to succeed. He had to adapt. He remembered his flight on the back of the Wyverns. Fighting on top of the Wyvern’s backs. Lee Hyun began to climb on top of the waves with his surfboard and tried to get balanced. Then he stood on top of the wall like waves with his board.
Lee Hyun laughed out loud.
Then he finally came to a stop.
“I am one who has conquered the storm!”
Lee Hyun began to yell out loudly and repeatedly. He was completely immersed in it. Jong Bom Ah was gifted with athleticism and well trained so he was already riding a wave. These guy were riding the waves in the storms of the UK! There was a British woman on the beach holding his camcorder and recording the scene. Before Lee Hyun was riding the waves he had given her to record it. After some time at night, they had a beach party with beer in a shop.
“European hot dogs are good.”
“Sausage is delicious too.”
Lee Hyun and Jong Bom Ah began to drink beer heartily and went to sleep.
“Time to go to another part of Europe to go skiing.”
The two of them rode to the Alps in order to go skiing.
There was a ski resort that was officially opened but no one had gone because it was a reckless challenge! That was because the people that went could not find their way back to the hostel. Then they visited the Red Square.
“So this is the Red Square.”
“All sorts of people have been here.”
They had a brief moment of appreciation for the historical sites. Then they took a transcontinental train to Moscow and then China. Then after a short visit in China, then planned to return to Korea by plane.
“I bought some eggs…where’s the kimbap?”
Boiled eggs were an indispensable necessity for train travel. They went into an open place to sleep. They looked on past the frozen tundra and the surrounding area. Lee Hyun looked out the window and was at a loss for words.
He had met all sorts of people from Africa to Central Asia. The hot sun, the sand, the wind, and the waters of the East. European culture and the historical buildings were great. The sculptures and paintings gave out lifelike feelings. To think he only lived in a small town and that such a big world existed was a huge shock to Lee Hyun.
‘This s.p.a.cious land.’
The Republic of Korea could not compare to a country like Russia. The real estate prices near cities shot up from the economic boom.
‘To think that there would be a place like this on earth…!’