The agony and the ecstasy! Really, the best way I can describe hiking.
I can make such a statement having been an active member of a very active hiking club for three years (2002-2005), the years I spent visiting my parents in Korea. This club consistently met every week, early Saturday morning, at a designated spot, usually a train station so we could make our way to le mountain du jour. Whatever hangover you had from the night before was your business and you were welcome as long as your moans weren’t too loud.
My first hike was a rain-filled event where I was lucky not to have broken any important body parts as the trek involved very slippery rocks and trails. I met the hiking club’s founder and leader, Changdae Kim, along with his trusty first mate, Jungshik (who just got married!) and thus began my rude awakenings––I mean my learning on how to be a hiker in Korea.
You learned quickly how unpredictable and mysterious the elements that make up the weather are (unless, of course, you are an atmospheric scientist)––you could start out with sun in the morning and end up in a snow storm by early afternoon. Another thing you needed to learn fast was to not panic (no matter how much you wanted to!)
You had to be prepared for anything! Just like in life…
Yes, hiking Korea is not for the faint-hearted. It requires your iron will and all of your wits about you for how else are you going to make it to that table laden with pajun, soju and dong dong ju––the Holy Trinity of the after-hike? Well, you won’t if you don’t get a move on and finish the hike!
Hiking is a journey that will test your endurance and skill but not without its rewards, like the all-important hiker’s sense of accomplishment and some pretty lovely views. Say what? You don’t think you’re going to make it to Korea to see her breathtaking mountain scenery any time soon? Oh, that’s okay, then you can head out to Antigua where you get beaches and trails! (and no worries about snow in the afternoon!) Of course, the challenge is a little different here. Your dire situation will be where you’re going to get the best Planter’s Punch ever because the Admiral’s Inn bar has a new bartender who doesn’t know Zelma’s recipe. Zelma was the Admiral’s barkeep back in 2009 and when we went back in 2011, she was gone! And, really, all the punches we had at other spots around the island were never as good. But no worries, I’m going to take care of you because I got the recipe right here so you can just make it yourself:
Disclaimer: You will have to work out the proportions yourself as measurements were never revealed to us. But I have faith in you.
Zelma’s Planter’s Punch
The ingredients *
lime juice (freshly squeezed, please!)
creme de cacao
nutmeg, freshly grated
fruit garnish, cantalopue wedge
* ingredient amounts in descending order
1. Mix all your ingredients. Chill. You could also freeze a huge chunk of ice*, put it in your punch bowl and pour the punch over it.
2. Finish off each glass with a dash of myers rum (that’s what makes it planters according to Zelma) and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cantaloupe wedge.
*To freeze a huge hunk of ice: Pour water half way (or more depending on your punch bowl capacity) in a medium-sized stainless steel bowl and freeze.
Zelma, wherever you are, I hope you are climbing every mountain!