Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haenam, or where I accidentally ate a jellyfish

A couple weekends ago, Hye Jin and I headed to Haenam for the weekend. We also went to Jindo and DdangKkeut, which kind of mixed together and I'm not entirely sure when I was in each place. I just know that our hotel was in Ddangkkeut but called "Haenam beachside hotel."

We rented a car, since everything we were seeing was very far apart.

There wasn't a GPS system, which freaked Hye Jin out. But, she had her Iphone and we used that for our GPS and I became the navigator. That really meant that the iphone told me in Korean what to do and I stared at the map hoping to get it right. Luckily, we never got lost. And we only made one wrong turn, around a round-a-bout ending up in the same spot we started.

Our first stop was Duryun Mountain in Haenam. We took a cable car up the mountain.
Here's the view from the cable car.
and again..

We hiked up the many stairs to the top of the mountain, which doesn't really seem to count since we didn't hike all the way up. But, that's ok too.

Here I am towards the top, with a great view behind me.

This was a restaurant, but Typhoon Bolaven knocked out all the windows and most of the inside, so it was closed with a lot of "DANGER DANGER" signs.

Typhoon Bolaven hit Seoul as well and caused a lot of damage there as well, as you can see.

Just kidding. It was extremely uneventful. Our classes were cancelled, but there was barely any wind or rain, even though we were supposed to get something like a foot of rain in a couple hours. The typhoon passed us completely.

But, clearly, did not completely pass Haenam or Jeju Island.

A nice couple sitting, looking at the view.

Here I am at the top of the mountain.

Once again, these are those rocks that you set and if you don't knock one down as you set one on the pile, you will have a wish/prayer come true. If you knock it over, that's very bad luck.

We then headed back down the mountain, saw a couple of adorable girls playing as we waited, and headed to lunch.
We went to a traditional restaurant, where we sat on the floor.

When we entered the room, there wasn't a table. They brought it in later with the meal and side dishes.

See look, there's my foot.

Here's our meal, with all the side dishes. It was a type of beef that was quite delicious. It reminded me of meatloaf, with a little bit of sweet taste.

The side dishes were really good as well.

I was eating the one with the arrow there. Quite a lot of it. I was thinking it was raw fish (회).

As I was eating it, Hye Jin said, "Oh that's jellyfish."

And I said, "WHAT?!"

And apparently looked extremely shocked.

She said, "I thought you knew."

But, I most definitely did not!! I accidentally ate jellyfish.

And I liked it.

So I ate more of it. Not something I ever would have thought I'd say.

The meat.
The restaurant.
We then drove to a temple. The drive was very nice.

We parked and had to walk down the pathway a bit to the temple.

There was a nice stream along the pathway.
This is the hotel directly next to the temple. You can actually stay in the temple for 24 hours and have elaborate tea ceremonies.
Or you can eat by the river in the hotel. Your choice.

Here's the entrance to the temple. I believe the temple is called Mihwangsa Temple, but I can't remember exactly.
The paintings were beautiful, of course.

This is a graveyard.

The stream again.
Me and the stream.

A flower.
And the second entrance to the temple. This is the main part, as you can see.

It was a very picturesque location. I enjoyed it a lot.

Notice the cup on top of the dragon. Just in case your thirsty.

This part of the temple had 1000 Buddhas inside.
You can kind of see them here.
Look, another dragon with a cup on his head.

A heart and some mushrooms.

This was some strategic rock stacking.

We then headed to check in to our hotel, which had a great view. Our room, however, had a great view of the sidewalk and a tree.
We hung out a little in the room, I accidentally took a nap and missed the sunset, then headed to dinner in Haenam.

We also went to this bridge that is usually lit up at night, drove about an hour to get there and it wasn't lit up. Lame.

However, I realized I hadn't been anywhere that was completely dark in a long time. I never really thought about it before, but living in Gig Harbor, there are a lot of places that have few or no streetlights. But, not in Seoul, since it's one of the biggest cities in the world. My apartment is in a nice area that doesn't have a ton of traffic or people, but it doesn't get dark. The road we were driving one was completely empty and dark, which was very nice to finally see after however many months (19! ACK!) I've been here. I was feeling very at ease. Hye Jin was scared about driving without other cars around or streetlights.

The next morning we headed to Ddangkkeut, to the southernmost part of Korea that's not an island.
We took the tram up to the top of the mountain, since we didn't have a ton of time that morning to explore.

We looked at this turtle.
Here's the observatory, which we went up of course. And looked at the view of the ocean and neighboring islands.

We then climbed down the hill to the southernmost part of Korea.

Here it is!

Well, technically I believe that rock is the southernmost part of Korea, but we couldn't climb down there.

Here I am at the point!

We then headed to get lunch before taking the bus back to Seoul.
We had Haemuljjim, which is basically spicy seafood soup. It is extremely delicious.
It starts out looking like this, they boil it and cook it completely (mom, don't worry I'm not getting brain parasites from this trip) and then you eat it.
And at the end, it looks like this.

The waitress asked me if I was Russian, because I have blue eyes. Interesting...

We then took the bus back to Seoul. It was a great trip, pretty relaxed, even with no  Mary Beth the GPS system to lead us astray and to the end of a dock in the middle of nowhere.

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