Jeju International Peace Marathon

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It was a good day for a race – dry, cool and overcast. It also helped that the course was flat. The race started in Hallim and headed southwards along the coast with different turning points for the different races. There were views across to the sea and the waves on the beach or, at one point, splashing over the sea wall onto the road.

The band played before the start, as they did before the Jeju Mandarin Marathon last November…

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…and the crowds stood and faced the other side of the stadium where I assume there was a Korean flag on one of the flagpoles. The guys in the photo below saluted; they may have been in the army, possibly national servicemen.

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Seogwipo 5-day market

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It’s raining. It has been all day so here are some photos from Seogwipo 5-day market, which is a large covered market that sells all sorts of things. I don’t think the photos need any¬†explanation, other than the top one, which is of a row of jackets on hangers – I liked the colours.

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Prickly pear

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I’ve seen Jeju speciality prickly pear flavoured chocolates often enough, and know that you can get various other products based on prickly pear, but it’s still a surprise to see fields of the plant. The photo below was taken near Jeju’s west coast and there are plenty¬†of fields just like this.

I don’t know how you harvest the plant; you must need some robust protective gear.

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Follow the plough

Spring4OK, so it’s not a plough in the photo, but the fields that now cover the old Altteuru airfield were full of activity this morning. Also, it’s my 100th post on this blog so I feel entitled to a little poetic license. People were tilling and planting, and laying out polythene over the soil, often stretched over bamboo hoops to give plants room to grow underneath. I wonder if the lady in the photo above ever gets to drive the tractor while the man works behind it?

Spring1There were also plenty of crops being harvested, or ready to be harvested. Those are sacks of large radish (like daikon in Japan) in the photo above, with a grave site immediately behind. I posted a photo of a cabbage before but here’s another one for good measure.

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And there’s canola (or oil seed rape) everywhere, cultivated or amongst other cultivated crops or on uncultivated patches of land.

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Jeju Peace Museum

Peace_Museum2Here are two views from Gama Oreum. The top one looks through the trees northwards towards Jeoji Oreum; the one below looks at some more distant oreums a little more to the east.

Apart from being a vantage point from which to admire the scenery, Gama Oreum is the site of the Jeju Peace Museum, on account of the three-level network of military tunnels within it. A total of 2 km of tunnels, with 33 separate entrances, were dug between 1932 and 1945. Jeju was strategically important, and Gama Oreum was in turn important because of the view over Altteuru airfield.

There’s a film for visitors to watch as you enter the museum. It has a message of world peace; indeed, Jeju has been designated as an Island of World Peace. However, I’m not sure that the message is unambiguous within the film, or fully supported in the rest of the museum. It’s a difficult thing to achieve – telling things how they were without either pointing the finger at the aggressors in the war or simply allowing visitors to draw conclusions that are unhelpful.

And it’s not just the events of the Second World War that are covered. There’s a shell on display that was fired by the North Koreans at the south in 2010, and some booklets for sale with illustrations that show the South Koreans and their allies with benevolent faces and soldiers from North Korea with wild eyes and fierce faces. Sigh.

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Biyangdo

BiyangdoIt’s spring. Last weekend it was warm enough to give a reminder of what it’ll be like when the summer comes (and tempt a couple of cicadas to try chirping); it rained hard one day in the week, and for the last two days there’s been a cold northerly wind.

I took my bike out today and headed north-west, arriving at the coast opposite Biyangdo, the island in the photo above. The statue looks like a harubang (glum-looking characters you can see all over the island, and more of which on another occasion) holding a fish. I’ve no idea why.

Biyangdo2From thence southwards, along the coast towards Chagwido before turning homewards. The sea was rough and the noise of the waves on the shore was pretty loud.

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Beomseom Island

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This island is named because it supposedly looks like a crouching tiger, and a Jeju travel website says ‘The island has mysterious spots as well as graceful scenery’. I don’t have the imagination to see any resemblance to a tiger or anything else – it looks like an island to me. However, it’s very impressive to see as you drive down the road towards the shoreline.

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Unsurprisingly, the shoreline is volcanic. The black rocks are full of cracks and fissures and holes, providing a habitat for shellfish and other things. I’m not sure what the correct identification of the things in the photo below is and I’m hoping someone will help me out. Are they sea anemones, or tube anemones, or something else?

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Seoul supper

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I was in Seoul on Monday evening and this is where I ate supper. In one street of a market, a row of plastic tent-like structures had been set up, each covering the cooking equipment, half a dozen little tables with plastic chairs, and a heater to keep the cold at bay. The food was delicious – vegetable pancake, noodles with vegetables, a soup and a bottle of Cass. The photos aren’t bad considering they were taken with my iPhone.

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Temple walls

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I wasn’t going to post anything about Macau; it was cloudy and damp, and I didn’t take many photos at all. However, I did like these ones, taken in the Kun Iam temple, north of the city centre and not far from the main crossing into mainland China. The guide book says it’s one of the most interesting and active temples in the city, dating from 1627; it doesn’t give the date of the plumbing and wiring.

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