Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Jeju Island (Part 1) - Korea (Day 2)

First half day of sightseeing in Seoul (Korea Day I - Incheon to Seoul), we returned to Incheon airport for our domestic flight to Jeju Island. Spilling over await in the long queue among the hundreds during this supposedly off peak season in Korea, who do you expect to see travelling throughout the year, except mostly “Made In China” Chinese. Malaysians too I think are seriously taking their globetrotting lifestyle "Up In The Air", in fact, even those born with a dented wooden spoon in their mouth are joining forces in trip-travelling all the time. 

Westerners or course are still at the number one spot as the most adventurous people under the sun or moon for venturing throughout the world, to believe me, you just have to take a look at the picture perfect social media and you will know what I mean. I actually find it hard to accept, not because I am jealous or envious, but because here we are working our butts out to save first before travelling, there people are not only conquering every nook and cranny of the world, but proudly claiming they are the next Vasco Da Gama or Genghis Khan who have discovered a new hidden gem. Hidden gem? Really? Oh-please, whichever hidden gem these people are talking about, I personally believe that this whole concept of hidden gem is over-rated by those who can afford to travel. And we of course sit back to awe at the "photoshop" edited pictures. Right or wrong? I shall say nothing further.  

Anyway, at Incheon airport, everywhere I turned my head, I bumped into big groups of Chinese. Yes, they are all over the place mind you, these seemingly richest people are also the biggest grabbers of designer stuffs. Obviously. Seated side by side with some of them, we then flew to touch down within approximately the next hour in Jeju Island airport. Jeju airport by the way is the second largest airport in South Korea behind Incheon airport, the unfavorable rainy weather actually created quite a mess for us to dash into the coach. Come whatever it may, sightseeing must go on right? Right. 

The start at Jeju Island was experiencing the Ghost Road (Mysterious Road) where our coach moved uphill despite its engine being turned off. How? What do you think? You think it is the “Whispering Corridors” Korean ghost phenomenon of Jeju Island? Neh! I’ll tell you later. During this less than 5 minutes experience, we were naturally fixated with what was going on, but we were not like shell shocked. Picturing was impossible due to heavy rain drops, in this instance, how can a candid shot be possible while simultaneously experiencing the uphill movement? Come of it people, picturing can't be the all the time focus while travelling albeit admittedly it is current madness trend, anyway, ghost ride was over and done just so soon. Tour guide later explained that this optical illusion is due to Jeju Island being one of the numerous magnetic hills scattered around the earth, also, coming with it high surrounding. Okay. Point noted. 
Yongdaum/Dragon Head Rock was our next stop. Rain continued to play sparks as we cautiously walked downwards towards the edge of the scenic coastline for glimpsing at the resembling as "Dragon Head Rocks", created by strong winds and waves over thousands of years. Then again, aside with natural phenomenon, there must be other home-grown theories on how it came to be. Of course. We stood around to set our sights on the far and beyond view, and at the “Smiling Mermaid” status that symbolizes Jeju Island’s Haenyo - mermaid divers (haenyo)/women who dive for abalone, seaweed, sea urchins, octopus,  shellfish and other treasures, in a tradition dating back centuries.  

Thereafter, we walked back to the coach while noticing hungry tourists crowding at the cafes and restaurants along the slope. Hunger was slowly killing us too, but with dinner next in line, we held back from joining the queue. 
Dinner later opened up within the next 15 minutes drive in a family run restaurant. The thing I have been noticing so far from the time I arrived in Korea is that signboards of most shops and restaurants are in Korean language. So, I really can't tell you the name of this restaurant. Nevertheless, such medium and small Korean eateries are a common sight, so, its not a big deal. Meals in Korea I have already been by those who have visited Korea generally should be between steamboat and hot palate. True enough, besides the customary sides dishes, we tucked into Kimchi Seafood Steamboat. Fine with me. As long as food is spicy and eaten alongside the hunger boasting side dishes and rice, I can be satisfied.   

Finally, we arrived at Best Western Hotel Jeju Island. Pretty decent, clean and pleasantly set up room, I had my first shower in Korea prior to literally forcing myself to sleep.

Sleeping on the first night away from home is still utterly horrifying and terrifying for me (Negambo Sri Lanka), imagine trying to shut down (Hilton Niseko Village Hokkaido) when the mind constantly kept flashing back Korean black eyed little boys or carrying doll little girls from underground or jumping at the rooftop (Sungkai Perak)? Even though I had earlier knocked on my room door to ask permission from the imaginary unseen occupant or occupants, as advised by my Indonesian tour buddies, I still couldn’t close my eyes. The point of panic stage was also wondering if Korean ghost understood me asking permission in English? Regardless, practically rolling myself under the blanket, air-cond in full blast and all lights on alert mode, including toilet lights, after an hour or so, I think I slept off. Thankfully!

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