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Wanderings and Misadventures of The Toes Ramblings of a fledgling traveler...

Culture Shock and Paradise(ish)

SOUTH KOREA | Tuesday, 27 April 2010 | Views [639]

I decided I would head straight to Jeju Island. It is the Southernmost part of South Korea and has a semi-tropical feel. Good choice despite the touristy-ness.

My ferry only departed at 7:00pm so I spent the day chilling on Haeundae beach in Busan. I even had some pizza so all-in-all it was a good time. Once the children started having a game of "toss-the-mud-ball" right around me I moved on. I guess getting whacked in the back was an indication that it was time to go.

Took me a while to find the proper port but I cought my ferry and even payed extra to have a bed. Hey, it's an 11 hour ride so I'm sure most folk would make the same choice. Otherwise it would have been a matter of finding a spot on a floor with a few hundred other random people. Yeah, no thank you mister!

Despite having a bed I did not sleep much. I had my first premonition when I noticed many men carrying large boxes of beer onto the ferry. So apparently it's just a big party boat. People are loud to begin with but when you put some booze in them they just don't stop. I think I managed to get a little shut-eye by 3am; maybe 4. The ship was due to arrive at 6am and people started waking up around 5 so you can guess how happy I was. A nice loud alarm clock of people yelling down hallways. Oh, my bed was right next to the door that my roomies kept leaving open. Forgot to mention that.

Despite the door thing and leaving the light on all night they were pretty good. At least my roommates went to bed around 11pm. I don't know how they managed it but I guess they're used to other noisy drunken Koreans.

Our bathroom floor would flood with about 2" of water whenever someone took a shower. There were 7 of us in that room so there was much flooding.

I was thrilled to step onto firm ground again considering it was a nice little island. It takes about an hour to cross it by bus and at the centre is a big dormant volcano (I plan to climb it soon). I'm staying in Seogwipo, a town in the South, at a nice hotel for about 22$ a night. I get my own room with a really comfy bed, tv, washroom and a view in two directions. I'm in a corner room: blam! I have a view of the hills, the ocean and a cool bridge that is lit up with colour-changing LEDs. I'll be visiting it up close tonight.

I've seen several waterfalls and some really neat stone outcrops. This island was formed by a volcano so it's all poreous volcanic rock. Most monuments and walls are made of the black rock.

So far the coolest place was Yongmeori Coast, that I visited today. It's cliffs along the ocean formed by layers of stone. The lava that created it and the waves grinding it down have created neat crevasses, archways, steps... so very cool. I took pictures but they really just don't do it justice.

Also neat is the vegetation here; a mix of Korean pines and tropical plants. You should see the size of the aloe plants! I think most are taller than me!

I'm here for one full week then I guess I'll just head to Seoul. I'll visit the areas surrounding that big city and maybe do some partying. We shall see. For now I have three days (?) left here so I'll see some really cool stuff. I don't want to spoil it yet so I'll leave it at that.

Oh, the buses are hard to negotiate. There is hardly any English in most places and none on buses. I did catch a ride once today; to my parents the abridge version of this sentence is "I only took buses and certainly did not jump into another car with strangers". Seriously, when you've experienced being brushed aside by an old man in a bus station ticket booth while trying to gain some intel, you just jump on whatever other opportunity presents itself. This was a pretty safe bet but I know I shouldn't hop in just any car. Don't worry folks.

You know, just ignore that last paragraph...

Yongmeori Coast, Jeju Island

Yongmeori Coast, Jeju Island


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