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Spoiler: I didn't hang around to see
People were screaming. Dazed, I wondered why some were running towards me; no, wait - they aren't looking at me?
Oh! It's the guy next to me down and out.
My tinnitus is screaming so hard it is hurting my head. What the heck just happened?
Slowly, as the people next to me became a blur of confusion, I started to reconnect with the surroundings. Dark sky, clouds moving our way, we're on top of a volcano which is the highest landmark as far as the eye can see!
Lightning strike! Fear!
The sky is still brewing, and lightning can strike up to 10km away from the centre of a storm - the black clouds moving towards us.
The guy on the ground? I don't speak Korean, and he was surrounded by people who do.
I'm heading just one way - down.
Where was that path we came up? There's chaos up here.
I find the path and literally hurl myself down it. Like I was running from hand grenades being hurled at me by someone higher up. I ran across the first terrace without hesitating to look back, and down the lower path until I couldn't run any more.
Sitting down, I caught my breath, and only then looked back up. Wow, people moving around like ants up there.
Deja vu ...
It reminded me immediately of when I crash landed in a 747-400 at LAX, August 27th 1990. My wife and I went down the slides, hit the ground, and to my yelling of "keep running" "keep running over there" "no no no no stopping yet" we reached a point about 200m from the impact - towards the perimeter fence.
We sat down, and only then looked back (and only then heard the sirens and noise and noticed the emergency vehicles racing by us). The people coming down the slides and those standing around the aircraft, looked like ants.
I'll never forget, it looked like a movie. And, remarkably, a film that we were now merely observing, not being one of the extras.
Passengers said that the pilot informed them about 45 minutes from LAX that red warning lights indicated some of the landing gear was malfunctioning.
As I looked back up to the peak of the volcano, the people streaming down looked like ants.
Lightning loves heights, and I was no longer in the highest spot, by a long measure.
Cheju Island, South Korea - lava tunnels and lots more ...
I was visiting Cheju Island, Korea, for a holiday. I researched it, and it sounded fantastic (that is, my style of a holiday).
While it had fancy big brand hotels - the sort which are seen in the "Korean mafia" movies - it also had hundreds of family-owned pensions. These owners would be able to direct me to nearby saunas spas and bathhouses.
And, of course, there were hundreds of small economical restaurants - you just had to point to what you wanted I imagined, which turned out to be true.
There were no local trains, but it had a well organised and reliable local bus network (1994). I'd used local bus services often in Japan, and I enjoyed the challenge :).
The main tourist attractions were its warmth - the most southern point of South Korea - and its network of underground lava tunnels which open for tourists.
My head was flushed clear for a week
After the strike, and making my way down lower, I walked to the nearest bus stop and went back to my lodgings.
For the next week, I experienced the weirdest feeling in my brain.
I felt as if it had been cleansed - light, bright, empty, but fresh.
It was as if it had all been rebooted, and restarted clear of debris and sticky bits.
It was a really lovely feeling.
Should I go back up to the volcano and try for another lightning strike?
But I will never forget the light delightful feeling in my head which I had that week - nor my holiday in Cheju Island.
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