More seafood


I saw this today, more fresh seafood in a polystyrene box. I don’t know about you but it just looks too bad to me, whatever it is. I don’t know what it tastes like, or how it’s prepared, and I don’t really want to know.


Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article:

It doesn’t encourage me to give it a try.

On the seashore


This is the beach on the tombolo that joins the one-time island of Seongsan Ilchulbong to Jeju. It’s formed from the volcanic rocks eroded from the island in the 5000 years since it was formed. The main part is the dark pebbles (well, it’s too big to be called sand) formed from the rocks. It’s mixed with an array of different sea shells and corals.


I knew it was a tombolo because the noticeboard told me so, and I’ve just looked it up on the internet. A tombolo is a spit of land that forms between an island and a mainland due to the tidal deposition of material. Chesil Beach is one example, joining the Isle of Portland to the Dorset coast.


Seongsan Ilchulbong

Ilchulbong3Ilchulbong2One of the iconic images of Jeju is the aerial view of Seongsan Ilchulbong, a circular volcanic island (almost) that rises steeply out of the sea on the Eastern edge of Jeju. Lacking the means to take a photo from above, I’ve had to make do with some ground-level shots. That really is second-best, but they’re interesting nevertheless.

It was formed from a volcanic eruption a mere 5000 years ago. Since then, erosion has sculpted the current shape and joined it to the mainland with a low, narrow spit of land. It’s a draw for tourists and coachloads climb the steps to the top to look down into the shallow crater and out to the sea beyond.

Do my posts sound like a series of geography lessons? It’s difficult to avoid in a place like this.Ilchulbong1

Seafood – as fresh as it comes

Seafood1It doesn’t come much fresher than this. You point to the thing you’d like to eat, from the array of squirming, wriggling shellfish Seafood2and octopus on display; the lady scoops it out of its shell with her knife, slices it up and hands it to you on a plate. I’m sure it tastes delicious but there’s no way I’m going to try anything quite so squidgy.

Jeju is said to have three things in abundance – wind, Seafood3women and rocks. The women in question are the divers, who put on wetsuits and gather food from the water around the island. The story goes that they were forced into this way of life because the men of Jeju Island were so lazy. People have told me it’s still true, but I’m not in a position to comment.

The women divers are a dying breed these days. Young women don’t take it up, unsurprisingly, and the ones we saw were doing a demonstration for visitors rather than for the economic value of the catch. Judging from the deep lines on their faces, they’ve lived a tough, outdoor, life.


Seogwipo sunset

Saeyeon_gyoJeju, or parts of it, have been awarded three UNESCO designations in recognition of its unique characteristics: it’s been designated as a Biosphere Reserve, World Natural Heritage site and a Global Geopark. There are certainly some impressive features.

The bridge in the photo above (taken with my iPhone5 because I’d left my camera at home) joins a volcanic island to the mainland next to the harbour of Seogwipo, the main town on the south coast. The island in the photo below, Beomseom, is another volcano (of course), supposedly resembling a crouching tiger. If you saw such a volcanic island off the coast, rising steeply out of the sea, why would you look for a resemblance to anything else?


Climbing Mt Halla


Another day, another volcanic crater. This time it’s the big one, Mt Halla, 1950m tall and the highest point in South Korea. It’s a four-hour hike to the top and another four hours down. No map is necessary, even if you could get a decent one, as there’s no way of losing the trail which is mostly roped, largely man-managed, and has plenty of wooden walkways to ease the way. Even so, it’s a long and tiring day.


There were plenty of other hikers – including some nuns who made it to the top at the same time as we did. A few hikers exchanged some words of English (“Where are you from?”, “Premier League, Manchester United, Ji-Sung Park”), and we were offered food at regular intervals. At a stop half way up, a lady gave us two tangerines. At the next stop, another lady gave us two more, and moments later we were given two small chocolates. On the way down, let another lady offered us slices of Chinese pear. When we met her again later, she gave us some sweets made from rice. It’s amazing – the kindness of strangers.

The scenery on the way down was a treat – steep cliffs, deep valleys, tree-covered hillsides, early Autumn colours.


Jeoji Oreum

Jeoji2This is Jeoji Oreum, a short distance from Global Education City. The photos really don’t do justice to the remarkable form of the feature. As with many of the oreum, it rises steeply out of the relatively flat surrounding farmland. The photo on the left looks southwards across from one ridge of the volcano to the opposite side, over the canopy of the trees that fill the crater, to the coast beyond.Tangerines

The photo below is looking westwards. The coast line is just a few miles away and I assume that both the feature on the skyline and the island beyond are volcanic, albeit not as well-formed and regular as Jeoji Oreum.

The photo on the right adds a touch of colour. The tangerines, a Jeju speciality, are ripening and there was a stack of crates in the field ready to harvest them.

View from Jeoji Oreum

Climbing an oreum

oreumWe climbed an oreum (mini volcanic crater) yesterday. I don’t know the name because I can’t find it on a map. My transliteration of the Korean name on the notice at the bottom of the trail is ‘Oreum Koanri’.

We walked through the woods to get to the oreum and when we redemerged into the crater it was like a lost world – high sides to the crater making it seem completely isolated. The floor of the crater was flat, which leads me to conclude that it has been full of water at some stage in the past.

I had some fun taking photos on the way up. I hope you enjoy them.



Another beastie on the path


Isn’t this a beauty? I found him this morning on the path close to home. I got down on my hands and knees to get a close-up, and he was clearly watching me.

I’ve seen three Praying Mantises today. I saw two more within half an hour of seeing this one, while I was running on the network of concrete tracks that pass through the tangerine farms nearby. The second one was smaller and brown, the third just like this one. From what I’ve just read, it seems that the female is green and relatively large while the male is smaller and brown. That being the case, this is a ‘she’ rather than a ‘he’.

If you get the impression that the paths are alive with insects, that’s not so far from the truth. There are all sorts of hopping, jumping and whirring things. It’s cooler now than it was a month ago, so there are fewer but they’re still around.


Here’s another photo, this time of a male. He’s smaller and less impressive than the female.




Half term has just started. At 5:30 this afternoon, not long after most people had left, I found this fellow, around 0.5m long, heading towards the open doors into reception. I encouraged him to head the other way, which he dutifully did.

I’ve seen snakes before on Jeju – I came across one on a small road I was running along a couple of weeks ago. I assume it was the same species. Our next door neighbour has also skinned one that had been run over so he could display the skin in his biology classroom.

But the photo I took this afternoon prompted me to try and identify the species. There seem to be lots of different species on Jeju, but the best I can do by way of identification is Gloydius ussuriensis, which is a venomous pit viper according to one website I looked at. You probably don’t want those around school. Not alive, anyway.