Sanbangsan and the rice fields


In the latest in the series of photos of Jeju crops taken across stone walls, here are some pictures of a rice field near Museuplo. There isn’t much rice on Jeju – there’s plenty on the mainland – because the soil drains too well. The top photo has Sanbangsan, visible from miles around, in the background.

The bottom photo – same wall, same rice field – shows a water tower. These are a feature of the Jeju landscape and I’ve been meaning to write about those for a while. Water towers of Jeju – watch this space.


Yeongsil trail


Here are some photos from the Yeongsil trail, on the western side of Mt Halla. The trail doesn’t go to the top of Halla but climbs through woodland before emerging onto the treeless mountainside below the crater. The start is just below 1300m and  the goal is the Witsae-oreum shelter at around 1700m. Much of the route is on wooden steps and walkways, roped to prevent walkers from wandering off the straight and narrow.

Weather permitting, there are views to the coast on the north, west and south sides of the island, and you can look down at the oreum-covered landscape of western Jeju.




Selfies, 2014 style


I wrote about selfies last December but the world has moved on since then: every self-respecting selfie taker now has a selfie stick. Why hold your mobile phone at arm’s length when you can attach it to the end of a stick and take the picture with a remote control? There are so many options and angles and poses that are now so much more convenient and comfortable, taking the art form to new heights blah blah blah.




A seafood feast


This was a real treat, although I wasn’t brave enough to try all the elements. The courses kept coming, starting with the tray of mixed seafood (above), going on to the safer sashimi, followed by a tray which included shrimps and shellfish (below), then the fried fish and fried sweet potato, the sweetcorn/crab/cheese bake, the bibimbap with fish roe, and the soup, and all served with a variety of side dishes.


And here’s the sushi, Korean style, with the green of the wasabi showing through the thinly-sliced fish.


Gathering swallows


I’m a week too late with these photos. Last week, the swallows were twice as dense on these telephone wires. Even though the camera on my iPhone works very impressively in many situations, it couldn’t cope with the low light. So I went back last night and took these pictures.

This is in the centre of Museulpo, the local port town, in the short section of street between Paris Baguette (the Korean bakery chain that’s causing some raised eyebrows by opening a branch in Paris) and Walmart (that’s the English transliteration of the Korean name and, as far as I know, nothing to do with the US chain of the same name).

Maybe by next week these birds will have started their migration to more southerly parts of Asia.




I took these photos in the area of orange groves and farmland nearby, an area where I run regularly. There’s a network of concrete tracks which provide a good set of options for different routes.

It’s September. It’s still hot and green and there’s a constant noise of cicadas and similar insects. The pumpkins and citrus and peppers are ripening although it’s going to be a couple of months yet before the oranges change colour and the harvest starts.



And it’s always worth keeping an eye on the path ahead, especially on warm days. The Mantis below (male – the females are green and larger) isn’t going to do any harm but I’d rather not tread on him.


As I approach twigs and branches on the path, on the other hand, I need to be sure that they aren’t going to turn out to be a snake. I guess they’re not going to do any harm either but I’m not in a hurry to test that out.


North Korea: what the papers say

Cloth3The pictures here are of pieces of cloth hanging across doorways in Seoul’s Unhyeongung Palace over the Chuseok holiday period, but I’m not going to write about that: this is a blog about Jeju, after all. Instead, I want to comment about our prickly neighbour in the north, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

On 5th August, the BBC News on-line reported on the Japanese defence ministry’s annual white paper. As well as concerns over the tensions locally between Japan and China, it talks about the ‘serious and imminent’ threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. North Korea, it says, is widely believed to be working on making a nuclear weapon small enough to deliver via ballistic missile.

According to a report in The Guardian on 14 August, North Korea test-fired five missiles are the Pope started his recent tour of South Korea. “Pyongyang, which has a long history of making sure it is not forgotten during high-profile events in the south”, it says.

On 6th September, The Telegraph on-line reported that “North Korea on Saturday test-fired three short-range missiles off its east coast, putting the South’s military on alert ahead of a traditional harvest holiday.”

So, Kim Jong-un appears to be a man who has his own set rules for diplomacy, and who has apparently unconstrained power in his own country. Add that to a region where there’s real tension between the bigger players and it looks like an uncomfortable mix.

So, I’m not sure what Alex Salmon will make of the headline in The Telegraph on-line yesterday: “North Korea ‘Backs Scottish Independence'”, it says, with an explanation that Kim Jong-un would like to trade North Korea’s natural resources for Scotch whisky.

That’s just what you want from a man who may soon have a nuclear capability.