This is the second time lapse video from Oh Choong Young that I have felt compelled to share. Yes, it is a bit long, with fabulous nature scene stacked atop one another, but there is some true magic to be felt on Jeju-do… if you’re open to it.
Nature Photography from places all over South Korea likeJeju-do, Seorak-san, Mudeung-san, Busan, & Boseong using both my Canon A590 and EOS D60 digital cameras
The critically acclaimed South Korean musical, Nanta, is now playing in Jeju City on Jeju Island (also playing in Seoul, Gangnam Area). It’s the story of three cooks who have to prepare food for a last minute wedding with the help of their manager’s incompetent nephew. The performance is almost totally non-verbal, and involves acrobatics, slapstick humor, as well as, improvisational music using everyday kitchen materials. To my surprise, there was some required audience participation.
Curtains drew, and the actors began prancing their way around a steamy, stainless steel cauldron — tossing Oregano and Parmesan cheese like confetti. They began to argue over how the soup tasted. Thumbs up? Or thumbs down? No one could decide, so two of the five actors jumped off of the stage and into the audience. Quickly concealing the bottle of half empty Chivas Regal, I began to slouch. Please don’t choose the foreigner. Please don’t choose the foreigner. But it was no use… She looked right at me and commanded, “You. Yes, you! The man!” They pushed me up onto the stage, draped a blue tarp looking thing over my shoulders, and slapped a ridiculous hat onto my head. The lights were so bright, I could scarcely see the crowd. Thank God. Next to me was a much younger Korean girl, probably in her early teens, looking even more perplexed than I was. We were then instructed to eat the soup (which was delicious) while the actors danced around the kitchen trying to kill a fly. Naturally, the fly landed on the ear of my ridiculous looking hat. They killed it. They asked how the soup was. “Good!” we screamed. Then out of nowhere, the bowls were ripped from our hands, rice flung high into the air, and apparently, I got married.
Nearly all Korean hagwon teachers get 6 days off for Summer vacation during July. We spent ours in (or on) Jeju-do. For the second time, I stayed at the Tae Gong Gak located above the Seogwipo Harbor. One of the owners even remembered me from when I went to Jeju for the Chuseok holiday last October. “Hey, I know your face. You were here with a girl last time. Where is she?” She stayed in the Hyatt Hotel in the Jungmun Resort area, which is a 30 minute ride away on the number 600 Bus.
After a day or two of drinking Chivas Regal and chatting it up with fellow vacationers by the pool at the Hyatt Hotel, we woke up early for a hike to the summit of Halla mountain in Hallasan National Park. Although this is the tallest mountain in South Korea, the incline is gradual and substantially easier to summit than the #2 mountain in Korea, Jiri-san, or the #3, Seorak-san — both of which I hiked earlier this year. Of the several routes to take, we chose the Yeongshil trail for it’s epic scenery. Unfortunately, the weather was anything but fabulous; Yeongshil ended up being a cloud maze and we couldn’t see shit. We came down through the Orimok valley which was a kilometer longer, had more stairs, and was less interesting to maneuver.
Moon’s Guide to South Korea recommended hiking the small peak of Songak-san, located on a small peninsula at Jeju’s West end and supposedly offering some of the most splendid views of Halla-san and the adjacent mound of rock called Sanbang-san. I set out the next day in search of glory and got lost in a bumfuck beach town called Moseulpo, but soon found my way to Songak-san Park via taxi for 5000 KRW. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a small black sand beach and several sea caves dug into the massive cliffs. During World War II, the Japanese forced Jeju residents to build these caves for use in suicide attacks against the Allied forces. It was a creepy area to explore. Having to worry about the collapsing hillside and look out for scurrying centipedes, crabs, and spiders, I did not dare venture into any of the caves. Probably not worth the risk anyways. As was the situation the previous day, the weather affording no magnificent view atop Songak-san. Bummer, dude.
Getting there from Gwangju:
Bus to Mokpo – 50 minutes, 3000 WON
Taxi to Mokpo Passenger Ferry Terminal: 5000 WON. There are two terminals in Mokpo, but both have ferries to Jeju.
Ferry from Mokpo to Jeju City: 4.5 hours, 37000 WON. Next time we’ll buy the cheaper seats and just sit at the bar.
Taxi from Jeju Ferry Terminal to Jeju City Bus Terminal: 6000 WON
Bus from Jeju City to Seogwipo: 50 minutes via 5.16 Road, 3000 WON. There was no English at the bus station, and we found the right bus thanks to some friendly locals.
Arrived! Stayed at the Tae Gong Gak, which is reasonably priced and right above the Seogwipo marine park. Beautiful view of the Harbor and Saeseom.