Monday, September 24, 2012

Jeju Vacation: Final Day

[The day before, Jackie and I experienced the best day/night during our vacation. It was all downhill from there! Well, perhaps, but only because it was such a great time. The wind and rain began to fall while we were out relaxing on a cliff, watching the sunset. Now the real storm began to come]

We were finally heading home. A typhoon hit early in the morning, but we had things to get done. While we packed I put on Little Steven's Underground Garage, my all-time favorite radio show. Then it was time to check out.



Before we took the shuttle bus, we had to turn in the bikes. We had also wanted to go check out the Lee Jung Seob Art Museum down the street. The owner of the Jeju Hiking Inn let us leave our stuff while we went.

Jeju Hiking Inn

A word (or two) about the Jeju Hiking Inn. We found it through Hostel World and saved a ton of money by staying there. I can not speak highly enough about the place. Not only was it completely inexpensive, they also had free wifi, a great location with a great view of the ocean, a rooftop area with tables and seats, nice sized rooms, good air-conditioning and clean bathrooms. The owner was nice and helped us figure out where to go and what to do. He helped every way that he could and answered all of our questions about the island. We found the bike rental place through him and learned the bus system thanks to his translations of Korean. You never know what you will get when you book nights in a cheap hotel, but, in this case, we really, really lucked out. I highly recommend staying at the Jeju Hiking Inn.

On the back from returning the bikes, we saw a dog left out in the rain. It was a cute dog and it was quite sad to see it chained up out there with the typhoon approaching. Just add this to the mild side of animal abuse I have seen in Korea (and I have seen way worse since I have been here).




Lee Jung Seob Art Museum


Lee Jung Seob was a famous Korean artist who fled to Jeju Island during the Korean War. In Seogwipo, there is a museum dedicated to his artwork. The surrounding neighborhood include a replica of the house he lived in, many shops selling memorabilia and big signs depicting his more famous pieces. This whole place was a five minute walk from the inn. Google even had a Google doodle to celebrate his 96th birthday earlier this year!

A few days before we had walked over to the museum, but it was closed. On this day, however, we were determined to see it. Despite the typhoon, it was open. It cost about $1 to get in. I am not kidding. The two-story museum showcased Lee Jung Seob's art, from drawing to painting to sculpture. Most of the information was only in Korean, but there was a fair amount of English to help us understand what was going on. The second story showed not only his work, but that of artists he influenced. Overall, we were more than satisfied with the museum. It was certainly worth more than the $1.



Outside and across the street, Jackie and I took shelter in a shop after it started pouring down rain. A local artist created replicas of Lee Jung Seob's work in many different forms. We picked up a couple of keychains for a fair price.

Dragon Head Rock (Yougduam Rock)

After picking up our luggage and taking the airport shuttle bus to the airport, we discovered our flight would still be on time, but we were too early to check in. So we left our bags there and ventured out to Dragon Head Rock. The rain began to come down harder, but we had a large POLY (the company we work for) umbrella to keep us dry.

The rock is interesting. It rises up from the angrily from the sea. However, aside from the good photo opportunity, that was pretty much it. A platform, the rock, the water, done. I am not sure how else to play that up, but it was mentioned as a great tourist destination. We saw it and were done in about ten minutes. That does not mean I did not enjoy it though. I dig unique rock formations.



The Flight Home

Back at the airport, we found out our flight would be delayed by an hour. We sat down and waited while on our computers. The crowd waiting to board, mostly Koreans, had their eyes glued to the big tv screen at the gate. Korea was competing in some event in the Olympics. I can not remember the exact game, but it was against Japan I believe. Oh, they really like to beat Japan.

The flight itself was not eventful. I took plenty of pictures and we touched down without problem when we were newly scheduled to. However, that is when things went crazy.



As we walked down to wait for the subway, we saw a cell phone sitting on a bench. I suggested we try to find its owner. Just then it rang and Jackie answered it. A man was speaking in Korean. Him and her went back and fourth and he hung up. A minute later the man's friend called back; he spoke English. He informed her that they would be by in 30 minutes to pick up the phone. We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

A few phone calls later, and over an hour later, we were still waiting. I stood next to the entrance and finally saw a guy who was dressed similar to what he said he would be. I handed him the phone and he thanked us, bowed three times and left. It was the friend. The guy did not even come. By that time we had gotten pretty annoyed waiting. Then, on the subway we realized we had forgotten to grab the big, blue POLY umbrella as we left. We had put down all of our stuff while waiting and simply did not grab that.

Oh well. At least we helped someone.

Finally, we arrived back at the apartment and got some dinner. Jeju was a fun time despite the last part of the day. And that concluded our first real vacation together.

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