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Jeju Isl-84 year old woman divers and praying to a d__k

Yesterday, I left the hostel early, and took a 1 1/2 hour ride on the bus to the dormant volcano in Jeju, called Seongsan Ilchul-bong. The pictures of the volcano we're absolutely breathtaking-a huge mountain above the beautiful blue seas surrounded by lush greenery, and I was looking forward to seeing it. After the long bus ride, I climbed up a hill and a trail made up of a lot of stairs, and I saw-absolutely nothing. While the weather seemed sunny and warm near the hostel-as the bus continued across the island, the clouds and wind rolled in and it was drizzling. So it turned into a very cloudy day. By the time I got onto the peak, I was surrounded by fog. But i did reach the top, because there we're no more stairs, and I was by a sign that said I reached the top. I decided to stay at the top for a while, in case the clouds lifted and I could see the wonderful view. But after about 1/2 an hour, I was cold and decided to walk down-deciding I could always come back later if I felt like it. At the base of the mountain, there was a Duncan Donuts, so I had a bagel and coffee (there was also a Mcdonalds and Starbucks). IMG_3162.JPGIMG_3164.JPGIMG_3158.JPGIMG_3170.JPGIMG_3183.JPG

After I had Mcdonalds, I took a walk down another path, which led to the sea. Earlier I learned that a woman's divers show was going on. Woman divers' all in the their 70's and 80's, dive for shellfish for up to 7 hours every day without oxygen masks. A sign said that women do it because the men left the island hundreds of years ago, because they didn't want to do this type of work. There is still a show of women, including one who is 84 years old, diving for shellfish. At the beginning, they sang a song and did a short dance (or prayer). Then they all went into the sea to go fishing. Afterr 1/2 an hour (or so), they emerged with loads of something. Some just a seaweed type substance. Another, perhaps, the 84 year old, emerged carrying a huge sack of shellfish on her back on to land. IMG_3333.JPGc2086fc0-5962-11e8-a3f2-cd4a3940226e.JPGIMG_3337.JPG

It was now late in the afternoon, and I next wanted to go to a historic folk village. A worker back at the volcano told me that I could take a bus directly there-when I got to the bus stop-the bus # he told me about didn't exist. So I got on another bus. When I told the driver I wanted to go there-he told me to switch to second bus (after riding his bus for about 1/2 an hour). The bus he wanted me to switch to wouldn't arrive for around another 1 1/2 hours-but I found a bus that seemed to go in that direction, so I got on that bus-got off at a stop, and walked roughly 1 mile. (I saw a sign on the road for the folk village).

The folk village, like many things I tried hard to get to, was somewhat disappointing. The travel guide portrayed it as free and a place where folks still lived in and pigs ran around. This one wasn't free, nobody lived there, and there we're no pigs (just a few cows and horses). For around $11.00 (plus $2.00 for an audio guide), I looked at ancient houses. I did learn some things, like large statues are placed outside homes, that are called grandfathers, that are used for protection again demons (made of lava) there was a phallic-looking statue that folks used to pray for a boy when they we're expecting (also made of lava). I also learned of funeral rituals, and that the outdoor bathroom combined with the pig-pens, as pigs ate human poop, and the combined pig/human poop was used as fertilizer.
i was at the park until after closing time, I know because a voice on my audio guide gave an abrupt "good bye", and shut off. I left the park around 7:00, and walked to the bus stop where I caught the first bus. First I stopped for dinner at a burger place (I didn't want to spend money on Korean food again, which is expensive)-and it was close to 8:00 by the time I arrived at the bus stop, and dark. I waited for the bus. Taxi drivers tried to offer me rides-but i didn't have much cash in my wallet and just chose the bus. When I asked some kids also at the bus stop if the bus goes to Jeju, he used a phone to tell me (in English)-yes-but it would take a long time. I said i didn't care-since I didn't have any reason to get back soon. I got on the bus after waiting around 10 minutes, and he was ride-it did take a long time. The bus took 1/2 an hour just to get back to the volcano stop I got off at in the morning, and another 1 1/2 hours or so-past dark towns with restaurants, bars and hotels (the terrain of Jeju is sort of similar to Cape Cod or the Keys-sandbars, restaurants, bars and hotels). Finally, around 10:00 pm, I made it back to the hostel.

Posted by DavidPearlman 14:59 Archived in South Korea

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