Jeju Island, Korea, a Quick Picture (only without pictures…)

December 16, 2009

My laptop, a mid-grade Toshiba, has an SD card reader, which allows me to download digital images from my small (and also mid-grade) Canon point-and-shoot camera. So I rarely bother to take my camera-t0-computer cable with me, a lapse in judgement this time, as a) I don’t have my laptop with me, and b) the computer in my hotel in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, Korea has no such image-reading abilities. Thus, if a picture is worth the proverbial thousand words, then this blog p0st will be somewhere between a picture and a picture and a half, although I can flesh it out with pics when I return to Japan (and my laptop) after the holidays.

Jeju, sometimes known as Cheju, is a small island in the deep south of South Korea, kind of like Korea’s Key West. In fact, it is billed as the Hawaii of Asia, and indeed there are regiments of swaying palm trees as well as dramatic cliffs and lava formations around every turn, giving credence to that appellation. It is very popular with Korean honeymooners, Japanese budget tourists and precious few Westerners. I was all ready for a holiday relaxing on the beach by day, and perhaps a bit of judicious partying by night. Only one tiny problem: when I arrived yesterday, it was snowing. Not a US-Midwest kind of white deluge, to be sure, but sufficient to be a significant deterrent to soaking up UV-rays.

So, I have gone sightseeing instead. My first full day has been a day of waterfall viewing, first Choenjiyeon Falls, within easy walking distance of my hotel, then Jeongbang Falls, still within walking distance, but let’s delete the “easy” adjective in its case. It is quite the precipitous descent to the bottom of the falls, but well worth it upon arrival, as it is one of but a handful 0f falls worldwide that drop directly into the ocean (and quite definitely a first for me). It is also the place where I ran into a pair of attractive Korean teenaged girls embroiled in a spitting-for-distance contest. I watched as one, then the other (both clueless that they were being observed), coughed up ammunition and fired it off into the ocean. Back in the day, I had a reputation for pretty good range my own self, so I approached the pair from behind with a viscous “Ahem!” I held one finger up in the universally-recognized motion for “Watch this…”, and proceeded to launch a Mountain Dew-hued (I have a slight head cold) missile across the rocks and into the waves. The two had the grace to appear momentarily startled, and then to blush, before marshalling their resources for round two. All I want to say about it is that I am glad I didn’t have any money riding on the old guy. These two were true Olympians, the Venus and Serena Williams of their chosen sport. We climbed back up the hill together, and I treated them to Cokes at the top. You know, to replenish their reserves…