cutting our trip a day short!
05/14/2009 - 05/14/2009
Where there's warmth and humidity, there's mosquitoes! We found this out the hard way in the morning, when T (who was sleeping on the living room couch) discovered multiple bites on her arms and legs. SJ and I were protected, having slept in the inner bedroom on futons. Needless to say, T was not a happy camper.
After we ate our ramen, the breakfast of champions, we were ready to explore our surroundings a little. The Euro Resort Pension is a collection of European villa-style apartments arranged around an (empty) fountain. Summer means roses, and roses were in abundance – growing over the railings, fences, and just bursting with gorgeous fuschia blooms. Behind the apartments was a grassy area for lounging and barbecues, with swinging chairs aimed towards the water with a view of the islands in the distance. Besides the mosquitoes, it really was a fairly nice place!
It was back onto the tour bus for us, and the first stop was at a jewelry store, where the customers were poring over rings and necklaces with fascination. The jewelry was nice, but I was more concerned with getting my camera charged, which I tried with no avail at the local grocery store (apparently they offer battery charging services!). Defeated, we bought banana milk and moved on to our next destination, the Mysterious Road. This is a road where it appears that water, bottles, and cars in neutral will move uphill. It wasn't that impressive to us... but we took a picture there nontheless!
Here's another Jeju tour guide joke for you:
Usually when a man is urinating in public, they'll put their hand in front. But there's one guy who'll urinate with his hand on his back. Why?
.... Because he has back problems and his doctor told him to avoid heavy lifting. Ha!
We also learned some other Korean tidbits. I've always known that Koreans (and Asians in particular) have certain notions about people's personalities based on their blood-types, but did you know that the fingers have specific connotations also? So quick, think about which finger you like the best - thumb, pointer, middle, ring, or pinky? Now here's the breakdown:
- Thumb – violent (keeping you under their thumb) --> SJ
- Pointer – aggressive (pointing at YOU!) --> T
- Middle – indecisive (can't decide on the ones on the left or right...)
- Ring – love (marriage finger?) --> Me
- Pinky – dirty (.... don't know why!)
We saw a horse show with acrobats bouncing on and around them, performing stunts complete with horse performances and a creepy clown. After inspiring us with the horse show, they had planned to have us go horseback riding, but even while on the road we could see the tour buses lined up so we decided to have lunch instead. We had more of the black-haired pork, this time in a deliciously spicy broth, simmering over a tabletop fire. We devoured it - much to the surprise of our bus-mates, who thought that we would be grossed out by the poop-eating habits of the pigs. Little did they know... we love food!
After lunch we went on to go horseback riding, where we were outfitted in uniformly ugly baggy vests and cowboy hats before mounting our horses and plodding down a dusty path in a line. It was kind of sad... It was a hot day and it looked like the horses had been carrying people for the entire day. Or maybe they switched them out, I'm not sure, but the horses just looked tired. All in all, it was maybe 10 minutes of riding, or rather, walking along a dusty trail in a circle. There were cute foals walking along the trail too, perhaps following their mother as they lugged us around.
Our next stop was the Seongeup Folk Village, which is a traditional Jeju village where people live. There were homes and livestock, in particular a sty with the infamous black-haired pig that eats poop - complete with a little potty-hole where people could just sit and let their business become the pig's meal. After we toured the village, it was time to try and sell us stuff - this time, horse bone powder and herb powder.
Next was something out of a Beatles song - we boarded a yellow submarine courtesy of Jeju Sea World that brought us down to see coral and the fish that lived among them. It was pretty cool, with everything tinted a bright blue from the sun refracting through the water. They even had a diver come down to wave at us - photo op! We got him with his fob sign on.
It was around this time that SJ got a call from her mother, requesting that we come back a day earlier. Tomorrow (5/15/2009) would be Teacher's Day, and she wanted us to come back so we could visit a Seoul high school with them and offer congratulations to the teachers. Given the hectic pace of the previous days and T's discomfort with all the mosquitoes, we decided to return to Seoul - but we'd have to rush back to the Pension to pack and eat quickly if we were going to make it to the airport on time!
Jeju Island was fun and full of activities and good food, but so hectic that we were exhausted by the time we got back at night. I was somewhat relieved that we got to return to Seoul a day ahead of time.