Saturday, September 28, 2013

Snippets from Seongsan

Sorry about the title, but I couldn't help myself against the consonance :-)

I'm going to write little entries of fun things with pictures for you. I often see something and wish to share, but it's not complete blog entry worthy so here is a survey of snippets.

The other morning I woke early and it was such a beautiful morning (no, I didn't sing the song, but I thought about it), that I got dressed and headed out for a couple hours of walking. On my way home I stopped by a bakery and purchased fresh chocolate chip cupcakes and some ball shaped item. The total was just 2,000 won and the nice lady threw in some chocolate chip cookies for free. I'll definitely be going back :)

After stopping at 7-11 for some aloe juice I headed home with my breakfast to go. I had no idea what was in the ball so I took a picture and started eating. Oh my, was it good. There was a filling of bed paste and some cream of sorts. I sure hope to go to the bakery again when these are fresh out of the oven. Yum Yum Yum!!

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The fields have all been just dirt since I got to Jeju. Farmers have been planting them but nothing has really poked up through the ground yet until just recently. While out walking that morning I was struck by the beauty of all the little rows of crops that farmers had planted with very antiquated machinery and some by hand.

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There is a town about a 45 minute walk away that I don't frequent often because most things either aren't open that early or they are already closed by the time I get there after work. But the other morning I decided to wander that way anyway looking for a 5 day market that I never found. On one of the streets I found a closed shop that made me laugh and I took a picture to share. I'll have to try some day to make it here when they are open.

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When I was in Seogwipo a couple of days ago I was treated to a dinner at the event I performed at and I have to say, it's the first time in over three months that I've opened a napkin and put down a fork knife and spoon next to my plate. It felt really weird. I kept looking for the chopsticks. And what's funny, was that as I was eating, some of the food I thought would have been easier to eat with chopsticks...yikes, have I already been in an Asian country that long?!?!

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I recently moved locations from one apartment to another. I moved at midnight. No questions need be asked please....

I was tired, I only took my bedding and purse and the next morning I realized I'd had company the whole night...notice the black looking dot on the wall...I'm sure you can imagine invisible spider threads inches from my face...  :(

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I go walking at night sometimes just to enjoy the peace and quiet and the other night I was wandering through a new location and stopped at the restrooms where I thoroughly enjoyed the sign on the door...and no worries, I wasn't tempted.

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That night I also wandered through a park and heard something scuttling, looked down and saw this little guy looking up menacingly at me. I just snapped a bright flash at him and continued on my way. He's lucky, most people here would have had him for dinner...

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The aquarists sometimes through lunch parties and invite to partake of which I'm always thankful and excited. I never know exactly what I am eating but I usually ask and this particular lunch I had quite the treat. It was a soup of sorts with these really large bones that people were picking at. I received a heaping bowl of the soup with a large bone placed on top and I asked, what is it? After some debate in Korean and several attempts at English translation, it finally came out that I was eating beef spine. Surprisingly, it's really tasty.

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There is also some kimchi and potatoe in this bowl of soup.

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And finally, finally, I got the time and energy to head to Jeju city on a Friday night and go swing dancing. They also have dancing on Wednesday nights but once a week pulling an all nighter twice a week and working days isn't my thing. If I was working nights like my normal music schedule I'd be fine, but not with this day schedule. Can you believe it? I have to start work at 11:30 AM!!!

Here's a video of some of the dancing to be had at Swing Island on a Friday night in Jeju-si.



Well, that's about it for now. More stories and entries will follow of course. Until next time!



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Falls, falls and more falls with a bit of lava

And in case you were worried by the title, I'm all right. No harm done to me :)

Boy, what a day, yesterday. I was exhausted physically, which is usually not the norm. I'm usually mentally exhausted from the shows, but physically ready to kick ass.

Yesterday I awoke at 7:30 a.m. ...  and now everyone that knows me can pick themselves up off the floor, wipe the confusion off your face and keep reading :)

Left the house at 8 armed with a map and guidebook plus a rain jacket and snacks. I was headed to the Manjanggul Cave. Supposedly it's the world's longest lava tube cave system (according to the Lonely Planet travel book). It was spectacular and quite large. It was huge in fact. Never once did I have to crouch or crawl or even lower my head.

For those interested in visiting the Manjanggul Cave I highly suggest getting there when they open, which varies depending on the season, but it's around 9:00a.m. You can check the Korea travel site online for specifics. But if you get there too late you'll be swarmed by school children and other Asain tourists. As I was walking out at 10, I had to pause multiple times to wait for others to pass whereas when I was walking through upon entering there was barely a soul to be seen. Entrance fee is 2,000 won so it is not expensive and I highly recommend the trip!

After visiting the cave I took a nice walk back to the highway where I waited on the bus for about an hour. I was so happy and the weather was so nice that I didn't even notice the wait. Time just seemed to be flying by around me and I was standing still in a fragment of bliss, hoping the moment would last forever.



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After I boarded the bus back to Seongsan I returned to reality and realized I was very tired. Fearing I would miss my stop I didn't snooze even though the ride was 45 minutes long. 

Once home I quickly showered and repacked my bags for an afternoon in Seogwipo-si and an evening performance. 

I arrived in Seogwipo-si around 3:30 and took off for my first waterfall. On the way I encountered a sign for one that wasn't on my map. Why not check it out? So I took a detour down a road to a path that ended at a beautiful and secluded waterfall. The name is Sojeongbang Waterfall. It is the only waterfall on Jeju to fall straight into the ocean and not into a river or stream. And you can walk right under the water fall since it's not too large and enjoy the refreshing feel of the cool water if you dare to get wet!

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It wasn't the biggest of the waterfalls, but I enjoyed its quietness and secluded nature. After taking pictures and soaking in the beauty I headed up the path and discovered I'd accidentally stumbled onto an Olle Trail, no 6 to be exact. 

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After walking along the Olle Trail for 10 minutes I came across my originally intended water fall, Jeongbang Waterfall. This waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and costs 2,000 won to enter. There is a trail that leads down to the beach area, which is really just boulders that makes it fairly difficult to walk. Hint: don't look at the waterfall while you are walking...

There are beautiful cliffs that extend out from the side of the falls and the boulders surrounding the pool below allow for good picture taking if you aren't afraid to fall in off the slippery rocks.

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After Jeongbang Waterfall I had just enough time to visit one last touristy falls named Cheonjiyeon Falls. There is also a 2,000 won charge to enter here.

Legend is that angels would secretly come down to bathe in the pond just below the falls. I didn't see any angels and I didn't bathe so I'm charging the legend as superstitious blubbery.

This waterfall is at the end of a long river that visitors walk alongside to reach the falls. You can walk on either side sometimes, as there are several bridges and even an outdoor performing venue. There are beautiful plants and wildlife and many places to sit and enjoy the tranquility of the park; until the children come bounding and screaming by. 

This particular falls is popular at night because it is illuminated. I was there just before sunset and did not have the opportunity to see this, but I may have the chance to return one of these days after dark. 

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It was a beautiful day of sightseeing that ended with a short performance (on my part) at a haenyeo seminar where I also got to hear a young lady sing traditional Korean songs. It was very cool and there was a fabulous dinner to boot! 

I'd say yesterday was a big success. I'll write more about today and tomorrow another time, but things are finally coming together in small pieces and I'm really enjoying Jeju every day!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Soap Opera

I have recently come to the not so pleasant conclusion that I live in a soap opera.

Unfortunately everyone's not acting and unfortunately I'm not mega rich, but I am in a soap opera none the less.

Why do I say this you ask?

Very simple. Everyday, and even during the day, major events seem to occur intermittently between what would essentially be commercial down time.

People love me, people hate me, people kiss me, people hit me, people speak English and I don't understand, people speak English and they don't understand. Every day something drastic happens. It's not just once in a while, but literally every day. When I use the word drastic, this is not necessarily indicting something negative per se, but something big.

For instance, yesterday, I was all set to start the third of four shows for the day when I opened the door to the stage after it went dark to go set my violin in the boat and wouldn't you know it, the boat wasn't in place. Nope, and there was no one to be found to put the boat in place for the show.
Typically, this would be no big deal. The boat has had sinking problems...yes, more dramatic events during my days, but yesterday the boat wasn't sinking, it just wasn't set for the show. So I started preparing to walk on stage from a different place like I'd done when the boat was unusable. As I was preparing for this (reminding you that the show has now started and is almost 10 minutes in), someone came running up saying, the boat is ready, go go go.

Oh, the drama.

Work has drama and home has drama. I never realized how possible it is to consistently speak in English and yet have no meaning get across. Really, this is more common here than actually having understood conversations in English. Actually, I understand them, but the people speaking aren't getting the actual message across that they want to say so inevitably I get blamed for not doing or saying or listening or whatever to what they didn't say. This is turning out to be a severe problem. Could you imagine if you were watching a soap opera and the dialogue between several of the characters was never accurate or sufficient to convey the proper meaning? That's my life.

And no good soap opera would be complete without a love dilemma. Well, I'm not in love, but someone else is in love with me. And I admit that I do have a crush here, although he's not the one in love with me. It wouldn't be a proper soap opera if everything worked out now would it? I spend my day warding off the advances of one man and trying to figure out how to get them from another. hehe, life sure is interesting in a soap opera...

Of course, every good soap opera has lots of yelling and true to form, so does mine. Today in fact there was quite the scene that played out in an office at work; complete with slamming doors. I wasn't the one doing any of the acting, but I was playing supporting actress...

There are many ups and downs, fun times and sad times, scary times and thrilling times, funny times and frustrating times. It's a soap opera, my life. What else would you expect?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reminiscing Cruise Life

Things haven't been bad here. No, not really. It's been pretty good. There are problems. There are always problems. It seems in Korea if you don't have one someone will make one for you because apparently everyone must have one. It's like eating. Everyone must do that and everyone must have at least one problem a day.

I'm figuring out how to work through the problems here though. With the language barrier and cultural differences it's been a struggle and still is but I'm learning, howbeit too slow for my taste.

Today I got the urge to read an old blog I used to keep during my cruising days. Oh man, did that bring back the memories. And what fun memories! I really loved cruising and really hope to cruise again.

It sparked me to write some emails to potential cruise partners and reaffirmed my interest in recording a promo video after my contract in Korea so that I can get back out on the high seas.

It seems to be clearer and clearer to me the longer I am on land, that the sea is where I want to be. It's where I love to be. It's where I feel at home.

What's also interesting is that in the past year I've had several crushes. My heart has finally healed enough to become open to a new love, but even though this potential exists, my heart is leading me back out to the ocean and not after anyone on land.

Am I destined to be alone forever? Are friends the only source of intimacy I will have in my future?

I don't know these answer but I wonder.

Am I in love with the ocean and am I always meant to sway on its rocky seas?

One can never really know what life has in store for them. That is what makes life fun; not knowing, just going ~ letting life change around you and change you.

I really truly hope to perform for many people on the high seas once again.

Love of the heart can not keep me here on this dry land. It seems my heart belongs to another for now.

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I just tried to go through some old facebook photos to find a great smile to post here but there are soooo many. Seems I was having a great time :-D

Here is a great smile though from my very first cruise ever. I was already hooked ;-p