Category: Korea


Gyeongju

I went to Gyeongju over the past weekend, which is well known for being a historic city. It has more UNESCO sites than the rest of Korea combined. Most of them are burial mounds. Some were excavated by Sweden, but I’m not sure why. If there are two close to one another they are King and Queen.

You’re allowed to go inside one of them as well, however you have to pay for that. It’s 1,500 for adult entry, but also allows you into a beautiful park as well. It’s difficult to get pictures inside the mound, as it is dark and everything that was inside is behind glass. You’re also not allowed to take pictures, which I saw on the way out, but there was no one there to stop me anyway.

After this we went to Cheomseongdae which was built between 632-647 and is the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia. It was filled with dirt up to the 12th layer of exterior stones (which are quite large) and people could observe from there up to the 15th layer.

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There is a bug bus that goes around this area as well, which is super cute! This park includes a few mounds, places to keep ice, the tower above, rapeseed fields, old buildings, and at the time, a concert area.

Gyeongju 052From there we went to Anapji Pond, which is very beautiful, manicured, and mostly reconstructed.

Gyeongju 076 Gyeongju 096Nearby is the National Museum, which I didn’t find too interesting. Most is reconstructions of things you will see around the town. Also, the main part is closed right now. Good thing it’s free.

Stayed at Potato Motel which gave us a 10,000 discount from 70,000 to 60,000 when I made a face. Dinner at Han’s Deli was pretty good, but mine was too spicy. If we weren’t too tired, we probably would have sat there for longer so I could eat, but I was going to fall asleep from walking around in 90% humidity and 30C weather.

The next day we went to Bulguksa Temple which is accessible via the 10 or 11 bus which cost 1,500 won each (fitting, as the bus ride takes about half an hour). Be sure to get off at the stop next to the parking lot, not another with a similar name that is surrounded by shops. From the bus stop, go up the right walkway as it goes though a park where people are selling food, drinks and standard Korean souvenirs (the left is for cars but has a sidewalk as well).

At the top you have to pay an entrance fee of 4,000.

Once inside you walk quite a bit more. All of the stonework is original, as that was not effected when Japan burned them down (of course it wasn’t effected, and of course Japan burned it down–like everything in Korea at some point…). However, this was burned down far before the 1911 invasion.

There is still reconstruction going on. Behind the main temple and the largest stairs photoed below you can see a building which ruins the photo. We had to go around and up to see that that is where the reconstruction is going on, and the building is to protect the pieces. Current reconstruction is of a pagoda which had a crack on the 3rd level.

Gyeongju 150We had just missed the bus to go to Seokguram (they leave every hour on the hour) and it was too hot to walk the 30-50 minutes so we headed back.

Buses to Busan leave every hour on the hour, except around 6:00 when they leave at 6:00, 6:40, and then 7:40, 8:40….etc.

Buses there from Busan leave every 30 minutes.

Mudfest

Mudfest is a festival in Boryeong that goes on for 9 or so days in July. It takes about 2 hours from Seoul or 5 hours from Busan on a bus, but you can take the KTX as well. There’s groups that leave from Busan and Seoul (and I’m sure other cities and towns) so you don’t have to worry about planning anything.

Mudfest 003There is some free mud, but most you have to pay to get into an area where there are slides and the like but the lines are massive. In hindsight I wish I had not gone there because we didn’t go in for long because we didn’t want to wait an hour (with no food or drinks) in the sun to get back into mud. The one that we did do was fun, where you run and jump onto a slide, like slip n slide but inflated. There were some rocks on it though, which I think was from peoples feet.

The beach there was nice because it had real waves! That’s something we’re not used to in Busan and one guy got hit with a wave so hard he fell and got all cut up! He was okay though. Going in the ocean is great for cleaning off if you don’t want to go all the way back to the minbok (the place we were staying, and it seemed like everyone was staying) which is like a hostel but you sleep on the floor.

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At one point, the Blue Eagles were there and did a mini-show.

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At night my friends played music and there were fireworks.

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Temple Stay

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The monthly event at Hongbeopsa Temple for July was a temple stay. As opposed to being free, like all their other events are, this one was 20,000 won, compared to 40,000-50,000 for other temple stays.

At 3pm we arrived, checked in, went to our rooms and changed. Next, we had orientation and met a monk from Texas. She came to Korea in 2001 as a teacher and in 2004 became an ordained monk. She had to travel 5 hours to be with us for the temple stay. I am very grateful that she came because she was able to better explain everything we were doing, why we did it as well as what our Western perceptions were as opposed to what is real.

There are two main ways to hold your hands. One is pushed together, so no light gets though, with your arms flat. The other is to hold your right hand in your left hand, because the right does the bad things, and place them just below your belly button. This is where our energy comes from, and where breathing comes from when we are younger–if you look at a baby, their stomach moves when they breath, not their chest. It is also important to have good posture, to make breathing easier.

Then, we did the Heart Sutra which is the ‘heart’ of Buddhism. Overall, it is about emptiness, which is not negative, but rather just a different state.

After we had a break and then silent dinner, which was not too silent because the head monk kept giving us directions on how to lay out our bowls, how to receive the food, how to eat, and how to clean. It lasted an hour and a half but was only silent for about 20 minutes.

You are given 4 bowls that are wrapped in a cloth, with a place mat folded underneath, napkin on top, and chopsticks and a spoon on top of that.

Everything must be taken apart in a special way. Untied, folded in half, the napkin and utensils placed on your left knee, and then the tie is folded in half again. The lid is then removed from the bowls and the tie is placed on top. Then, the  place mat is unfolded in a the bowls are placed in the left bottom square–this one is for rice. The 2nd largest goes in the right bottom square–this one is for soup. The 3rd largest goes in the right top square–this is for water. The 4th largest (smallest) goes in the left top square–this one is for ‘side dishes’–vegetables and tofu as well as a yellow squash to clean the bowls after.  The utensils are placed in the water bowl and the napkin on top of tie.

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The water is then poured into the largest bowl, swirled around, poured right, swirled around, poured diagonal, swirled around, poured right. Next rice is served and we place it to our foreheads to say thanks. Next, soup is served, then the side dishes are passed.

When you eat, you must hold your bowl up to your face so no one sees your eating face. This just made us look around the room a lot–I kept finding my eyes were wandering.

To clean warm rice water was poured into the rice bowl and you had to use the yellow squash to clean it by pressing the squash against the bowl with chopsticks. This was poured right, and diagonal. After, we drank the hot rice water so there was no waste. We were also supposed to eat the yellow squash which I find disgusting so I did not eat it. A bunch of ladies in training tried to force me but the head monk made them stop. The hot rice water was not bad to drink, it was just chunky and pulpy which I also find disgusting–I always buy no pulp. Finally the water was poured around the bowls again and then poured into large buckets. Finally, we put the bowls back together with the lid on and place them in a crate and the napkin and other cloth items in another crate with the utensils.

Next we had another recess followed by meditation. First we did chanting, which was done in Korean so only the Koreans and the Texas monk chanted–everyone else just followed their actions of bowing. Next was sitting silent meditation for 30 minutes, followed by silent walking for 10, then silent sitting again for 20. During the sitting, we had our hands in another position: making a circle with our fingers overlapping on the bottom and the thumbs just touching on the top. They should not be pushing but just enough together to hold a piece of paper up.

A good way to clear your mind and not zone out is to count to 10 or to chant something in your head that you want to change.  Meditation should not be something where you are repressing other thoughts; my favorite metaphor she used for this was that a rock does not stop grass growing forever–when you pick up the rock, the grass will grow again.

Next we had fruit and went to our rooms at 10. Some people sounded like they were throwing a party which was frustrating since we had to be outside at 4:00. At 10:30 the noise stopped completely though.

At 4am we went outside and did walking meditation around the grounds and then into the temple. We then did 30 minutes of silent sitting meditation followed by the 108 bows which seemed to go by quickly. I was not counting, but it took about 10 for me to get into a rhythm and at about 70 I was just falling to my knees, not going down slowly; however for the last 10 I was back into a rhythm. After, we did walking meditation next to a river which was beautiful. By the time we started walking the sun had come up and rose beautifully behind the Buddha statue atop the temple.

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Next was a little break followed by picking up leaves, as monks need to be self sufficient and this was our lesson in that.

After was breakfast which was rice, vegetables, tofu, and bean sprout soup. Again, we cleaned our own bowls but this time we were able to use sinks.

Next we made bracelets which was frustrating. We put beads onto string, which was then tied in a certain way that I never saw because it was taken from me, then given back assuming I knew what she did when her hands were covering anything I was supposed to see. It reminded me of kite making where we were supposed to do the work but everyone came over and did everything for us. Not what I signed up for. I figured out how to continue doing the loop she had done and finished but she laughed at it because it was a spiral and not straight. Oh well, it worked. Many others had the same problem and had a monk make theirs for them. After we finished the drawstring part we added on beads at the ends of the drawstrings and did a different loop there. We were all given one large bead and told not to use it. I then had to give it back to the person leading us. Strange. There were also bracelets made by monks that were supposed to be given by the best 3–and none were given to anyone. Stranger.

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We ended up leaving at 10:30 instead of 10:00 so it was impossible for me to make the hike that was going on on Sunday. I should have known better because these events always end late.

The coy fish were acting strange. Kissy kissy!

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ATVing and White Water Rafting

This past weekend I went with Korea Bus Tour Adventures (run out of Busan by one foreigner–American or Canadian, I’m not sure–and one Korean) to Sancheong in Gyeongsangnam-do to go ATVing (or paintballing) and white water rafting with 산청월드레포츠 (or Sancheong world leports in English).

The short: don’t go there.

I don’t blame Korea Bus Tour Adventures, but they could have done more research to find out how bad the ATVs and lunch were. And they could have made sure that if we took two buses that the company would have space for all of us.

The company sent drivers to pick us up. One got lost making us half an hour later. Due to the strict timing of the tour, this was no good. For a group of two tour buses, the timing should never be that strict.

I heard paintballing was fine.

There were two groups for the ATVs. We all paid for one hour. This was cut to twenty minutes because of the number of people. From the way our leaders acted, they did not know this would happen and Sancheong world leports had said they could deal with that many people. I’m not sure though.

My group went pretty slow. However, that was fine for me because I only had one working break–I don’t mean the front worked and not the back, I mean the front right worked and nothing else–so if I went fast at all and had to slow down I would spin and at one point only had two tires on the ground which I was not happy with. 20 minutes on that death machine was fine with me. Mine was not the only one like that. Others would never pick up speed. Others would not pick up unless you pushed ALL the way forward. Others would turn off and back on. Others would turn off and never turn back on leading to one person having to share with the guide. Our guide was also racist and let some people go twice (we had to be split into two more groups to be able to all go) but not the black people. While we waited they got some of the girls to pose and took photos on their camera phones (don’t what to know what those photos are going to be used for) and professional cameras (which I assume will be used for advertising)

The other group, so I’m told, just went to one spot and another taking photos, never picking up speed or going near mud.

If you see ads from this company with westerners in the photos, no one signed a thing and no one was happy.

Lunch was a choice of bibimbap or pork and rice. I had the bibimbap and felt sick for half of the next day; there was also only two vegetables in it. The people who ordered pork started to get less and less every time it was ordered because they were running out.

White water rafting was uneventful white water wise but still fun because of splashing and the Korean on our boat freaking out. The safety demo was way too long, we think it was so they could say we spent more time on the water. And the guide here was creepily staring at me before he was our guide.

I went to Gwangju in the Fall and we didn’t get to see the Peace Park or Cemetery because one of the people I went with had already been there. We ended up wandering around more than anything else and getting a bit lost.

Gwangju is famous for student uprisings against the dictator during 1980-81.

After arriving we went to Shinsagae to grab lunch again and started walking towards the Memorial Park, also called Peace Park. which is starred below on GoogleMaps. I hope you can tell which one is the park. It’s the opposite direction of Shinsagae. The A is just what shows up when you type in Gwangju.

Bus station to Memorial Park

The park was pretty small, although it looks pretty big on the map. We unknowingly walked though all of it looking for a spot to have lunch. When you walk in from the North entrance, you see the statue below.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 023Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 028Behind the statue, there is an entrance to more of the memorial, the area where they have the names of the dead written on the walls.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 034After that we took a taxi back to the bus station where we got an hour long bus to the cemetery. It is bus 518 to make things easier. I found out later that you can take it from the Peace Park as well. They come about every half an hour.

From the bus stop you walk though the parking gate, past the parking lot to the entrance.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 055 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 084To the right there is the Yuyeongbonganso which is the place to put the portraits of the deceased May 18 democratic persons of merits. This is not just people who died during the massacre, but also people who were there and recently died.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 105To the right is a museum. This included a detailed history, watched that had stopped when a person got shot or blown up, flags covered in blood, paintings people had done, a building the way things used to be, a machine gun, knife, a billy club, rocks covered in blood, dioramas, and a never ending stream.

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One of the more interesting things I saw: The Joint Investigation Headquarters fabricated the truth about the May 18 Democratic Uprising by forcing false confessions through torture of the detainees. The people who fought for democracy and justice against the Gwangju massacre by the new military government were now arrested and sentenced to death or lifetime imprisonment by the military court for the crime of high treason and sedition. The injured who were being treated in hospital were forced to leave.

Another interesting thing:

The Gwangju Massacre, the outcome of weapons of betrayal following the order for treason!

A 30-year-old deaf and dumb man was clubbed to death,

a 19-year-old girl was stabbed int he chest and short in the stomach,

a 60-year-old man trying to stop the killing of the innocent was beaten to death,

13-shots were fixed at a woman on her way to her grandfather’s ancestral rite,

an 8-month pregnant woman was shot to death as she waited for her husband in an alleyway,

a 4th grader was shot to death as he looked for a shoe he had lost when running away from the madness,

a middle school student was shot to death while swimming in a reservoir,

an old lady hiding under a manhole and a 70-year old man holding his breath in his house were shot to death,

and a 5-year old child was killed and buried in Gwangju, in May 1980!

People just called this the “Gwangju incident” for more than then years,

And those in power called it the suppression of a riot for social stability.

They called Gwangju a city of Communists,

though all people asked for was the truth about the brutally murdered bodies.

However, Gwangju could not be silenced though death as they wanted.

The next information plaque said the following and more:

The person who was the 11th and 12th President was given a life sentence and the Minister of Home Affairs and the 13th President was given a 17 year prison sentence.

Further left, is the door of history, historical square, outdoor performing place, sungmoru (the castle-type building that old casatles monito red the surroundings), and the second cemetery. Below is the sungmoru.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 162The way to the cemetery and back you will go past some graffiti.

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Jeju Overview

I went to Jeju Island (Jejudo) this past weekend (June 22-23 2013) to hike Hallasan, see the sunrise from Seongsan, go to the lava caves (all 3 are UNESCO sites) and go to Love Land. There were a few other things we were able to do along the way.

Before I get into those smaller things, here’s a few tips or facts about Jeju in June/Summer:

  • Humid to the point where it is sticky
  • Many many many bugs
  • A few options for jimjilbangs to sleep at, which you can find via Google or the TripAdvisor chat boards
  • There is a great guide to get from the airport that is green and tells you about all the attractions on the island (not in any real order, mind you, just schedules as to what they think you should do as a foreigner, couple, family, or solo)
  • There is also a great bus information sheet you can get at the airport too. While it does not have times, it tells you which bus to take to get where, how long it takes and how much it is. I have posted some of the timings on the Hallasan and Seongsan posts.
  • Taxi drivers might be a bit pushy, but push back and don’t let them try to take you to town when you just want to go to the bus stop
  • A lot of the land is dedicated to growing Jeju Oranges and raising horses, cows and goats

There is a maze near the lava cave, about 500 meters away. Kimnyoung Maze Park. It is meant for kids but they won’t stop adults and they will hold your backpack for you. There is a beautiful garden here, and you get to ring a bell when you finish the maze. Just keep in mind that the green part on the map is not the hedges…It costs 3,200 to get in but you get a 500 won discount if you say that you walked there instead of taking a taxi.

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Not much to say about Love Land for those who know what it is…if you don’t it’s other name is Penis Park because of all the penis statues, boob statues, and statues of people having sex. It costs 9,000 to get in, but children and older people get a discount. That’s right.

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After this we stopped by the Jeju Museum of Art as it is right next to Love Land and was seemingly free…The ticket booth only had signs for the special exhibit and that cost so we thought we just wouldn’t go though it. Little did we know we would be pushed though it, you were supposed to pay 1,000 won to enter anyway and there was no one to check tickets.

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From Seongsan (Ilchulbong) you can take the Ilju Road East Direction (Road No. 1132) but going in the west direction (the Ilju Road West Direction goes West from Terminal). It will take 40 minutes and cost 1,000 won. A few buses go by the Seongsan Office stop so make sure to ask the bus driver if the bus goes to Man-jang-gul. If you’re going from Terminal, get on the same bus but it will take 50 minutes and cost 2,000 won.

From the bus stop you can walk 2.5 kilometers or take a taxi. We walked there and took the taxi back and the walk was quite nice. There was no sidewalk for more than half of it. Just before the caves there is a maze (500 meters before the cave).

You need to pay 2,000 won to go into the cave and it is 1,000 meters long (well, 1,000 meters that you can access). The second you walk down you will feel a change in the temperature and humidity which was a VERY welcome break. There is a sign saying to not speak loudly, take photos, or take creatures out of the cave. Since it’s Korea you can’t expect people to not be loud–it’s not the subway–and I assume they meant no flash. I, sadly, saw no creatures to steal. This was specified by a later sign with pictures of bats but I still didn’t see them.

There were a lot of informational signs inside, however many people seemed to just blow past them to get to the end. None were very extensive and I found them interesting.

Some overview: Manjanggul cave is a 7.4 km-long lava tube locally with a multi-level structure. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world having a main passage with a width of up to 18 meters and a height of up to 23 meters. Numerous lava tubes are found worldwide, but Manjanggul Lava Tube is an outstanding example because it has well-preserved passage shapes and internal micro-topographic features in spite of its very old age. Thus the cave possesses significant scientific and conservation values. Three entrances to the cave developed due to a collapse of the ceiling, with the Second Entrance being the one used by tourists. A variety of lava formations and decorations, such as lava stalactites, lava stalagmites, flow lines, lava benches and lava rafts are present. The 7.6 meter high lava column is known to be the largest lava column in the world.

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Lava flow lines: When lava flows in a tube, the level of the flow is often recorded on the walls. These features are called lava flow lines. Numerous flow lines are found in Manjanggul Lava Tube, indicating that the level of lava flows was falling continuously inside the active tube.

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Rock falls: Abundant rock fragments that fell from the ceiling are found on the floor of lava tubes. They fall from the ceiling either during or after the lava-tube formation. The fallen rocks rest on the floor of lava tubes when the lava stopped to flow and is solidified. Otherwise, fallen rocks are either carried away down stream by active lava flows or melted down.

Lava Raft: A lava raft is formed when rock fragments from the ceiling or sidewall fall during lava flow and then are carried away by lava before settling and solidifying at a certain location. In some cases, fallen rocks are completely coated by lava to form mound-like or ball-like lava rafts, which are called lava balls. The one photoed here is called Turtle Raft and resembles Jeju Island and is a symbol of Manjanggul Lava Tube.

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Quartzite fragments: Most rockfall debris in Manjanggul consists of basaltic rocks but also comprises light-colored rocks, called quartzite, that are distinguished from basalt. These rock fragments, ranging between 1 and 5 centimeters in size, are interpreted to have been derived from the metamorphic basement rocks and then incorporated into the lava flow.

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Lava shelves: Lava shelves form when the liquid lava, only partially filling the tube, is accreted and hardened on the cooler walls. Lava shelves are further divided into lava balconies and lava benches by their shapes. (I feel like the people naming things just got lazy here and looked outside).

Lava toe: Lava toes formed when the lava flowing though the upper-level tube poured down though a  floor opening into the lava tube below. The poured-down lava flowed in a series of elongated and entangled lava lobes, each of which is reminiscent of an elephant toe, giving it its name. (I don’t see it)

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Lava flow stones: Lava flow stones form as the heat of lava melts the ceiling and walls inside a lava tube. The melted lava flows down the walls and take on varying sizes and shapes depending on the temperature and amount of lava. The lava flow stones also form when liquid lava inside the wall seeps out though small holes.

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Lava Column: A lava column forms when lava pours down from the ceiling to the floor and congeals. Lava columns are found in many lava tubes elsewhere around the world. However, the 7.6 meter-high lava column in Manjanggul Lava Tube is the largest lava gest known. The lava poured down from the ceiling spread across the floor of the lower passage and made well-developed lava toes.

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Here’s some photos I just likedJeju 272 Jeju 293 Jeju 301 Jeju 307

Outside, there is a Lava Column Cascade which is a fancy name for a cascade, like above, that has been turned into a water fountain. There is also a convenience store, bathrooms, water fountains and a restaurant.

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While we were on Jejudo (Jeju Island) it was cloudy nearly the whole time, and that included the morning of Sunday, when we wanted to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong, or the sunrise peak. At times you could not even see the mountain, and I wasn’t too upset because all the pictures that you see of it are with beautiful skies so this gives a different perspective.

You can take the bus that says Ilju Road East Direction (Road Number 1132) to ‘Seongsan (Ilchulbong)’ as it says on the map or ‘Seongsan Office’ as it says over the bus speakers and at the bus stop. This will take 90 minutes from Terminal and cost 3,000 won.

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The bus goes along the coast so I was able to take some nice pictures there as well.

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Once arriving at Seongsan Office we were a bit concerned as it might have been better to get off at the next stop–Seongsan Entrance–so we walked there and then left to the ‘beach’. There is great view of Seongsan from here, and it is where people who want to go scuba diving can leave from.

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From there we walked toward Seongsan and to Dongamsa Temple, which is right in front. At this time I thought it would be great to get a picture with the sign and mountain in the background but went to the bathroom first…to come back to no mountain! The clouds had come in in those 5 minutes and the mountain was hidden. We waited 10 minutes and it came out again though.

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Walking further past Seongsan you get to the entrance where you have to pay 2,000 won to go in. We didn’t want to go up because our legs hurt from hiking Hallasan the day before, there were a million people and it was beyond humid to the point where you just felt sticky. Plus with all the clouds you would not be able to see out. However the sign said it would take 50 minutes return to go to the top and back. There is another observatory to the left of the mountain that allows for great pictures of both the mountains and famous female divers. They are ‘grandmas’ who dive to the bottom without masks to get shellfish for the local restaurants. They put on shows at 1:30pm and 3:00pm.

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From there we took the bus to the Lava Caves, bus stop Manjanggul (ManJang Cave) which takes 40 minutes and costs 1,000 won.

This weekend I went to Jejudo (Jeju Island)! It’s a special part of Korea that has 7 UNESCO sites and is considered a honeymoon spot as well as an adventure area.

Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea (and one of the sites). It is easier to climb than the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks because it is a volcano, and thus not as steep. Only two paths go up to the top: Seongpanak (the way we went up) and Gwaneumsa (the way we went down). You have to get to certain points by certain times, depending on the sunlight. For Seongpanak, you have to get to Jindalrae Office by 12pm in November-February, 12:30pm in March, April, September, October, and 1pm from May though August. This Office takes 3 hours to get to from the start, according to maps. For Gwaneumsa, you have to get to Samgakbong Shelter by the same times as Jindalrea Office on the Seongpanak trail, but I’m not sure how long that takes to go up–I believe it is longer as I read that it was harder.

From the Airport, you can take the 100 bus to Terminal for 1,000 won, then the 5.16 Road bus to Seong-panak for 1,500 won. The Jeju book says that you can take a bus to Gwaneumsa, but at the Airport they said you could not. Also there was none when we came down and we took a taxi to town for 15,000 won (should be about 20,000 won to the airport, or from the airport if you want to start on this hike). See below for the bus times from terminal.

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We arrived at the start of the park at 10:30 (should get there at 10:00 to start) to a ticket lady who was telling us we had to rush…but she kept talking and talking…anyway, you will go past Sara shelter, a detour (which takes 40 minutes return that we did not have) called SaraOreum Observatory, and then Jindalrae Shelter. We made it though! with 6 minutes to spare before 1:00! Myself and everyone who had just gotten there before us or arrived after were very excited but when I gave a thumbs up to the guy in the box with the loudspeaker he just seemed bored…so be warned of him!

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From Jindalrea Shelter it should take 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the top of the volcano/mountain. It is mostly wooden stairs. The view on the way up isn’t amazing…compared to whats on the other side!

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You ‘have’ to leave the top by 2:30 to be sure to make it to the bottom before dark but I didn’t see anyone enforcing that rule (again, a guy in a box with a loudspeaker).

The walk down via Gwaneumsa was beautiful. There were more places to stop and a bridge that looked a lot like the one we went over for the Jagged Ridge Hike. There was also a warning for falling rocks so be careful! Also some cooled lava to walk over, and an old cave for storing ice. The last 1 hour and 30 minutes of this trail is a nature walk, so there are a lot of information signs about wildlife and vegetation which was pretty interesting. Jeju 121 Jeju 134 Jeju 138Jeju 158 Jeju 162

From here, as stated above, we took a taxi to town for dinner, as the only restaurant at the bottom was closed.

Natural Dyeing

This month, the event at the Buddhist temple that I went to twice before.

The handout they gave us had this written on it:

Origins of Natural Dye

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources – roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood – and organic sources such as fungi and lichens.

Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects have been traced back more than 5,000 years. The essential process of dyeing changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water and then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, which is heated and stirred until the color is transferred. Textile fiber may be dyed before spinning (dyed in the wool), but most textiles are yarn-dyed or piece-dyed after weaving. Many natural dyes require the use of chemicals called mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibers; tannin from oak galls, salt, natural alum, vinegar, and ammonia from stale urine were used by early dyers. Many mordants, and some dyes themselves, produce strong odors, and large-scale dyeworks were often isolated in their own districts.

A variety of plants produce red dyes, including a number of lichens, henna, alkanet or dyer’s bugloss, asafoetida and madder. Madder and related plants of the Rubia family are native to many temperate zones around the world, and have been used as a source of good red dye since prehistory.

Process of Natural Dye

The essential process of dyeing requires soaking the material containing the dye (the dyestuff) in water, adding the textile to be dyed to the resulting solution (the dyebath), and bringing the solution to a simmer for an extended period, often measured in days or even weeks, stirring occasionally until the color has evenly transferred to the textiles.

Some dyestuffs, such as indigo and lichens, will give good color when used alone; these dyes are called direct dyes or substantive dyes. The majority of plant dyes, however, also require the use of a mordant, a chemical used to “fix” the color in the textile fibers. These days are called adjective dyes. By using different mordants, dyers can often obtain a variety of colors and shares from the same dye. Fibers or cloth may be pretreated with mordants, or the mordant may be incorporated in the dyebath. In traditional dyeing, the common mordants are vinegar, tannin from oak bark, sumac, or oak galls, ammonia from stale urine, and wood-ash liquor or potash (potassium carbonate) made by leaching wood ashes and evaporating the solution. (Above is from Wikipedia.)

 

I was a bit disappointed to see ‘taken from Wikipedia’ but still.

They gave us an explanation as well, saying that the green dye had plants (mud something…it looked like seaweed) and the red dye had flowers. I can’t remember what the brown dye had in it. I guess another time they had bright blue and yellow as well.

We started with a pot of dye that we had to bring to a near boil and throw all of our rags in.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 217We had to push the handkerchiefs/bandannas around in the dye, wearing two pairs of gloves. The little kids did most of this part.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 229It was then transferred to another bowl and the dye master helped us!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 233It was then put back into the pot to boil, and the second bowl had water and a binding powder added to it. It was rinsed back and forth between the dye and the binding water. After it was rinsed in cold water.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 242The final product!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 241 Baseball and Natural Dyeing 262