Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Which We Climb a "Mountain"

On Monday, which, randomly, turned out to be Memorial Day in the United States (something we did not plan), we took our last floating vacation day (out of all two of them that we got in the first place). Our director asked us to take it that day because right now there are extra teachers at the school, so they can take our classes and she didn't have to hire a substitute. We didn't really care when we took it, so we took it on Monday. We decided to go down to a place that I haven't been before, a "mountain" on the island called Songaksan. I put mountain in quotation marks because I'm not sure why they call it a san (which means, mountain). It would be better named as a bong, which means hill. I think it maybe goes 400 feet above sea level. Despite that, it's a pretty fun place and had some great views over the ocean. Once we finished with Songaksan, we followed the olle trail along the coast to Sanbangsan, and went around the Yeongmuri coast again, which is always pleasant. It's a really pretty place. Then we went along a rocky beach, which had quite a few seashells on it, something we've not seen before on the island. I'm not sure why, but most of the beaches here have almost no sea shells washed up on them. Then we finished at the Hwasun Golden Sand beach, one of the beaches from our list that we hadn't been to yet. The nice thing about going to the beach at this time of year is that it's the off season, so there aren't any beach police to tell you how far you can go out and where you can and can't lay out. Anyway, that's this trip in a nutshell. Here are some pictures we took.

Approaching the side of Songaksan.

View of Sanbangsan in the distance. Did I mention it was all sorts of hazy? Views would have been better if that hadn't been there.

Looking across the bay(?) to Sanbangsan.

Approaching the top.

Summit stone! We would have taken a picture of the one on top of Hallasan, but there was a line, and it was freezing. I'm still hoping to get up there again, but until then, this will suffice.

One thing I will say about this hill, it actually has a crater! Every single hill on Jeju is actually an oreum, or parasitic volcanic cone. However, most of them don't really have craters in them. The signs usually say something like, "There used to be a crater here, we swear! It's just filled in and worn away over the years!" This one actually has one, so that's cool.

Back to our starting point. The caves you can see down at the bottom of the cliff were actually dug by the Japanese during World War II. If those Japanese liked something, it was caves, I'll tell you what. 

Heading for Sanbangsan!

Made it!

Yeongmuri Coast. Much better weather than the last time we went together.

Stayin' alive.

Cool rocky beach.

Then we met these two! The baby turned out to be really friendly, and the mom didn't mind us playing with him.

He only tried to bit Nancy a little bit.

I petted him too.

Nancy using some seashells we found to protect her modesty.

Hwasun Beach. There was practically no one there. It was actually a little eerie. 

Proof that I went swimming.
So, that's another day out on Jeju. This place is awesome. I have to say, I'm really going to miss the ocean when we got back to the United States. I'm pretty sure I've said that before on the blog, but it remains true. That's all I've got to tell you about at the moment, so I'll make an end. This is Captain Danger out.

Monday, May 26, 2014

In Which We Climb Some Rocks

So we finally got out our rock climbing gear again this last Saturday. It's been a while. We actually tried to go a few weeks ago, only to discover that the old climbing wall that was downtown no longer exists. That being the case, we headed out to a place that we were turned on to by a guy on Facebook. It's actually up in the Bangseonmun Valley, right at the spot where I rappelled in fact. They call it Squirrel Cave, and it looks like it has some pretty difficult routes in it. Us being the only moderate to crappy climbers (crappy being me, as I've had broken appendages most of the time when it was time to practice) we went to a 5.7ish crack that the guy on Facebook had also told us about. It turned out to be really fun. I set up a top rope and rappelled down, clearing out all of the mini spiders on my way so climbing wasn't so nerve-racking. There was a cool spot near the top where there weren't really any great footholds and you had to drag yourself up with mostly your arm strength, which made me feel pretty awesome. Here are the pictures we took while we were climbing:

Nancy taking a rest and chalking up

Pretty awesome setting.

After climbing we headed down to Iho Beach for a nice relaxing time. Of course, right as we got there, it got overcast and cooler. I made sure to go swimming anyway, just to spite the weather. Here's a picture to prove it.

And you know that's me, because there's no other fat white guys around here who would go shirtless so unabashedly.
I haven't gotten to it yet, and you may have seen the pictures on Facebook already, but last week our coworker, Paul, took some photos for us. He's a professional photographer and would like it to be full-time when he goes back to South Africa, and he offered to give us a photo shoot to expand his portfolio. I've been called a lot of things, but camera-shy is not one of them. We took him up on it, and he and his wife took our pictures last Saturday. I have to say, he did an awesome job. If you're ever in South Africa and you need some pictures, check out Paul du Toit Fotografie. At any rate, here are some of the pictures he took. A lot of them look like engagement photos, but I'd guess that most couple photos look like engagement photos.

I think this one makes my butt look big, but it's cool.

We moved down to take some pictures at Iho Beach at sunset.

This one is awesome.

Classic Korean poses.

Having fun with the remote flashes.

Oh, and also wearing our couple shirts.

This is by far my favorite. It was supposed to be us showing off our shirts. But,
I got a little excited, and it turned out AWESOME!

Just a few minutes before I finished writing this post, I carried Nancy up the hill to
our apartment like this.

Great time, great photo shoot. For payment, we showed them our favorite noodle restaurant, which now, a week later, they have gone back to at least twice. Anyway, I'll make an end for this post. We did some pretty cool stuff today, but I'll write a post about that in a day or so. This is Captain Danger out.