Monday, 24 March 2014

Even the birds sing in Korean

One can spend a long time figuring out what things are.  I haven't found a supermarket yet, here at the Jungmun Tourist Complex, but at 7-eleven I did find 우유 (milk).  Often I give up deciphering what hings are after a coulpe of characters.  Although I can tell apart the Hangul characters, I don't quite know the order yet, which makes using a dictionary very slow.  But still, I found chocolate, peanut cookies, cheese, and something resembling bread.  The bread is too sweet, though.

Breakfast was too fishy so I ate an apple.  I will try the breakfast again on Wednesday and ask with my phrasebook.  Food is a serious issue here, all characters are Hangul, most restaurants have menus only in Korean, and vegetarianism seems to be very, very rare.  In the flight here they had beef, chicken, or fish.  A friendly flight attended replaced the main dish for me with salad from business class, and helped me pre-order vegetarian food for my flight home.  But I haven't eaten any proper meal since Friday night, when I was still in Toronto.  Perhaps I will have better luck today.

The coast of Jeju is very beautiful.  I hiked 32 km on Jeju Olle.  The terrain varies from beach to cliffs to forests and some inland valleys.  The sound of the birds is very different from Europe.  I could say that even the birds sing in Korean, with the end of a single song being the longest sound, similar to the Korean melody. 
Parts of the coast are highly developed with huge hotels, other parts are quiet, but everywhere are many small guest houses.  I think I must have passed 20 or 30 guest houses.  And one moment you're hiking along spectacular cliffs, the next one you find yourself in the middle of a Hendrik Hamel-themed theme park.  Or passing along one of the many boat tours, including one with submarines.  Some boat tours have very loud loudspeakers, and as they pass along the coast, it doesn't really get quiet.  Fortunately it's quiet at the memorial for the Moseulpo massacre, which commemorates a few hundred executed people.  It doesn't commemorate the many others, though.  I eat my lunch at one of the nice beaches I've passed by, only to discover the bread I bought is not really bread, but rather some sweet pastry.  And the cheese tastes of nothing.  The milk and chocolate are fine, though.  I should have brought my dried fruits from Canada...

I ended my hike in Moseulpo, and finding a bus back was difficult enough.  A small but crowded city with lots of small stores and restaurants, most of which have aquariums on the outside.  Nothing is written in English and most people don't speak English either.  I try to find my way to the bus terminal (bus is beuseu according to my phrasebook) and find another stop on the way there.  I'm told I need bus 700.  Finally it works.  The bus is old and has only one door and is very shaky.  You really need the seatbelt even when no accidents happen, because acceleration and deceleration are very intense, as are corners.  The only Latin characters on the bus are CCTV.  It gets dark while I'm on the bus, but I succeed in getting off at the right stop.

In the evening I try to find vegetarian food.  I do not succeed.  I don't find a supermarket, and the only restaurant I find is called Louisiana Kitchen.  They don't serve any vegetables, only burgers and fries.  I settle for fries but I'm not satisfied.  I will need to find proper vegetarian food, as I've not eaten a proper meal since Friday night.

There are incredibly many theme parks and museums on this island.  Just to name a few, there's a Teddy Bear museum and a Chocolate museum next door, as well as a Believe-it-or-not-museum.  Few if any of the museums have anything to do with the location.  Museum of Greek Mythology, of video games, of African Art, of sex (several of those), Nexon Computer museum, and many, many others.  Apparently there are more than 100 museums on this island.  And that doesn't count all the "experiences"... how about a teddy bear safari?

Photos will follow

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