Friday, June 11, 2010

rain rain go away

Greetings from Jeju. I am currently sitting in a PC bong because it's pouring freakin rain. The beach is awesome when you're by yourself and it's raining...right. After school yesterday (Thursday) I got myself over to the Gimpo airport. I had never been here before, as I have never flown domestically here, and it's a cute little airport. There are a couple "Snack Shacks" and a GS 25, and that's it. I got me some pear magkeolli opened my book and waited for my flight. The flight to Jeju was less than an hour. As soon as you take off you start to descend again~ Arriving in Jeju was super simple. I had written down the names of several hostels, one of which was close to the airport. Of course it was full. They pointed me next door and I got my own crap room for 30,000 won. It was almost identical to the room I had in Sokcho a few weeks ago.

I put my stuff down and it's only 9 30 or so, so I go out exploring. DP.

[here's the DP story: When Susan was here we walked into a bar and it was dead. Like no one there and totally lame. She said we have a word for this in Germany, Toterhosen. I know I butchered the spelling there. Anyway, the literal translation is deadpants. aka DP.]

Ok, walking down the street and DP. What do people do at night here?? I asked the little old front desk lady where to find food. She points me a block down to a cute seafood restaurant. I go in and sit on the floor and order the al tang. I love my fish baby soup!!! This place was sick. They brought out the usual sides, but then on top of that brought a plate of sashimi; fish, shrimp, octopus, squid. Then they brought another plate of sashimi and shrimp with quail eggs. All of this before they bring the soup!! The soup was definitely the lamest part of the meal. But all of this food and it was 8,000 won. Nuts. After struggling through some conversation (really forces me to practice my Korean!) with the waitress/owner, I decided it was time to go, but I didn't want to go home quite yet. I found a cute Hof a block the other direction from my hotel and sat down. It was pretty crowded with groups of friends, and no one seemed to want to befriend me :( I drank my beer and went home. haha.

Friday AM and I set out on an adventure. It's me, my backpack and my umbrella. Since it was kind of drizzling I thinks to myself, "What can I do not outside...caverns!" So I get on the bus and head toward the lave tube caves. Man this island is big. I thought I could bike around the entire thing in a day or so, definitely not. As I'm riding the bus the guy behind me asks if I can open my window. Sure. Then he starts chatting. Turns out he's 24 year old Andy. Born in Korea but has been living in Chicago and this is his first time back to Korea in 6 years. He's in Jeju by himself and so am I. He asks what Im doing and what my plan for the weekend was. I informed him I have absolutely no plans and am kind of wandering around the island homeless, and he asks if I'd like to join him in going to Udo island. Sure why not, Andy. The bus takes a solid hour and 1/2 (went from the West side to the far East side) and then we get on a ferry to hop over to Udo island. It's a tiny island, probably the size I pictured Jeju to be!, so we decided to rent bikes and tour around. First we're hungry. We go into a cute restaurant where I get sea urchin seasweed soup (good for health) and he gets the famous Jeju black pig kimchi jiggae. Then he pays. "It's the Korean way." haha ok buddy. We jump on our shady bikes and go. Along the way we see lava stones (and lots of them), white beaches, black beaches, the diving ladies (these are 70+ year old women fully decked out in diving gear. They go out and collect sea squirts for restaurants. I guess this is what you do when you retire here??), statues, and best of all caves. We hike down a mountain and over some trecherous lava stones and make our way into a cave. It's absolutely beautiful. Exactly how you picture them to look in Hawaii. The lava stone on the inside is smooth and purple. There are all sorts of colors running through the purple stone though, it looks almost like it was splatter painted. As you get out toward to ocean enterance to the cave water comes in. It's crystal clear. I wanted to jump in, but the fact I was wearing jeans and had no towel deterred me.

So after biking for 2+ hours in sprinkling rain, we head back. The rain kind of came and went and was no big deal because the sun was out as well, but then by 4pm it was full on raining! We went back to town, dropped my bag at a restaurant we were going to have famous Jeju black pig BBQ at later, and walked over to sunrise mountain. This place was names one of the national heritage places in Korea by UNESCO. At this point it's full on raning, but we want to see what the hoopla's about. We walk up up and up stairs. It took us more than 1/2 hour to walk up this mountain. Rough times. Then you see some old ajuma coming down and you remind yourself, this 80 year old woman made it up, you can too!! But wow, when you get to the top it's spectacular. Not only is there a cool crater in the middle from where the volocano settled, but you can for kilometers and kilometers!! You could see Jeju, Udo, and way out into the ocean. Totally awesome. It got cold and wet so we descneded to dinner.

Dinner was good. I couldn't tell you the difference between normal pork and black Jeju pork, but apparently everyone else can. We also had some tangerine (also famous in Jeju) magkeolli. I'll stick to regular! Andy met up with some buddies form his hostel (he was staying in the one that turned me down the first night bc it was full!) and I decided ot head south in hopes of finding a more happening nightlife. I took a bus another hour South and found a little hotel in Seogwipo. This is where all the resorts are (so I hear, I have yet to see one) so I figured there had to be some Western style bars. Not so much. More hofs. Again last night. Me. Beer. Book. 11pm I called it a night.

Today of course it is raining. All I want to do is go lay on a beach!!!!!! So I am here, updating my blog instead. I think I'll head out and try to hike to a waterfall, then Im thinking of doing some resort hot tub hopping. Wish me luck!