Tuesday, August 23, 2011

See you in 4 months, world.

Tomorrow's the last day of my contract and I haven't time to type anything elaborate. It suffices to note that I'm ecstatic to be leaving this job behind me. I'll be back in the USA around Xmas. Here's the plan:

(remainder of) August: Japan
September: Philippines, China, Laos
October: Vietnam, Thailand
November: India
December: England, Spain, Holland

I doubt I'll be updating this blog. I've hit my image storage limit anyway.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jeju: Hallasan

Hallasan is the center of Jeju Island and, properly speaking, it is Jeju Island, being the highest bits of the volcano.  It's the tallest mountain in Korea and I wasn't going to leave without climbing it.

I rose early and boarded a bus to the park surrounding the mountain.  On board I met a Dutch tourist who was also planning an ascent, so we went together.  We climbed up the Gwaneumsa trail (8.7 km, mostly stairs) and down the Seongpanak trail (9.6 km, mostly uneven chunks of basalt).

The Gwaneumsa trail begins in a forest that looks like this.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jeju: Seongsan Ilchulbong and Udo

On the east side of Jeju there's this antediluvian volcanic thing called Seongsan Ilchulbong, which name means something like "Holy Mountain Sunrise Peak," so it sounds like kind of a big deal but in practice it just means the village next to it has a lot of overpriced guest houses.  It's customary for tourists to wake real early and heave themselves up the rock to greet the dawn.

Seongsan Ilchulbong:  prepare to be mounted directly on the morrow by yours truly.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011