I ate it while it was still alive!

I ate it while it was still alive!

To continue… After lunch, Jaeeun bought some orange chocolates here that Jeju is famed for. I think they are really delicious and you can find variations sold all over the island. They also have a lot of tangerine trees here. The administrators bought some tangerines for us. They were very sweet and delicious.

We also stopped by a store for more ice cream. However, the front seat always takes the chocolate flavors when we pass them out. I think this was good though because it made me try some of the flavors that they have in Korea but not in the US like melon-flavored.

After all these snacks, we were all pretty full. We drove to a black sand beach where we planned to begin a 17 kilometer hike to see a couple of waterfalls.

First, we briefly met with Professor Ahn, a GIST professor of economics. He kindly bought us ice cream, but I was so full! I couldn’t just let the ice cream melt but I was panicking about being able to eat it. Binnie told me, “You can do it!” and so I tried. It was super delicious, so it wasn’t difficult once I started. I guess I always have room for ice cream.

The waves were HUGE because the typhoon was so near. It was really incredible. It made me want to write a poem or to paint it or something. I don’t really know how to describe how awe-inspiring the force of nature was, and these pictures hardly do it justice.

There were even people fishing and swimming in this weather!

The houses and the whole atmosphere of the island was attractive to me. I think I would like to live on an island someday. Not for a long time, but for a year maybe. Living in such an enclosed and isolated area would be different from anywhere I’ve lived before, so I think it would be an interesting experience to have.

While we were walking, Binnie told me that an alternate name for Jeju is Samdado, or Three everything island. This is because Jeju is famous for having a lot of three things: wind, women, and rocks. The men who went to sea to fish would often die, leaving mostly women on the island.

We also saw a very sad thing on our hike. The wind from the coming typhoon was strong enough that it broke part of a birds nest and blew the babies away. We saw four dead baby birds on the ground and an adult bird jumping around in a high tree next to the broken nest. I couldn’t bear to take a photo of this, so here is another picture of the sea instead:

After we hiked for 10 km, we reached the first waterfall. It was just above the sea, so we had to hike down a staircase to see it. The waves were really high, though, and so only a few of us actually ventured to the bottom to see it. Every few minutes, a huge wave would crash against the staircase and cover most of it with water, so you had to be careful where and when you stepped.

After we left the waterfall we stopped by a snack stand where we bought more Jeju chocolate and some drinks. I tried a tea based on corn. It was interesting, but not my favorite. While we were resting, we found out that the viewing platform we had just been on had been closed on account of the typhoon. Because of this, and because the hike was taking longer than we expected, we didn’t go to the second waterfall and instead went to a small free museum about Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang (First emperor of China; the guy buried with all of the terracotta warriors) and Xi Fu. There was also an adorable little dog running around the museum. We tried to get it to play with us, but it loved its master too much and would always run after him after only a few seconds with us.

I was sad that we would not finish the hike, but Jaeeun was overjoyed.

We had a brief stop at an art museum built in a famous artist’s house.

He used a lot of different mediums, including drawing on tin foil. This painting was not by him, but I really liked it. Often Korea does seem to be this green.

Inseok Ham had gotten a train whistle somewhere that he was really enjoying playing with. He blew it whenever we started off or arrived somewhere in the van. He is definitely a guy who likes to horse around.

Finally we headed to dinner at a sushi restaurant. However, only the first dish was what I would have called sushi in the US. Each piece had a small bed of rice with wasabi and raw fish as the topping. We had both wasabi and soy sauce to dip in along with a red and slightly spicy sauce. The rest of the dishes were like no sushi I had eaten before. One was lettuce wrapped around raw fish, peanut butter, roe, and maybe some other things. We also had sashimi and some fried dishes. Other seafood was simply served raw without garnishes.

And, now, the part you’ve all been waiting for: Some of it was served still alive. When they brought this dish out, I thought I saw one of the pink tubular things move, but surely it was my eyes playing tricks on me? Nope. The pink tubes were alive and actively crawling around.

They weren’t wriggling or anything; just slowly lengthening and compressing as they moved. Out of the students, only Sylvia and I actually ate them. I doused it in the red sauce and tried to chew it as quickly as possible. It wasn’t as bad as I feared; a little chewy, but not very flavorful. It was very difficult to pick up since it was moving and slippery, so I don’t think it was worth the effort to eat. I wonder if maybe it is just served for the shock value.

We finished up the dinner with fish head soup. It was good, but pretty spicy. We ate it by mixing the soup with rice and making it into a kind of porridge.

Finally, we returned to the hotel. All the boats were canceled for Sunday, but some of the students were going to try to fly that day instead. A few of us, me included, planned to wait until Monday instead.

In my next post, I will tell you about when Typhoon Muifa hit. According to the Korean news, it was the strongest typhoon in 40 years! (I think. Sometimes the language barrier confuses me…)