Buried beside the sea


I hope no-one considers it morbid that I regularly post photos of Jeju’s graves. They’re traditionally a dome of earth surrounded by a substantial volcanic stone wall. You see them in all sorts of places – in fields and villages, on hillsides, in woodland. They are a real feature of the landscape, although the tradition is no longer permitted.

This one is a short distance west of Museulpo, with views across the water to Gapado and Marado. In the other direction, there are views to Museulbong, Sangbansan and, further, Mt Halla. What a good place to be buried – assuming that views are of any use to the dead.

Museulpo in winter


I write a separate blog about Museulpo (http://moseulpo2014.wordpress.com/) so tend not to write about it on this blog. This little port on the south-west coast of Jeju is the closest town to Global Education City and is a town in transition. There’s a lot of building going on and the influx of thousands of people nearby must be a factor.

Although the ongoing construction will change the character of the place, it’s still a working town and port with plenty of narrow streets and modest homes, derelict buildings and plots of land. You can buy a cheap and nutritious meal at a Korean restaurant or spend the same money on a hot drink at one of the cafes that cater for more western tastes.

I hope you noticed the green net in the photo below, suspended on a wire and containing drying fish. Those fish are going to be exposed to the northerly winds that have seen temperatures drop this week, the squally showers of rain, sleet and snow. Winter has arrived but at least the sun didn’t set until 5:24 this evening, compared with 3:50 in the UK.




Seotal oreum 4.3 site


I made my first reference to the Jeju 4.3 Massacre in a post about Goneul-dong, on the north coast, earlier this month. Seotal oreum, another 4.3 site, is much closer to home, adjacent to land that used to be the Japanese airfield between Museulpo and Songaksan. There’s a memorial (photo above) which appears to record names of the murdered. Again, I can do no better than quote the English translation of the notice. You’ll have to replace the word ‘compulsively’ with ‘compulsory’:

This place used to be the largest arsenal built by compulsively mobilized people in Jeju during the Pacific War, but it was blasted by the U.S. armed forces after the liberation from Japan.

The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950. Department of Interior Security exploited the abrogated preventive detention law that was once used by Japan to suppress our nation, and gave every police department instructions to detain and execute blacklisted people and unsavoury elements. Accordingly, Moseulpo Police station had preventively detained and closely watched 344 people until government forces stationed in Moseulpo massacred approximately 210 people (20 on July 16 and 193 on August 20 1950) without legal process and buried them in secret. Civil access to this area had been limited until exhumation was allowed in spring 1956. This is the hideous spot described above.

The two pits in the photo below are the sites of the burials.


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.


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.


Rock pooling


I spend plenty of time peering into rock pools around the coast of Jeju. With so much rocky shoreline teeming with little creatures, there’s always something to watch.

I saw these two just outside the harbour at Museulpo this afternoon. There are any number of crabs, like the one below, of different sizes and colours, but I’ve never seen anything like the slug in the photo above. Everything else does its best to blend in with the background, but this fellow doesn’t seem to feel the need. Given that it travels at the speed of a slug, perhaps it relies on being poisonous as a means of defence.

It could be a chromodoris aureopurpurea. There are references on the internet to this species on the coasts of countries around the western Pacific.


The rules are different here…


I’m not sure that any text is necessary for this post, certainly not for readers in the UK. I’ve been meaning to post on this subject for a while and could have taken equivalent pictures multiple times. Anyway, I took these in Museulpo this morning in the space of five minutes. You just have to smile.


If you’re reading this in South Korea, I’m sorry for the little tease. Alternatively, if this looks like a random post about nothing in particular, let me know and I’ll explain.



Daejeong five-day market


Another Sunday, another market. This time it was Daejeong five-day market in Museulpo, in search of something to plant in the garden.



We bought some battered sweet potato from the lady in the photo below and ate them at a low table next to the stall.


Elderly ladies, like the two in the photos below, are a feature of all such markets. It would be so interesting to know their stories.



Olle 11 in the rain


Yesterday was a grey day on Jeju. The weather was wet and everyone will have been thinking of Wednesday’s tragic sinking of the Jeju-bound ferry.

It was raining steadily as we left Museulpo at the start of Olle trail 11. By the time we got to the top of Museulbong (‘po’ means port, ‘bong’ means hill) the rain had eased but the rest of the walk was still pretty soggy. Olle 11 doesn’t follow the coast; instead, it heads northwards  for 18 km through farmland and forest.

Each trail has a point at the start and the end and one point somewhere along the trail where you can stamp your Olle ‘passport’. The photo above is the stamping station at the top of Museulbong and also shows the blue and orange arrows that show the forwards and backwards directions of the route respectively. Sometimes the arrows are just painted on the ground or on a wall and sometimes the way is marked by blue and orange ribbons.

The only other time I got my camera out was at the foot of Museulbong. Beyond the grave mounds, the fields and the greenhouses in the photo below are Mt. Dan and, further, Sanbangsan.




A short boat trip southwards from Museulpo is the island of Gapado, half way between Jeju and Korea’s southernmost point, the island of Marado.


The island has a short Olle trail, 10-1, which winds its way back and forth across the island, around the coast and through the barley fields. At this time of year, and on a sunny day, it’s really beautiful – and I don’t mean to say that it’s not beautiful at other times. There are stone-walled graves in amongst the barley and patches of yellow (canola) and lilac coloured flowers. I used a slow shutter speed to try and capture the movement of the barley in the wind.