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Jeju Vacation: Day One, Part Two

[Earlier in the day, Jackie and I had made it to Jeju safely, but had to wait around to check in. A few hours later, we checked in, hiked down to a nearby waterfall and took tons of pictures. Now is where the real fun begins.]

Hanging at the Islet

After leaving the Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls, we walked over to the nearby dock. There is a bridge to an islet near the port. On the bridge there is a cool structure reaching towards the sky. It provided some great photo opportunities. We looked over the bridge railing and the ocean showed a beautiful blue.

She's always taking pictures.

The islet had some cool things too. Once over the bridge, there was a landing that played different songs if you pushed the buttons. Jackie started dancing to one of the songs and I caught it on video. What a great dancer! (And I am such a great camera operator! Thanks, NMSU television production class!)

The islet itself has a path that runs in a circle. There are some cool places to take photos nearly everywhere you go. On one side is two lighthouses facing off, on another a view of another island, on another is a group of jacks made especially for giants and on the other is another view of the dock.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

Giants need to learn to pick up after they play jacks.

After leaving the islet, we decided to get something to eat. Right next to the port was a neighborhood full of restaurants. We figured there would be a ton of good seafood to eat. However, all the places were unappealing. We simply do not see places with cute pictures greeting you of the animals you will get to eat as appealing. I am sure they all taste good, but nothing appeared appetizing. We looked online and found a place with great reviews. It was a place that served Western food (burgers, steak, etc). The problem was it was too far to walk. We had a solution though...

Renting Bikes

We wanted to rent bikes before the day was over and there was a rental shop near the Jeju Hiking Inn. After an eight minute walk in the sweltering heat, we arrived at the un-airconditioned place. It rented out bicycles and motorized scooters. There were two employees working there, a short woman and a large man. Three European me were looking to rent scooters, one man with a large upper body and tiny head was returning a scooter. The Europeans were trying to talk down the price with the woman while the rest of us waited. A mid-sized fan moved the air around ineffectively.

While we waited, the disproportioned man started conversing with us. He told us he was in the US Army and stationed somewhere south of Seoul. Though he was obviously a know-it-all, he seemed nice enough (I guess). Then it was his turn to talk to the rental people... And wow.

He wanted to return his scooter days early, claiming to be leaving Jeju later that day. The workers informed him his contract only gave him 24 hours to return it. This guy wanted his money back though. It would get progressively worse. He would not back down, nor would the rental people. Eventually, the man started trying to physically intimidate the woman. His chest puffed up and he stood towering over her as he began raising his voice.

The other worker, the man, started to give us our paperwork for the bikes. Here are some of the things the Army guy said:
  • When told they had his name and signature on the contract: "You can't prove that's my name! In fact, it's not. I used a fact name! You will never prove that is me!" This is despite them asking for our id as we were filling out the paperwork.
  • "I'm going to hide it somewhere you will never find it! You'll never find the scooter and you'll lose all that money! You won't lose any money if you give me mine back and you'll have your scooter! You'll never find it! I'll leave it on the other side of the island!"
  • "I had a verbal agreement saying I could give it back and get my money back! It's just not on the contract I signed!"
  • "I am going to tell everyone that this place rips you off! I'll tell everyone. No American will EVER buy from you again. Good luck ever making money! I'll tell everyone!" (This as we, American, stood there filling out our contract)
Soon, the Army guy got so aggressive that the man who was helping us with our paperwork traded with the lady. So she had to deal with us and he dealt with the jackass Army guy. It did not help. First, the worker simply went outside, took the key out of the scooter and left it parked out front. According to the Army guy, this constituted him agreeing to give the money back. I am still not sure of the logic. Then, the Army guy tried to go chest to chest with the man (even though the man was about six inches taller). The man put his hand to the Army guy's chest in a "keep your distance" motion. He did not even push, but this action caused the Army guy to yell out "Don't you ever put your fucking hands on me!" He looked like he was about to fight. Then I think he realized there was a good chance the large, mean-looking Korean man with tattoos covering his arms could probably beat the tar out of him.

The Army guy began threatening to call the police on them. Instead, the Korean man called the police on him. The Army guy acted like was more than happy to state his case to the Jeju police. I am sure they would have taken his side.

Ha. Ha.

By that time we had finished with the paperwork. I wanted to stick around because it looked like that Army guy might blow his top and do something really stupid. Jackie convinced me it was not worth sticking around. That big guy would be able to hold his own and I would not help. She was probably right. I kept wanting to yell, "You're making all of us Americans look bad, you idiot!" I am sure that would not have calmed him down though. The whole episode was embarrassing.

Bike Ridin'

There was no time to deal on that jerk though. Neither Jackie nor I had had a real meal yet. We needed food. We needed big American-style burgers and fries. We needed Gecko's. The only problem was it was not exactly super close to us. This would require a nice bike ride.

Boy, did it ever require a nice bike ride. We went one way and then back. We went over hills and turned back. Google Maps did not have any navigation capabilities in Jeju and that killed us. There were some bike race paths we tried to follow, but they led us all sorts of crazy ways. It took a couple of hours to finally get there. Jackie asked some people in a car how to go. That really helped. It was lucky they could speak English rather well. By the way, I have ridden a bike once in the last, oh, I do not know, 13 years? I was horrible at it. I had to learn fast though, because Jackie is pretty good. Luckily, there were some good views along the way.

12 miles for a burger...

Reading maps...

Waiting while Jackie asks for directions.

The first five miles were insane. We went up such huge hills... Ugh. The last seven were more straight though. We got to Gecko's after nightfall. It was worth it. The burgers were great. The fries were great. Jackie was able to get a cherry cola made by the bartender (cherry plus Pepsi) for the price of a regular soda (a place in Seoul had wanted to charge us the price of a shot plus the soda even though it had no alcohol...).


Shortly after we sat down, the Europeans from the rental place showed up. Jackie asked what had happened later. Apparently, after we left, the Army guy realized he was not going to do too well with the police and he left without arguing. About twenty minutes later, the freaking Army guy showed up at Gecko's with a long-haired dude and two pretty girls in tow. I just wanted to yell to them, "You know you're with a crazy jackass, right!?! Run for your lives!" Incredible. He completely lied. He was not leaving right then like he said he was. Ugh.

Finally, we needed to get home. Jackie and I caught a cab down the street. We managed to fit both of our bikes in the truck. The ride cost us 17,000 won ($15). That is really expensive. A lot of the cabs in Jeju do not use meters. That is a great way to get ripped off. I will talk more about that in the next post. For now, we were too tired to fight it.

For all the difficulty, the day ended up being pretty good. The next day would be more frustrating though...
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