What’s Your Number?
We threw Andrew’s natural-wonder plan out the window for the morning of Day 2 at Jeju, heading instead for coffee and bowling at G-Dragon’s joint (see The Great Coffee Tour: Untitled 2017). Upon our return, however, we tried to make up for it with a walk down to the beach on one of the trails that leads from the back of the pension.
The walkway was lovely.
What really caught our eye though, was a series of buildings that lined one side of the path. They looked like they were from the landscape of a post-apocalyptic movie set.
Mary and I couldn’t get enough of them, and desperately wanted to go inside to look around. It’s probably fortunate we were deterred by the thought of committing an actual crime in a foreign country. I was stupid enough to walk up to this break in the gate to get a better look, and managed to get covered in clothing-embedding seeds in the process. It took me the next 12 hours to pull them all out.
My images don’t capture how large the area is, and how many buildings there are. The area is enormous.
It turns out this was a multi-trillion won project ($1 AUD = 820 KRW…I’ll let you do the maths), for a seaside resort and casino, that entered into litigation and never came out, leaving it abandoned for years. Andrew seemed a bit embarrassed when I asked him about it later (as if he was personally responsible for the neighbourhood), but I hope it stays that way.
The coastline surrounding the area is gorgeous…
…and I loved capturing this bird giving us a flight show (if not very well).
I had plans for an afternoon of rest and relaxation, but those plans never seem to come off (hmm…do any?). Instead, we jumped into our little car again and took off.
For international visitors, Jeju Island has one extraordinarily helpful feature, in that each location on the island has a telephone number, and most of those numbers can be entered into your GPS (helpfully programmed to give instructions in English), for instant directions. Combined with Andrew’s suggestions and our own list of ideas, all we had to do was get in the car and type in our numbers.
First stop, Manong Chicken. I had picked up some Jeju Travel ideas from my favourite Korean food blogger, Stewart Ho (whatsstewin.blogspot.com), but Manong Chicken was one I simply couldn’t pass up. Ready yourselves for his description of Manong:
‘But within a nano second, from beneath the crusts of this fine batter unleashes the juices of the wonderfully fried chicken. I don’t even know how to explain it except it was as though each cell of the chicken meat itself had retained every last bit of the chicken’s natural juices. And in between, the bits of minced garlic adds a wonderful parallel flavor, like a beautiful meteor shot across a wide expansive field….’
Like a beautiful meteor shot across a wide expansive field. That’s just what I was going to say.
And, because Manong is just around the corner from the market, it was an easy walk to the not-insubstantial queue for the hotteok. We helped entertain those waiting with our hilarious English word, ‘seeds’…always good for a laugh. Here are the hotteok champs, him frying, her filling. I’d tell you what they’re made of, but they don’t sound remotely appetising. Mary and I bought our first one because of a sign that said, ‘They Really Are Delicious!’.
We drove around the Yongmeori Coast on our way home, a huge stretch of which was spent crawling behind a man on a bike that sounded like it had a lawnmower engine, who had his LEGS CROSSED.
The next morning, on our way to the airport, we stopped at one of our final sights on Jeju Island, the enigmatic Dokkaebi Road. Better known as Mysterious Road, it is a section of the road on the way to Jeju City that looks like an incline, but is actually on a downhill slant. We drove our car to the starting point (avoiding all the water bottle-rollers in the process), turned the engine off, put it into neutral, then let it roll. See for yourself:
I read somewhere that Jeju Island, now enjoying a resurgence of popularity, was once considered ‘that daggy place where your parents went for their holidays’, and, to be fair, Mysterious Road is far from the only daggy thing to see. There is also the Osulloc Green Tea Plantation, Hello Kitty Island, the Teddy Bear Museum, Camellia Hill, Jeju Glass Castle, and, the island’s crowning glory, Jeju Love Island, containing over 140 sculptures related to sensuality and eroticism (over 20 to enter, consider yourselves spared).
Despite having ALL their numbers, we didn’t see a one. Because although it didn’t represent a break in terms of activity, Jeju Island did give us a bit of car-driven independence. It let us punch in our numbers, and drive to wherever we wanted, playing K-pop through the bluetooth, without a care in the world…
…unless you count surviving.
Note: for the record, my driving got very good.