Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jeju Island

My parents and I boarded a plane for Jeju Island, which has been given the term the “Hawaii of Korea.” I’ve never been to Hawaii, so I can’t prove this theory, but it was a very pretty island. The flight was less than an hour from Seoul to Jeju and the weather was beautiful. Which was a pleasant surprise from the weather Korea had been having. It was sunny and blue skies, but it was so incredibly hot. The first day we saw the two main waterfalls in Seogwipo, the province in the southern part of the island. We also took a balloon up to get a good view of the area around.

View from our hotel roof

Jeongbang Falls
view from the balloon

the balloon
Korea's longest pedestrian walking bridge

Cheonjiyeon Waterfall

The next day we climbed Jeju’s famous volcano, Hallasan. It is the highest peak in South Korea. Unfortunately it was a foggy day so we couldn’t see much of a view. As we got higher and higher it just seemed to get foggier and foggier then….rain. Again. We walked the rest of the way to the top in the rain. I luckily had an umbrella with me, since that’s what Korean’s use - sunshine or rain. So, it wasn’t terrible, but certainly not pleasant. When we got to the top we had some raymyeon (aka cup ‘o soup) and then braved the rain for the way down. I guess you can’t expect too much mother nature during Korea’s monsoon season.

Luckily our trip wasn’t a wash out and the next day was another scorcher. I guess it didn’t make much of a difference since we were wet most of the trip between the sweat and the rain! We figured we would cool off on a submarine ride between Jeju island and a small island off the coast, Udo island.

Sunrise Peak on the far east tip of Jeju

fast little guys
soft coral!

really pretty soft coral

some "white snow" that the captain left us before we returned to the surface.

Sunrise Peak again

Worst rains of the century

July 27th, 2011
The worst rains in a century. Literally. So, this was my walk to school on my last day before summer vacation. It was like tropical downpours, but lasted for hours. My walk took me quite a bit longer than usual since I kept stopping under bridges and awnings. An umbrella did very little, the streets were turning into rivers and I was trudging through water up to my knees! Quite a crazy sight it was. Luckily there wasn’t any damage to my immediate area, but areas east of Seoul were hit quite hard. There were unfortunately even mudslides and landslides that resulted in some fatalities. I took this video while waiting under a bridge.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Namsan Tower

Finally a bright and sunny day, but HOT HOT HOT! We took a trip to the Incheon China town for lunch and shopping! We walked around exploring Korea’s China town before having lunch and heading back to Bucheon.

Hanging out on the subway down to China Town. It's clearly not a heavily traveled subway line when you get towards the end of the line.

Chinese dumplings

We then took a trip into Seoul to go to Namsan Tower, also known as N Seoul Tower.

Namsan is a 900 foot hill topped with the tower, which extents another 787 feet. We took a cable car up to the base of the tower and then had dinner with a view! We checked out the observatory at the top where you get a great view of the city of Seoul. Luckily we had a dry day and night making for a nice view.

Seoul at night

inside the observatory

the fountain on top of the hill

Dinner overlooking Seoul

Suwon, Korean Folk Village

My school vacation officially started and we headed down to Suwon, a city south of Seoul. As we were searching for lunch a downpour soaked us, but we still trekked on to the Korean Folk Village. There are about 240 homes, shops and other attractions that have been authentically reproduced to look like various regions of Korea. Some of the buildings were actually moved to the village from countryside areas. The rain seemed to hold out as we explored the village, only to have another downpour as we left. At least we had some relief from the rain!

Some very spicy ham
Folk Village
What was once probably a very small waterfall now rushing from the rains.

The previous night we had some delicious Korean barbeque with my friend Ellen!