Naked prayer time: Korea 15

Since Saturday I've debating the wisdom of sharing this particular gem of a story with the world. On one hand, it's such a bizarre story that I can't resist sharing. But on the other hand, well you'll see why I wasn't sure if I should share after I share. Obviously the need to chronicle this experience has won out over all else. Here goes.

Remember this post? Remember the part where I talked about meeting a man on our hike in the mountains? Well that man has a little story that goes with him. Go look at the post and look at the picture of me standing calmly by a stream. It's pretty, isn't it? But there's something you don't know.

There's a naked man in the background. Don't go look for him; my friend was clever enough to get the shot sans naked man. It all started out so normal: a hike in the windows, some beautiful temples. Then as we were posing by the stream for a photo mid-hike I spotted our naked friend. So there we were, trying to decide what to do about the naked man blocking our path up the mountain to more shamanist ritual sights. While we were locked in panicked indecision, the naked man had apparently made his way to us. He surprised us by grabbing my wrist and asking what time it was. Silly me had decided to start wearing my watch again. Silly me also owns a BRIGHT pink watch.

After confirming that it was 5 after 3 in the afternoon, our new friend informed us that it was "naked prayer time." While attempting to figure out just how naked prayer time affected us, he informed us that since it was naked prayer time if the men saw us they'd get mad. Then he made little devil horns with his fingers on top of his head.

As if things weren't already strange enough, he proceeded to inform us that we had to hide behind a rock just off the main path. We would have to stay hidden until 3:30 when he would come get us. To appease him we hid, thinking he would leave us be and we could beat a hasty retreat. But oh how wrong we were. Instead of leaving, he stayed with us.

The entire twenty five minutes.

Yup. It was just us and some random naked Korean man. He kept praying towards us and checking my watch, an action which brought him and all his nude not-glory a little too close for comfort. After about 15 minutes of sheer awkwardness our naked friend uped the ante by rummaging in his backpack. Out of the backpack came two little wooden figurines: one of a turtle and another of a mountain goat. Apparently he wanted to give us a present. We took our little wooden figures, unsure of how to react to being given handcarved gifts by a naked man.

Finally around 3:30 we began to hear drums. We were informed that the drums signalled the end of naked prayer time. The end of naked prayer time also meant the end of hiding time. We scrambled out of the shrubbery as fast as possible. It was then straight up the mountain without regard to whether we were following the guide book's directions or not.

So now you know the story of naked prayer time. You can probably imagine why I was so hesitant to share. It's just plain weird. And yet so funny that I don't even know what to do with the whole situation.

By the way, the drums continued for at least another hour.

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