Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jeju's Seokgulam Trail


Ryan, my greatest of friends from my first year in Jeju, told me before he left of a mysterious temple in the middle of the wilderness at the top of a long hike.  I wonder if Seokgulam temple is what he was talking about???  

Not to be confused with the extremely famous and impressive Seokguram temple near Gyeongju, the Seokgulam temple in Jeju is it's own little jem.  The trail is relatively a short 1.5km and has been recently improved due to it's location in the now designated World Heritage Site in Hallasan National Park.  Apparently very popular with the locals, especially on Sundays, you might not necessarily hike alone like I did.  The temple was built in 1947 and when I get around to it later this week, I'll try and translate some of the sign for the historical information ;) 

When I got up to the top, I met a wonderful foreigner who is staying at the temple and studying buddhism with the head monk.  She gave me a very nice tour, and explained some of the buddhist symbols and prayer spaces to me.  In the Korean and buddhist traditions, I was offered more fruit than I could handle and had a great conversation.  It turned out that he is from the same small town where my little brother just moved!   What a small world.



The Seokgulam trailhead is located halfway up the driveway to Cheonwangsa Temple off the 1139 on the way to Eorimok.

View Daily Shot of Jeju in a larger map

Monday, May 21, 2012

Partial Solar Eclipse


This is my second eclipse to see in Jeju.  It's always eerie when the sky gets dark on a bluebird day.  It was only a partial eclipse, but it really did get quite a lot darker. In fact, as I post this, it's still a bit dark! 

On this picture, I especially like the rainbow reflections coming off of the sun.  The reflections show you better how much of the sun was actually covered.  Amazing!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quiz Night at La Vie

The Losers of La Vie's Quiz Night

La Vie is somewhat of a foreigner institution in the Shin-Jeju area, the western part of Jeju City.  It's run by the ever friendly and wise Young-Suk (pronounced Sook). Every other week, there's a quiz on Friday night at 9:00pm.  The difficulties of the questions changes with the host but the fun stays the same.  I'm not a regular, so I found myself in the midst of an incredibly friendly, albeit unaware about American culture, Japanese team.  Miles's questions seemed equally hard, if not a little nerdier than Matt's but there was good times around.  One of the highlights for me was the scavenger hunt, where a team put a mountain bike on the table for their piece of sports equipment.

I don't blame the Japanese teammates for my lack of ability, but we did have to wear the dunce caps for getting last place.  Better luck next time!

Quiz night is Non-Smoking

Young-Suk and Sam with her hand-knitted sweater

La Vie is located in Shin Jeju close to The Jeju Grand Hotel.  It's behind the new Starbucks and the Milano Hotel.

View Daily Shot of Jeju in a larger map

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring Flowers on Hamdeok Beach


The weather has been fantastic lately.  For the second post in a row, the photo was taken about a month ago, so the canola flowers have now come and gone.  They were pretty amazing this year, but I missed most of them to be honest.  Things have been quite busy at school this semester with my studying and teaching, so I haven't gotten to go out as much as usual.  Fortuantely, there's just three more teaching weeks in this semester, and after that, I'll have plenty of extra time.  Also, next week is the Jeju University Festival, so I'll have some time off from teaching but that just means more time studying.  Come June, I'll take some time to go hiking again and maybe get working on my Oreum project at long last.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Bloom


I took this picture a month ago (April 11).  Spring is in full bloom on Jeju now though.  I'd like to make it up to the mountain on Friday to get some photos of the Azaleas.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Settlers of Catan: An Addiction


Troy, Jung A, Suyeon playing Settlers of Catan at my place

This is our addiction. In the past couple of years, there's been a wave of playing boardgames among my friends.  We started out with simple cardgames like Hearts, and then moved onto other games like Rummikub  and Scrabble.  However, though them all, we can't stop playing Catan.  It's really a bit of an addiction for us...You can't stop playing Catan after just one game.

If you don't know what it is, it's a settling game.  You build settlements on resources and you have to trade those resources for others to build more roads and settlements. Each settlement is a point and each upgrade to a city is a point.  The first to 10 points wins.  The beauty is that the games usually only last about an hour and they're generally pretty close in that everyone seems to have a chance to win every game.  It's not rare to have three of the four players to have a chance of winning on the last turn.  Trading is part of the game and you have to barter, so you can't sit there silently.  It's a very social game and almost never boring.  I suggest it to anyone also who is trying to learn Korean also to play it too, it forces you to speak and can be a fun way to practice using your language.  Some of my friends now use it in their English Teaching classes, too.  They say that their classes have never been better.  They go from building the boards to playing the game.

Unfortunately, in our little circle the girls have been winning pretty consistently the last two sessions.  The boys will get them next time! Even if the games last until 6am!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A room with a view, and a light


Here's a photo of some of my close friends in Korea, Nopy, Seong Hong, and Seobi.  I met them though the Swing Dancing club and they've really been good friends to me, probably more than I deserve!  This is at their office of Nopy's new e-business, Like Jeju.  Nice view, huh? You can see the ocean right beyond those buildings.

Look for them on Facebook: LIKE JEJU

The picture was kind of salvaged from an extremely underexposed photo.  It's encouraging me to buck up the bucks and try out Aperture instead of just simply using iPhoto for my pictures on my new mac.  I'm in desperate need of some photo editing and organizational software.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cherry Blossoms


Just realized that I didn't post any cherry blossom pictures!  Here's what the cherry blossoms looked like at the bus stop in front of my apartment building.  The cherry blossoms at the entrance of Jeju National University are pretty well known around Jeju as being some of the nicest on the Island.  Not a bad place to live, huh?