Thursday, May 21, 2009
Singing and Dancing out the Stress
In Korea, taking group trips are a year round cause for joy- although perhaps spring and fall are the most popular times. The cost to rent buses is a little steep, but divided among those in the group it is reasonable once or twice a year.
We just made such a trip, 2 nights 3 days to North East Korea- gorgeous blossoms, foliage and local delicacies. To prepare, all we had to do is pack lots of stuff to eat and drink- and we were off- Oh, some said you have to be careful of too much watermelon- it can make you sick!
Korean people at home and at jobs generally can't avoid stress build-up, so they look forward to “getting away” from it all on a nice trip.
But, you know, on our own trip, we found ourselves caught up again in a semi-rigid routine. Almost from the moment we departed, the leader had the bus driver put on the Boom-Boom Rock music and all were called to take their turn in the bus aisle and Cha –Cha. Not to get up was to be party pooper. Then came the singing. We all have to sing a song- which is o.k. until some one grabs and holds the mike and won’t let go- until they are exhausted. All the while the soju (rice wine) flows, enlivening the hearts and voices; a few get really soused for a few hours- sometimes sleeping, sometimes getting loud and raucous, and sometimes a little nasty.
There is a pleasant break when all go off to climb, view the scenery close up, or buy souvenirs. But then back to the bus, for more wild singing and dancing in the aisle.
All of this is a good thing because it allows for safe diffusion of potentially volcanic stress (which most people have). Yes, the noise often reaches a sustained high-pitch level for hours-for 2 or 3 days and nights- as all the frustrations seem to belch forth- but again I think it is good therapy- it may even save a few from serious future problems.
Usually, the conclusion to our travel is: “Thank you everyone, it was great! Now we can go back to work!”