To wrangle my way to the Goseong Unification Observatory today, I had to not only take an hour-long public bus ride, but also effectively hitchhike the last 10 km uphill to the observatory proper. As luck would have it, the ticket office hooked me up with a young Korean couple with two toddlers. The family barely spoke any English, but between my phrasebook and a lot of smiling, it worked out well. We figured out that they were headed to the same places I was for the rest of the day --- the aquarium and former presidential residences at Hwajinpo --- so we ended up spending most of the day together, before they dropped me back at Sokcho. Plus at lunchtime, they bought me instant noodles from a beach vendor and shared their homemade kimbap (Korean sushi) as well.
When I think of the phrase "the kindness of strangers", I will always think of this pleasant young couple.
Tomorrow I'm heading to my first national park of the trip, Seoraksan National Park. This is South Korea, so I'm sure there'll be internet access in the mountains --- if I have the energy after a day of hiking to use it.