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.
Chefs for a morning
Abalone porridge and tuk-pae-gi (seafood hotpot) were accompanied by side dishes.
Below, is myok-guk, or Korean seaweed soup.
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.
This inscription blesses all who enter.
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.
On this rock, which fell from the roof of the cave, one can see luminescence-from microorganisms that thrive on its surface.
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.
Mr. Song is still alive and working hard, to constantly improve his visionary work.
Once past the dol-harubang collection, I decided to get a fuller view.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.