Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where....
Cat: Then it doesn't matter which way you go.
Alice: ....so long as I get somewhere.
Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if you only walk long enough.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
These next three postings visualize my wanderings through the course of my week long summer vacation. It started with a subway ride to Yongsan, a terminal of Korea's high-speed KTX train. Before arriving at Yongsan, I had intended to keep costs low and travel economically, and slowly. In about 5 minutes I had sold this idea out, and was on the next, fastest train out of Seoul, to Mokpo, in the south-west corner of the peninsula. Nearly the furthest I could get from the capital. I had decided months ago that it looked pretty cool on the map.
Mokpo - Monday

After a night of wandering along the beach and sharing charades and beers with a pair of locals, I decided that save some fun pictures, Mokpo probably held less interest for me than I had originally imagined. And so I decided by morning to head further south by ferry to Jeju Island, Korea's own subtropical Hawaii. Hopefully I'd be able to get a hold of Neal, a co-worker, who was visiting a friend and scoping jobs there.
Economy class

Much nicer views atop the deck. With a borrowed Steinbeck along for the ride and all the ocean scenery I could ask for, I was in Jeju before I knew it.
Jeju Island - Hamdeok Beach

Jeju's local black-pig galbi looked, as it turned out, no different than the pink-pig variety I had come to love so much elsewhere. Silly me - Mashisoyo!

Neal presents our airy beach-side accomodations Wednesday night. Cheaper than the Hyatt, with better views anyways! Though on the other hand, the Hyatt probably would have saved us from another 7-11-esque Ramyun noodle breakfast.
I learned an important lesson on Jeju - to consider buying return tickets while visiting on the busiest week of the year for domestic tourism. It is after all, an island. With all ferries and airlines booked solid through the last weekend of my holiday, my only recourse was to cast lots and ride standby Korean Air. I won, and was oddly thankful, in a way, to be able to return to my job in Seoul, by Monday.
Enroute from Gimpo aboard the airport bus, riding back to my end of the Big Haze, a quick call with Nicole had me turn back around, just one stop from my own subway station. Another KTX train ride, and some Busan/Ulsan climbing was still in store for my summer holiday. I could always wash the clothes I had in the shower after all. And so, it was back to the south of South Korea.
Munsusan - Ulsan

Along the approach to the crag, a silent Buddha waits calmly in a cave grotto.

Chris, Amanda and Ross(?) each take the sharp end and head up.

Nic negotiates an exposed traverse with aplomb, heading down from the crag.