The Fox in the Cave, and the Peacocks Above- Part 1

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March 15, 2019, Hallim, Jeju-do-

We got out of Ga San Ho Bang, in relatively short order, this morning, as there was a fairly long drive ahead of us and breakfast had to be factored into the mix.  We went up Jeju’s west coast to Hallim, site of both yellow sand and lava beaches.

Settling on a small establishment that offered the abalone porridge I’d been craving for a day or so, my intrepid young hosts found themselves invited to cook their own eggs to order.

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Chefs for a morning

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Abalone porridge and tuk-pae-gi (seafood hotpot) were accompanied by side dishes.

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Below, is myok-guk, or Korean seaweed soup.

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Arriving at Hallim Park, a multivariate sampler of Jeju life, along with a rich botanical garden and aviary, we strode this blend of tropical and mountain flora.

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Before long, we entered Hyopjae-gul (cave), which Penny, Aram and I had visited once, when he was about a year old.  The first of three caves on this site, Hyop-jae is largely sedimentary rock.  Another cave on the route is made of lava.

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On this rock, which fell from the roof of the cave, one can see luminescence-from microorganisms that thrive on its surface.

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When we emerged from Hyopjae-gul, we were greeted by this small army of Stone Guardians.  The collection is one of the master works of Hallim Park’s founder, Song Bong-gyu.

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Mr. Song is still alive and working hard, to constantly improve his visionary work.

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Once past the dol-harubang collection, I decided to get a fuller view.

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I reflected on this message, as we walked.  I am in the prime of my life, right now, but there are always challenges to face, both internally, and from people who have floated in and out of my life.

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Mr. Song gathered these faceless stone guardians, perhaps as a reminder that there are always those around us who give away little of their thoughts and intentions.

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Yunhee is an example of a shining light, in the midst of darkness. This scene is in Ssangyong (Two Dragons) Cave, so named because legend has it that two great fire-breathers once lived here.

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I took photos in this cave, without using flash, so as to minimize disruption to the experience of our fellow visitors and to emphasize that there is a modicum of bio luminescence here.

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There is a legend of a certain Dr. Jin, who. as a child, chose to explore Ssangyong Cave, rather than go directly to school.  He found the company of a delightful young girl, who had a bead with which they played, as well as dancing about and singing.  Unbeknownst to him, the girl was actually a fox, which had shape-shifted in order to enchant Dr. Jin.  One day, young Jin swallowed the bead and found himself feeling quite ill. He encountered a man, outside the cave, who warned him that the girl was really this fox and that he would not be able to return to the cave.  Jin recovered and went on to become a legendary healer.

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With that, I leave you and will return with Part 2 of our Hallim Park adventure:  The Stone Art, Tropical Botanic Garden and Bird Park exhibits, as well as an indoor Stone Art collection.

Jeju’s Wild Southwest Corner

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March 14, 2019, Sogwip’o, Jeju-

When I was getting ready to leave Jeju-do, in 1992, one of a series of exit interviews was a visit with the then-mayor of Sogwip’o, southern Jeju’s commercial center and the present governmental unit for all of Jeju, south of Halla-san.  He asked me whether Sogwip’o had a bright future and whether I would promote the area, once in the United States.

At the time, all I could do, promotion-wise, was talk the area up, among friends and acquaintances. I did, however, see that it had a bright future.  Time has borne this out.  Sogwip’o’s population has climbed to over 100,000 residents, including a fair number of condominium owners from China ( as is also the case with Jeju-shi) -enticed by the favourable China policy of the island province’s government.

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Nonetheless, I found the sections of Sogwip’o that we visited are still quite blessed by natural beauty, though the whole development of the coast  has resulted in a drop in the water table, and some drying up of the area’s waterfalls, as was evident when we went to Jeongjeyon.

Our first stop, though, was a coastal beach in the village of Jeungmun, which is the site of a Hyatt Regency Hotel.  This was a place we visited on occasion, when we lived here, as Penny and I knew the General Manager of the hotel.  It is also the site of a meeting between then- South Korean President Roh Tae-woo and then- Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1991.

One of my favourite natural spots in Jeju is adjacent to the Hyatt:  Jusangjeoli.  It is a segment of volcanic beach, which we once accessed from the Hyatt’s own beach.  So, the three of us went down to the beach, from a fairly new area, highlighting Jeju’s citrus industry, which is one of the island’s economic staples-along with tourism.

Here are some of the scenes we encountered.

This large conch mock-up draws attention to Jeju’s equally important marine products industry- offering a plenitude of fish, shellfish and kelp.

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The main draw for tourists, though, is the lava-strewn beach.  As with Songsan, a wide variety of shapes may be discerned, on Jusangjeoli’s paths.

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The dragon countenance is found in many areas of Jeju.

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These slats are not a mock-up of a luxury development.  Wind and water shaped them, over the centuries.

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The likenesses at the head of this formation are not a pair  I’d want to meet in a dark alley.

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Jeju’s sheerest cliffs are found here at Jusangjeoli.

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This Peace Park, between Jusangjeoli and the Hyatt, is a place for both quiet reflection and the romping of spirited children, who like to hopscotch and play tag, around the surrounding zodiac stones.

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As this had been a very full day, already, we chose one of Seogwipo’s three waterfalls to visit.  Jeongjeyon is further west and north of the other two (Jeongjiyon and Jeongbang).  Its namesake waterfall has dried up, as a consequence of condominium development- something of an issue now, between locals and Chinese immigrants, who favour such development as a way to invest their income.

Nonetheless, Jeongjeyon has a continuing aesthetic appeal.  There is no dam here, just a lack of running water, at this site of the first cataract.

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The second cataract proved the most active of the three.

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Here are some stairs to nowhere, in particular.

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Despite the shortage of running water, Jeongjeyon’s flora is thick and prolific.

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The second cataract also seemed to be a bit on the mild side, in terms of flow.

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Visitors drop coins into the third cataract’s pool, as a means of making a wish.

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This is Seonimgyo, or Seven Nymphs Bridge, which connects Jeongjeyon Falls with the Jeungmyun Tourist Complex.  It depicts the seven nymphs, of legend, who descended from Heaven, at night.

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The third cataract had more water, and also required the most stair climbing.

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We were quite worn-out, by this point,  So, after a delicious seafood meal, we headed for our lodging.

 

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Ga San Ho Bang is a dormitory-style hotel, offering yurt-style rooms, with male and female shared bathrooms. I was well-rested, after a night in this cone-shaped room.  It had ondol, or water-heated floor pipes, so the room was especially cozy.

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NEXT:  Hallim Park- Caves, Botanic Gardens and An Army of Stone Guardians

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Jeju Was Tamna

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March 14, 2019, Song-eup, Jeju-

Korea abounds in traditional folk villages, as do many nations who seek to preserve their traditional culture-in the face on onrushing development and prosperity.  Jeju’s premier folk village, which I have visited on three other occasions, is Song-eup, not far from Songsan, in the eastern part of the island.

By chance, when Aram, Yoonhee and I arrived here, we were introduced to the same woman who had,as a newly-wed, told Penny and me about the way of life here, some thirty-two years ago.  I recognized her, though she didn’t remember me.  A good-natured, saucy young woman had matured into a dedicated advocated for preservation, with an encyclopedic knowledge of her subject.

These poles served as a gate.  If they were on the ground, this meant the residents were home and ready to receive guests.  If one pole was mounted, call out before entering.  If two poles were mounted, the residents were at home and did not wish to be disturbed.  If three poles were up, no one was at home.

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Song-eup proper was, and is, a walled community.  Pirates from Japan were known to occasionally stage raids on towns, in the eastern and southern coastal areas of Korea.  This was enough of a problem that Korean Admiral Yi Sun-shin, one of history’s greatest military commanders, led his sailors to victory over both the pirates and their imperial enablers, in the Imjin War of 1592-98.  The walls helped stem the pirate attacks, in the short term.

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This system of roof thatching was used by high and low alike, across Jeju.  The villagers on the west of the island used different material, but the system was the same.

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Stone guardians, nowadays called dolharubang, or “stone grandfathers”, graced the entrance to every village in Jeju.  They are now symbols of the island’s culture.  The one on the right is an example of  Koreans’ playful spirit.

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The black pig is one of Jeju’s primary domesticated animals-sometimes used as a watch animal, but more commonly raised as livestock.

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This house, with its foreroof, is an example of a wealthier person’s residence,as it has an up-step.

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Street art here is used mainly to depict animal figures prominent in Jeju lore- especially the dragon- here accompanied by snails.

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Here is an example of a more humble person’s residence,with no up-step.

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Roof thatch is replaced every five years.  These grubs are found, in the hundreds, thriving in the thatch.

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Usually, grinding stones in Korea were pulled by oxen.  On Jeju, horses pulled stones like this one.

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Masks were mounted as a defense against harm, in the days of shamanist Korea. Back then, Jeju was called Tamna.  Legend has Tamna established by three men, Go, Yang and Bu, who emerged from three holes-in an area, called Samseonghyol, that is still preserved in Jeju-shi.  Tamna simply means “island nation”, in Jeju’s indigenous language.  There are still a small number of indigenous Jejuans, living in the foothills of Halla-san.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After thanking the docent for her time and sharing, we spent a few minutes in an educational institute, on the outskirts of Song-eup.  Here, another docent showed us more mock-ups of early village life.  Here is a display of an outdoor kitchen.

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As we walked towards the walled, main section of the village, we spotted a fuller example of a long cottage, with an up-step.

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This house was called the “House of Two Dragons”, by its early owner.  Thus, here is a sculpture of  the double threat.

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Stone guardians can reflect a wide variety of expressions.  Most are serious; some can be mirthful.  These are definitely not in a good mood.

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Here is the West Gate, through which we entered Song-eup proper.

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Here is  a full view of a Song-eup street.

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Large Korean cabbage, a primary ingredient in much kimchi, is a key crop of Jeju. It is related to the Chinese bok choi.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Han Bong-il, a wealthy farmer of old Jeju, left this farmstead to the government, which now preserves it as an historic home.

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This is the Peddler’s Inn, located in front of the main Guest House. The former housed people wishing to sell items to or supplicate the magistrate and other officials, who themselves stayed in the Guest House.

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Here is the main Guest House.

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This is the entrance to the  old seat of government in Song-eup.

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This is Mokgwana, the actual office of the magistrate.

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Large. old hackberry trees are often top heavy,with age.  This tree needed to be shored up by a system of cables and metal stands.

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At this Confucian school, another docent guided us around the areas that are open to the public, whilst explaining that the main courtyard was off-limits, due to an earlier high volume of traffic, detracting from the serenity of the place.

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Here is a fuller view of the school and courtyard.

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We left Song-eup, in a tranquil mood. Headed westward, we stopped at a rest area, to get this view of Halla-san, rising proudly in the background.

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The day was only half over!

NEXT:  Jusangjeoli and Jeongmyon- Two Wonders of Wind and Water

Where the Sun Greets Jeju-do

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March 14, 2019, Songsan, South Korea-

After a robust meal of kalbi (grilled ribs), at Kyodong Dok Kalbi, we retired to the Golden Tulip Hotel, in this eastern fishing and shellfish diving center.

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Our first stop, on a robust and happy day that will take us across the island, was Songsan Ilchulbong, a small promontory that is a favourite of locals and tourists alike, for greeting the sunrise.  We did not do so, as the sumptuous breakfast buffet of Golden Tulip beckoned first.

Once we did get to the site, though, we found a small course for riding a Cheju pony, similar to the ponies of Shetland.  Yunhee gladly rode the pony, even though it was a very brief experience.

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Although the coastal areas of Jeju are treeless, in most spots, an effort is being made to plant windbreak in some places around Songsan.

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Here is the volcanic promontory that beckoned us.  I was last up this hill, in February, 1992, with a small group of freshman students.

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Here is a view, from halfway up, of Songsan, in the morning light.  Halla-san, the highest peak on Jeju, and in South Korea, is seen in the distance, on the near left  side.

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There are many igneous boulders along the route.  Here is a particularly popular photo point for many Korean visitors:  Lamp Rock.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The image on the right side evokes a Grandmother’s kind visage.

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Two eyes appear to be watching, at this site of twin caves.

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The indentation below seems to fit my daughter-in-law perfectly!

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We made it to the top, so I chose this as my next profile picture on social media.

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Below, is a view of the crater, for which the summit of Ilchulbong is famous.  Yes, the hill is a dead cinder cone.

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Here is the southern, less inhabited part of Udo, an islet just across a small channel from Songsan.

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Here are the effects of constant saline deposits on this sedimentary boulder, in an area that hosts haenyo, or women who dive for abalone and sea cucumber.  The traditional divers are mainly found in Jeju, though some are in a handful of towns on the southern mainland coast.

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One haenyo is seen in the water, wearing a yellow diving vest.

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Here is the bell of Dongam-sa, a Buddhist temple at the foot of Ilchulbong.  A funeral was in progress when we visited, so we kept our visit quiet and short.

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Contrasting images of the Buddha are seen here.

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We ended our visit to Songsan, with a brief visit with an old friend.

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With that, we are off to Songeup Folk Village, for some reconnection with the farm folk of old Jeju.

 

 

Jeju, Part 2: Jeju Stone Park in Fresh Eyes

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March 13, 2019, Jeju-

My camera’s battery quit, midway through our Jeju Stone Park experience.  Fortunately, my son, Aram, who is also my co-host, had a fresh, new camera on hand. So, without further ado, here are twelve more photos of the park, chosen at random from those he shared with me.

I’d guess this is a frog-spirit, in prayer.

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Perhaps, this is a disconsolate basset hound.

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This could be a model of the lake, at the top of Mt. Halla.

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Here is a geode, turned into a globe.

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Paek Un-cheol had these mounted, back in Tamna Mokseokwon.

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This eerie scene features the Guardian Children, also brought from Mokseokwon.

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“Your turn to curtsy, my turn to bow.”

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Another dystopian scene-perhaps an anti-Stonehenge.

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The Museum, seen from the west.

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This great pile of boulders resembles a tumulus, particularly with the stone entrance way.

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This new institute for the furtherance of Jeju culture has several admirers, eagerly waiting for its 2020 opening.

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My daughter-in-law, a curator at the museum, and I are on our way off the grounds.

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Needless to say, I will be back in a few years, as Korea is certainly part of my extensive travel itinerary, post-retirement.

NEXT: Songsan Ilchulbong, Where the Sun Greets Jeju.

 

 

Jeju, Part 1: The Stone Dream of Mr. Paek

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March 13, 2019, Jeju, South Korea-

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There are new discoveries, in this life, constantly-and there are re-discoveries.  Today, the three of us headed down to Jeju, a burgeoning resort island, off Korea’s southwest coast.  From 1986-92, Penny and I were part of Jeju, serving as Visiting Professors of English, in two departments of Cheju National University.  Aram became part of the community, in 1988, being one of two American children born on the island, up to that point.

During that time, Mr. Paek Un-cheol, a spiritual gem of a man, was waging a small but concerted effort to preserve Jeju’s unique traditional culture.  He found an amazing variety of figures, made naturally by water and wind, among the volcanic rocks and driftwood that dotted various points along the island’s shores and on the mountain slopes of its interior.

His first effort, Tamna Mokseokwon, was a constant haven for us to visit and regain a natural semblance of order and serenity.  With his mother’s passing, and with development in the name of tourism becoming a growing threat to Jeju’s traditional culture, Mr. Paek found an ally in the same officials who were a driving force in that very tourism development, the Board of Supervisors of North Jeju County, the area comprising the northern half of the island outside Jeju City proper.  Jeju-shi, as it is known in Korean, has since subsumed the county, with Seogwip’o-shi (So-gi-PO) having subsumed the southern half of the island.

In 1999, the two sides found common ground in establishing Jeju Stone Park, and in 2005, the new park opened to the public.  We took in the eastern part of the park, and its museum, in the two hours we had.  Another visit, or two, looms in the future.  In this post, I will share those scenes captured, before my hard-working camera’s battery ran low.  In a second post, scenes captured by my son’s camera will be featured.

So, here are seventeen scenes to be found at Jeju Stone Park, a place that could easily enchant me for a full day, at minimum.

We found ourselves among the few remaining visitors, as this was a cold, brisk afternoon.

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These arrangements leave much to the imagination.  What do you suppose this rock resembles?

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Here are some traditional Jeju thatched roof houses.  One may stay in such a home, for W40,000 per night.

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Here, I envisioned a standing bear and a pair of witches.

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These nineteen steps commemorate Mr. Paek’s agreement with the County Board of Supervisors, in 1999.

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These are some of the figures I recognize from Tamna Mokseokwon.

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The legend of Grandmother Seolmundae is the impetus for the preservation of Jeju’s stone heritage.

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Here are more figures, transported from Mokseokwon.

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My precious ones are captivated.

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These stone “wishing towers” are meant to honour the spirits that are said to inhabit the countryside of Jeju.

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Perhaps this is a likeness of such a spirit.

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Mr. Paek and a team of engineers created Sky Pond, to set the mood for a visit to the Park’s museum, and to honour the element of water.

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The museum itself contains many examples of both stone and tree root art.  This is stone depiction of the island of Jeju and its tributary isles.

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Reach out to the stones, but do not touch!

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Perhaps this bird is wanting freedom from its tether.

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I see duck, or perhaps a platypus.

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Here might stand a  Hadrosaur, or horn-billed dinosaur.

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In the next post, my son’s new camera will provide more magic, both in the museum and beyond.  What he found has convinced me to return to Jeju Stone Park, most likely during my envisioned lengthy travels, a few years hence. Then, I will wish to stay in one of those traditional Jeju houses.

 

 

Hanok Village: History as Enterprise, Part II

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March 11, 2019, Jeonju, South Korea-

As promised, I continue here with the second half of our little family’s tour of this blend of history and modern entrepreneurship.  It most closely reminds me of the Belgian city of Bruges, in that regard.

We felt the need for lunch, so we stopped at Kyodong Dok Kalbi, which offers a limited number of pibimbap dishes, along with a chopped, pressed and pre-cooked version of Kalbi (beef or pork ribs).   Their herbarium provides many of the key ingredients.

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Here, my Korean relatives observe the round of side dishes, which are essential in any true Korean meal. There are usually a few varieties of kimchi, steamed spinach, some small sardines, buckwheat noodles, and some cold pressed vegetable gelatin.  Miso (fermented soup) and a bowl of white rice accompany the meat.  We ate using chopsticks and a large spoon.

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Having eaten our fill of satisfying dok kalbi and “fixings”, we felt content as cherubim.

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So, we walked along the road that leads to a straw-roofed complex.  We came upon this irrigation stream, with various animals of the Oriental zodiac as conduits for the water.

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The fortunate woman has a husband who is willing to be her servant, at least on occasion.

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Jeonju is largely devoid of street murals, so this vertical rainbow was a sublime surprise.

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Many Korean families have at least a small garden plot.  This one is at a traditional Tea House, where we stopped for cups of medicinal herbal tea.

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It is the Tea House which sports the traditional “Jeobuk” straw roof.  The proprietress was surprised at the approach of a mixed group of Koreans and Americans, but was very gracious.

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To the east of Hanok, there lies a shanty area, climbing the hillside.  I took this photo from the Tea House grounds.  Later, we would get closer to the settlement, which lies across a divided highway.

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Here are the flowers of the cauliflower plant.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFor those wishing to sip their tea in an indoor setting, there is a silk-covered mat, on which one sits cross-legged.  The pearl-inlay chest is a common decor in many Korean homes.

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These yellow buttercups match their vase.

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This small shrine blesses the garden plants.

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Outside this small shrine is a depiction of one of the scenes from the Ten Ox-Herding Series, an allegory of one man’s quest for spiritual enlightenment.

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Here is a small Buddhist shrine.

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As we arrived at the edge of the highway, I looked across to the shanty, and spotted Edward Scissorhands.

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We left the heights and went back down to the main street of Hanok, passing this traditional pavilion, a gathering place in Jeoson days.

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Next, along the way, was the place where King Taejo was crowned first monarch of the Jeoson Dynasty.

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The coronation courtyard is graced by this stone wheel, dating from 1392.

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These stone lions guard the entrance to a nearby guest house.

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Thus ended our four-hour visit to Jeonju Hanok Village.  There is much more to this bustling district.  Perhaps a future visit will mean an overnight stay.

Feeling the need for some rejuvenation, we went to Damyang Spa Resort, about forty minutes north of the farmstead.  There, we experienced sauna, hot and cold waters, and I underwent a thorough treatment from an exfoliation specialist, a sort of masseur, who scrubbed me, head to toe, with a rough cloth, then rubbed cleansing oil.

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Hanok Village: History as Enterprise, Part 1

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March 11, 2019, Jeonju, South Korea-

After a  brief walk around the farmstead of  my hosts, Shin Dongwhon and Park Miwha (Many Korean women keep their maiden names, even in marriage), they, the new Mr. & Mrs. Boivin and I headed for Jeonju, the capital of Jeolla Buk-do (North Jeolla Province), famous for the hot pot, known as pibimbap (rice, mixed with vegetables, chopped meat and egg, then garnished with hot pepper sauce).  It is also well-known for maintaining historical buildings, as it is the birthplace of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897).  The dynasty was founded by General Yi Song-gye, who became King Taejo as a result. He and his heirs instilled a strong Confucian ethos into Korean culture.  They also built Korea’s legacy of distinct language and literature. King Taejo’s heirs included his fourth-born son, who became Sejong the Great.  King Sejong, one of the seminal figures of Korean history, was committed to universal education.  In order for the masses to become literate more easily and quickly, Sejong commissioned the development of a phonetic alphabet, Hangul, which is still commonly used today.  He also commissioned the development of movable type, about the same time as Johannes Gutenberg was developing a movable type printing press, in what is now Germany.

With all this rich history, I was surprised that the emphasis in Jeonju’s historic district was not so much on telling the tale as on showing the buildings as they were and on the selling of goods and services.  Of course, any living community has to strike a balance between legacy and functionality, as Salem, MA, San Juan Capistrano, CA, St. Augustine, FL, Heidelberg, DEU-and Gyongju- a living history city,  in eastern South Korea, have all done.

Here are some photos of the day’s festivities- first of the farmstead, then of Jeonju Hanok Village.  First,  here is the home to which I was welcomed.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The koi pond has some rather shy inhabitants.

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Building stones and ollas (for storing kimchi) are essential to any Korean farmstead.

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A newborn rabbit needed warmth and safety.  He is hidden in the shorn fur of one of his elders.

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The rooster and his ladies were in full voice, this morning.

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This is a row of pine windbreak.

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This is  a view of Mr. Shin’s field.

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There, to greet us and send us off, is “Buri” (Barley), the family porch dog.   Korean farm dogs are rarely, if ever, allowed inside the house.

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Now let’s have a look at the first set of photos  of Jeonju Hanok Village.  Below, is the Hanok Visitors’ Center.

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Yunhee and her parents, in front of commemorative stone.

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Our side of the coin.

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“It still could snow, this Spring.”  Here is a traditional Jeollabuk-do tiled roof.

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More traditional Jeollabuk-do tile-roofed houses. Many of these are Guest Houses.

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This is the Year of the Boar, in the Lunar New Year configuration.

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Traditional Chollabuk-do home, with walled courtyard and shrines.

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Here are hanbok, traditional Korean formal dress.

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Here is a more upscale version of the Chollabuk-do tiled roof.  It was probably the home of a wealthy merchant or minor official.

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A more modern variation of traditional water wheel.

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These traditional shirts are actually made of paper.  We visited a paper-making establishment and saw various products, made of durable paper.

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Yunhee is watching a traditional demon mask, made of heavy paper.

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Mrs. Park is demonstrating traditional grain milling.

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It was a little chilly for an outdoor lunch, so we admired the courtyard and moved on.

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Here are some household decorations that graced a merchant’s home, in the early 20th Century.

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Here is a hilltop pavilion, probably used as Confucian shrine.

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“Spring is on its way”, say the cherry blossoms.

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A heavy-duty community level water wheel.

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Commemorative stone, indicating road leading to Confucian shrine.

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There are a number of other photos to share, of this large historic district.  I will post these in the next installment.

 

These Lengthening Ties

4

March 11, 2019, Gyong-Meon, South Korea-

One of the questions I have been asked about the marriage of Aram and Yunhee is how I feel about my son marrying someone from another nation or culture.  (“Race” is left out of this, thankfully. )  My answer is very simple:  Aram has married a beautiful and highly intelligent young woman, who will bring great pride and joy to my family  We, in turn, will bring a great deal of the same to her equally distinguished family.

There was a time, even during our previous living in Korea, when language and cultural differences cast all manner of misunderstandings and suspicion upon even the strongest of work relationships and faith community affairs.  Slowly and carefully, we managed, by working together, to mitigate the worst of these.  Aram, being an infant and toddler at the time, was largely spared the relatively few insults and personal attacks that came our way-not just from more hidebound people in this society, but from equally narrow-minded people on the eastern shore of the Pacific as well.

My friendship with the Shin and Park families has been instantaneous.  There is none of the rancour or suspicion of the 1980’s and ’90’s to soil the life of the extended family.  The growing pains have eased, and we have found that there is an authentic human bond.

This is as Baha’u’llah intended, in calling for the spiritual unification of the entire planet- before other forms of unity are truly realized  This does not mean uniformity, which is the antithesis of true unity.  We families will long cherish each other, much as those who were previously set, within the bounds of American culture, have proven enduring.  It’s time for the next step forward, and the rising generations are leading the way.  I am gladly following that lead.

NEXT:  Chonju and its historical preservation

Their New Beginning

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March 10, 2019, Guangju-

This city was once best known as place of uprising- against a second-level military regime, in the Spring of 1980.  Although the uprising was initially quashed, its target, President Chun Doo-hwan, never gained the level of power and stability he wanted, and eventually stepped down, on the last day of 1988.

Today, Guang-joo is a more peaceful place and was the scene of the consecration of the marriage of Aram Boivin and Yunhee Shin, my son and daughter-in-law.  Now they have established themselves as  a full-fledged unit.  At the nicely-appointed Sangmoo Ritz Wedding Hall, a reverent blend of Baha’i scripture and tasteful musical selections made for a lovely hour-long ceremony, cementing what was set in motion with their civil wedding, last November in Guam, which, being an American Territory, provided the U.S. marriage license that will just make things easier, when it comes time for them to return to the U.S.

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I gave a short speech, as father of the groom, but otherwise submitted to the instructions of the wedding planner, photographer and master of ceremonies,  I did get in a few photographs, prior to the ceremony.

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The above has Yunhee’s name written in Hangul (Korean script), with her family name first, then her given name.  The names of us parents are written above.

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The flower arrangements are from well-wishers. Below are random photos of Yunhee and Aram, in the lobby of the wedding hall.

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Another milestone has passed, yet with it, the duties of a father-in-law, and God willing, those of a grandparent, will fall to me. My family has now been extended across the Pacific and I have a feeling the blessings far outweigh the burdens.  We will enjoy the rest of this fine week together- tomorrow with Yunhee’s parents and the remainder of the week, divided between Busan and Jeju, the place of Aram’s birth and a well-established resort community.