Photographs of Jeju

I kept a map on my wall in Jeju where I marked out all the territory I had covered on my motorcycle. The island is roughly 100 km end-to-end, and is crisscrossed by a few large, modern tourist highways and thousands of labyrinthine farm roads.  
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The organic beauty of these constantly growing, timelessly old country roads is that you can never get lost. Essentially, every road goes SOMEWHERE (eventually) — you’re just never sure what that ‘somewhere’ might be. This made roadtrips on the motorcycle very interesting (and sometimes very dusty).
 
On the map, Halla Mountain is in the exact centre of the island, with Jeju City directly above it on the coast, and Seogwipo City directly below on the opposite coast. On the far right, on a peninsula at the very eastern tip of the island, was my school. And on the north side of the island, just to the right of Jeju City is the village of Hamdeok where I lived.
 
During the summer holidays I walked across the island on a whim (on the map, the thick red line along the bottom of the island). It took three days (Two days of walking, with a day in-between to chill on the beach).
At the end of February, Jeju Islanders celebrate their yearly fire festival by literally lighting a mountain on fire! Not even kidding. It relates to a common practice among farmers of using a controlled burn to refresh the soil, but in this context it is just an excuse to make s**t burn. Good times.

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My motorcycle: a Daelim Magma 120cc (you heard me: 120cc. That’s like having two caged Vespas under me … this thing was a BEAST 😛 ):
 
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From a nearby beach, Seongsan Ilchulbong (literally: Castle Mountain Sunrise Peak) — formed by a 5,000-year-old volcanic tuft cone off the coast of Jeju which slowly eroded away to form a land bridge to the island. The easternmost point of Jeju, it is a popular tourist attraction, particularly on New Year’s Day when thousands of people flock to watch the first sunrise of the year.
 
The school I taught at is in the village at the base of this mountain (just above the head of the person in black).
 
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The ‘Festival of Lights‘ on Iho Beach:
 
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Photos from Sports Day at my school:
 
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On the beach at Seongsan: The Octopuses are invading!!! (Click here for the video)
 
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The spiders in Korea get pretty big; this one was about as long as my thumb:
 
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Taking a break during a motorcycle trip across the island with Kathy:
 
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Cute kid flash mob!
 
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Sunset over Seoul, from the north face of Namsan:
 
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Well played, Asialand. Well played:
 
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Sunset on Jeju Island, from the roof of my apartment in Hamdeok. In the distance, Halla Mountain breaches the horizon:
 
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A fisherman’s shelter along the coast near Hamdeok:
 
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The friendly and informative staff at the Jeju National Museum:
 
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Very likely Jeju Island’s most recognizable symbol: The Stone Grandfathers.
 
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Angry morning clouds roll over Jeju Island — from the roof of my Hamdeok apartment:
 
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Nighttime over Hamdeok. The fog of light illuminating the clouds is coming from Jeju City, just over the horizon. In the upper right corner you can see the streaking glow of a departing airplane. (Click to watch the full time-lapse video here)
 
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Moon over Jeju:
 
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Outside 대원정 temple, Jeju:
 
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한 바다 (Bada Han – her first name means ‘sea’) in the school library. She looks cute, but I’m pretty sure she’s punched every boy in the class at least twice.
 
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Sketching in Flora coffee shop, downtown Jeju City:
 
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A few of us decided to climb Halla Mountain in the middle of winter. Halfway up, we saw a set of tracks going off the trail and decided to follow, and eventually happened onto a search and rescue training team in full gear, belaying down a slope. Their team leader confronted us but let us pass, in sneakers and jeans, after I explained I was Canadian … I basically live in the snowy 🙂
 
If you click on the photo below to enbiggify, you can see the trail we left in the snow on the ridge!
 
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If you read this blog, you probably already know about the grand tradition of the Rocketplanes. If not, EDUCATE YOURSELF
 
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Winter sunset in Hamdeok village:
 
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I made goodbye cards for all my kids when I left:
 
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The traditional Korean sport of bear vs. elephant battles:
 
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My students were impressed! “Gosh!” She’s thinking. “How did he know I liked Bears AND Elephants???”
 
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To be continued (but with more sketches this time):
 

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