Friday, December 08, 2006

Korea Holiday - Day 2 - Jeju Island

I was awoken by the morning call at 6.30am. We were to have breakfast at the coffee house in the hotel. It was buffet-style. There was Continental breakfast besides the Korean dishes. There was supposed to be Abalone porridge this morning, so we were stirring the pot of porridge, looking for pieces of abalone. It was beef porridge.

After breakfast, we boarded the bus for a tour of the island. I had put on thermal clothings beneath my blouse & long pants. I had on my thick jacket, gloves, scarf & mouth cover, but why do I still feel so cold? Coming from a tropical country with an average temperature of 30 degreee Celcius, I simply have no idea how cold it could get in winter. Mind you, this is only early winter.

Jeju Island is widely known as Honeymoon Island because of its romantic tropical settings. And the men on the island lead leisurely lifes because the women will do all the work. The women are hardworking & virtuous. The men live like emperors here. Perhaps Chris should emigrate here.

Our first stop was Green Tea Museum but it was closed. So we took some pictures of the tea plantation. We then proceeded to ride ATV motor cars. The men & the kids went for a spin round the track. The ladies stayed indoors, next to a fire stove, warming our delicate fingers.

On the way to our next itinerary, we stopped at a Tangerine Orchard. We had to pay 6000 won (S$10) each to pluck two tangerines & take some photos. We were given a small box of mini tangerines. Xiao Lian said these mini tangerines are sweeter than the big ones. We had to take her word for that though.

The bus came to a Magic Road (神奇之路 ). At the beginning of a gradual slope, the driver switched off the engine of the bus and we watched with our mouths wide-open. The bus was moving by itself up the slope!

There were many cars & buses that pass here. And when they reach this part of the road, they switched off their engines & sit back, letting their vehicles climb up the slope by themselves! It's amazing! Anyone can explain?

We alighted from the bus to take a closer look at the road, trying to figure out how it works. I tried an experiment by getting my student, Jing Jing to lie on the road. Of course it didn't work!

Our next stop was Yongduam Dragon Rock (龙头岩). It is one of the most unusual lava formations, it looks like a roaring dragon rising from the sea into the sky. It is at the bottom of a cliff. The group went down to take pictures while I stayed at the top. The steps looked slippery. And there was a strong breeze.

200万前年熔岩喷发后冷却而形成的岩石,高10米,看上去象是在龙宫生活的龙欲飞天时突然化作石头一般。正是由于岩石一端颇似龙头,故得名龙头岩。这里 也有个传说,讲一条龙想升天,但最终未能如愿,所以岩石只剩下了龙身体的部分,而龙头在台风时被雷电击落了。从龙头岩向东约200米有一处龙池,据说是龙 嬉游之地,因而得名龙池。池水清澈见底

And then it was lunch time! We went to this restaurant where they serve fantastic spicy pork slices from their famous Jeju Black Pigs. The meal was so delicious, that my students & I dream of it every day since then.

After lunch it was back to our sightseeing. We went to Sungsan-Ilchulbong Peak (城山日出峰), a volcanic crater hill offering a splendid view of the coast. We have an option to climb the peak. I opted out. I couldn't climb with a bad knee. My students & an elderly Mr Chua climbed right up to the peak while the rest did it half way.

I stayed below the hill, browsing through the many souvenir shops. Xiao Lian didn't go with the group, she recommended me the local products of Jeju. I ended up buying boxes of Tangerine & Cactus Chocolates & flavoured rice crackers. It cost me 50 000 won (S$84)!

When the rest came back from their climb, I persuaded them to try the snacks. hehehe.... They bought quite a lot too. The snacks were expensive but tasty. They are great gifts for relatives, friends & colleagues.

It was almost 5 o'clock when we arrived at Jeju Folk Village(济州民俗观光村). It shows traditional houses in the olden days. Xiao Lian had to rush us through the exhibits. It was like only half an hour to see some of the site scenes from Korean TV drama Dae Jangguem (大长今)and half an hour waiting for the bus to bring us to the exit. And it was getting colder as it got dark.

By this time, the whole group has got to know one other better. We were exchanging good-natured banter with one another. The Peh & the Tans are pretty accommodating and friendly.

I was so glad to slump down on the seat of the bus. It was a tiring day. Xiao Lian announced that we didn't have enough time to visit Teddy Bear Museum. What?!

Since I am in Jeju, I want to take a look at the place. I was so excited about visiting it after having seen it on the Korean TV drama, Princess Hour. I was willing to pay for the 6000 won (S$10) entrance ticket! But nope, the museum closes at 6pm & if I like, I could extend my stay in Jeju while the rest would be going back to Seoul early next morning. grrrrr....

And there are the filming sites for All in as well. We are not even going to visit any one of those.
So disappointed.

And oh, there is a 100-day Korean fair in Jeju Island now, beginning 29th November, featuring many Korean movie & TV stars. Korean TV drama idol Bae Yong-joon (裴勇俊)was the guest of honour at its opening. And hundreds of his Japanese fans turned up, mostly aunties, spending more than 2 million won (S$3400) each just to see him! Insane!

We had Seafood Hot Pot (海鲜火锅) for dinner. There wasn't any prawn or fish in it, only a crab that is boiled until it is mushy, some clams & vegetables. The soup tasted fishy. Some of the group members couldn't eat it. The driver had to bring them to a supermarket to buy bread for dinner.

We went back to the hotel after dinner. My sore-throat is getting worse and I'm beginning to have a runny nose. I have lost my sense of smell. Well, time to take a hot shower & slipped beneath the warm covers. Oh, the hotel beds are heated......mmmm.......

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