Every Friday our lunch is coupled with a package of noodles. This time it is with a bowl of mabomen. It is spicy sauteed tofu, ground pork and lots of vegetables in a soy sauce-flavored base. The vegetables are also sauteed and have a sesame taste. Finally, the closest thing to a fish stick that I have seen in Japan.
Last week I was opening the door to my English room when I noticed that something was different. There was a new picture. And it looks like this...
'えいかいわしつ' means 'English Conversation Room'. There are some chairs, flashcards, stuffed animals and a bookshelf in the scene. And coming through the multicolored door is yours truly.
You will notice I have dark skin, pink arms, lack of any facial features (except for eyes), no hair, a hunchback and it appears a pair of capri pants. But my biggest problem with the picture: my all blue outfit.
Our final stop was the island of Jeju, which is so small that it only has two cities. Jeju City, on the Northern side of the island, is the capital and the most populated. Our hotel was on the Southern side in Seogwipo City. Despite the long taxi rides to and from the airport, there were several advantages to this part of the island.
First, we were only a 10-minute walk from the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall.
Then after walking across this bridge we explored an even smaller island.
We also visited the Jeongbang Waterfall. It is one of the few if not only waterfall that falls directly into the ocean.
That night our hotel manager suggested we go to a local barbeque restaurant. In fact, his exact words were “There are many places around here, but not that I would recommend. But this place is good.”
The next day we decided to visit and climb Seongsan Ilchubong. It is a volcanic crater formed thousands of years ago. Even though it was foggy we decided to hike to the summit (sans Staci).
And we were rewarded by our efforts with some great views.
Being at the summit was like being attacked by a foggy sandy wind monster.
But during the climb we spotted a scenic place next to the crater.
We also visited some lava tubes. They were dark, cold and wet so we did not take many pictures. Our last stop was The Trick Art Museum. It was full of many optical illusions. Here are a few...
It was nice to visit Korea, but it is nice to be back and feel at home in Japan.
In Seoul we visited the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was originally constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867. Translated into English it means 'Palace of Shining Happiness'.
This a pavilion on the palace grounds. A great place to have a party!
A photo in a traditional Korean dress (cut-out).
While in Seoul we could not resist eating at Taco Bell for a few meals.
We spent a little over 24 hours in the city of Busan. Most of our time was spent relaxing at the Shinsengae Centumcity Department Store which is the largest department store in the world. It is over 3 million square feet of shopping!
One of our days was spent in the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) and JSA (Joint-Security Area) between North and South Korea.
First, we explored Tunnel #3, which was created by either North Korea or by nature (depending on who you ask). I had never known that nature could blow itself up with dynamite. Before going into the tunnel you need the proper equipment.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside. It is just a cold damp tunnel about 2 meters high and 2 meters wide (smaller than a womp rat).
It was rainy and foggy that day so visibility was not great. Behind Staci you would normally be able to see a propaganda village in North Korea.
This is Dorasan station, which is the last train station in South Korea. It is a symbol of the desired reconciliation of the two Koreas. But...until that happens it will not get much use.
We are actually inside one of the buildings shared by North and South Korea. We got a quick picture while on the Northern side.
Yes, we do realize Staci looks like she may be eaten by this nice South Korean soldier.
On the South Korean side of the JSA.
Staci and Atra with some South Korean soldiers.
These soldiers were much friendlier.
This was a very unique experience that is not for everyone. Before considering going you should ask yourself these three questions?
1. Do you like being issued commands and/or threatened with violence?
2. Do you enjoy being screamed at in a foreign language?
3. Do you like being crammed into tiny spaces for extended periods of time?