Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Jeju Island

I can’t believe it is already the 4th day of my travel.  Now I am in Jeju Island.  We were separated from our tour group due to the airline schedule changes.  We arrived at Jeju airport at 3 p.m, and the tour guide took us to Goblin road, according to a folklore, the car drives on its own.  The folklore tells a story about a taxi driver who dropped a passenger at a remote village on a late night.  On his way back home, he stopped to take care of a nature’s call at a spot on this road.  In the corner of his eyes, he saw his car was driven away.  He was convinced that he saw a ghost drove his car.  Since then this road is called Goblin Road.  Our tour driver demonstrates it to us, the car moved for a few yards on its own.  The road seemed to me slightly uphill, and yet our car was moving forward toward uphill on its own.  I don’t know what this is all about, but Jeju tour companies need to have tourist spots like this to bring more tourists from the mainland Korea

On the second in the Island, we went to ride a submarine.  I never rode one before.  I got on a boat to get to the place where a submarine was waiting for us.  A young man who was dressed as a pirate greeted us and took picture of us before we walked down to a tiny hole to the submarine.  

We sat in a row facing the windows, and looked outside.  A man wearing his gear was luring fish with food, and all kind of tiny fish was following him around.  The guide told us that the big fish are scared of people, but little ones are not afraid of.  They are like humans.  We learn helplessness and fearfulness, as we get older.  Then we went to the deeper place and saw all kinds of underworld plants and corals.  I saw flowers, trees, and vegetations under the water.

We visited Sam Bul Sa.  Sam means three in Korean, Bul means Buddha, and Sa means temple.   At the temple, we saw thousands of paper lanterns hung around the temple area, preparing for Buddha’s Birthday celebration.

We walked up a winding, steep hill that leads to a cave.  Water drops were falling from the ceiling of the cave into a small well, people were lined up to drink water from a common cup.  Again, a story tells us that this water is considered to be special.  If a woman drinks this water, she will be able to conceive a child.  I don’t know what happens if a man drinks this water, or a woman who passed her time to conceive a baby.  I was afraid that I would be pregnant at my age, so I didn’t drink it. 

There is lots of folklore about woman in this island.  One particularly interesting story was about Halla Mountain, which Korean considers it as "Jeju Island is Hallasan; and Hallasan is Jeju." The mountain can be seen from all places on the island, but its peak is often covered in clouds.  Any way, a really big old woman lived in this island; she was so big that she used Hallasan as her pillow.  When she lay down at night, she used Hallasan as her pillow, and her feet reached to the ocean.  She had five hundred sons.  One day, she made red bean stew for her sons for supper.  As she stirs the stew, she fell into the huge pot, and she died. When her children came back from the field working all day, they ate mom’s delicious stew.  When they were full, they start looking for mother.  Where is she?  Oh, No, they found her at the bottom of the pot.  They moan for their mother for so long and hard that they turned into rocks.  People can see five hundred human figure rocks lined up in this mountain.