On Tuesday I got up at like 630ish again. Went to the FamilyMart (a convenience store) up the street and grabbed some of the iced coffee shot things that I had wondrously discovered on Monday. Went to class at 9 and got out at 12. We had lunch in the student cafeteria-like restaurant where I again ate mysterious dishes which I knew nothing of their contents. Professor McCuan said told Ethan and I that he was going to have dinner with the dean and president of Jeju National University, as it is Korean tradition for the host of any institution who is having guests to meet with them in the first 48 hours. That left Ethan and I on our own for dinner, we stupidly didn’t create a plan to meet up with Erica and Holly after lunch. We figured we would keep it simple and just go to the cafeteria anyways. I took it easy, tried to get the internet set up and walked around a bit. The cafeteria was closed so we went up the street to this restaurant just off campus. We looked in and saw that there were pictures of the food so we knew we could eat there. We walked in and the hostess rattles of something in Korean. We just kind of stare stupidly other patrons start looking at us, then they all laughed at our blank faces. She then gestured to a table, with the bulk of the surface of the table being taken up by a massive iron skillet. We looked at the pictures and decided on the pork strips, a specialty on Jeju Island. The hostess came over to take our order and we awkwardly point at the picture of the pork on the wall, one of the patrons says “pork?” we nod yes and show on our hands that we want an order for two. Next thing I know she is firing up the grill and bringing us plate upon plate of side dishes filling our table space up to the breaking point. The last thing she brings out are these savory looking slabs of raw pork, tongs and scissors. She greases up the skillet using a chunk of pork fat and then we were left on our own to cook it. Luckily we ran into Ko who gave us a brief rundown on how to cook the meat and how to eat it. What you do is cut up the pork into chunks and then put them on a piece of lettuce adding desired side dishes and then rolling up the whole package to make a delicious carb-free wrap. Towards the end of the meal the hostess came to our table again and asked us a question, a ROTC student next to our table saw that we were struggling to communicate and offered to translate with perfect English, he helped us order rice and soup which was tremendously because otherwise we would have just starred stupidly. The total cost of the meal was like $6.50 which was a bargain considering how good the food was and the portion size. We went back to the dorm and called it a night.
After class on Wednesday, we all decided to walk down to the bus stop at the foot of campus and try to figure out which bus to take down into Jeju City, or just hop on any bus and see where we would end up. All of the bus maps in Jeju are in Korean so we really couldn’t plan anything even if we wanted to. Luckily one bus had a sign on it that said “Jeju City – City Hall” written in English, we knew that was the downtown area so we hopped on not really knowing where we were going to end up. The interior of the bus was like a hybrid between a long distance bus and a normal city bus. The interior had sort of frilly curtains draping the windows and had seats that were actually seats rather than the plastic chairs that are designed to be incredibly easy to wash off bodily fluids from. As we approached the city the bus stops started to be announced in not only Korean but English and Chinese, whichh was a welcome relief. We decided to get off around city hall which is the downtown area of Jeju City.
When we got off the bus we walked down the main drag ducking down side streets we found interesting. It was nice to walk around with a group of people who also are completely oblivious to the language and can only guess what certain things are. Every new storefront is like a mini-mystery that we get to solve. It is more stimulating than just simply having a guide explain every little detail. We walked through a small market area which was either winding down or starting up. There were numerous stands set up usually with elderly women manning them. Due to some odd tax laws women in Jeju are traditionally the ones dealing with certain businesses. We kept walking and we stumbled upon an elementary school which is markedly bigger then elementary schools in the states. As we walked I pointed out that the Korean Airline Hotel which is one of the bigger buildings dominating Jeju City’s skyline, had what appeared to be a sky bar on the top floor. We figured the view from the top would be incredibly even in the fog so we all decided to go up and check it out. We reached the top and walked down a hallway where there were beautiful banquet rooms which gave incredibly views of Jeju City. We reached the end of the hallway and were greeted with these brightly glowing stairs leading up to the sky lounge. The effect was heavenly, I felt as though I was walking up the pearly gates. The skylounge was completely empty; it was like 4PM on a Wednesday which is not exactly peak business hours for a ritzy sky bar. The view from the table was incredible. But the best view was from the male urinals, which were facing a panoramic view of the sea. Pretty much the best view I have ever had while peeing.
After we left the sky bar we wandered through some parks. The parks are incredibly green with lots of tree cover. The park seemed to be populated by older Koreans going for walks and enjoying the park. We walked past a group of men who were yelling excitedly and surrounding a table as they were playing a game. We thought about investigating further but they were giving us some mean looks so we just kept on our merry way. We decided to try and find a Indian restaurant called the “Baghdad Café” that Ethan had read about online. Using Google Maps and wifi we were able to decipher the narrow streets and find the restaurant. It was a nice change of pace at the Baghdad Café, everyone spoke English and we were given forks. The food was amazing. The restaurant seemed to be a favorite of the islands Muslim population. While we were eating there was a group of about 15-20 who came in ate and left all in a span of about 45 minutes. Apparently they like the restaurant because they serve food Hallah. It was easy to lose yourself in the restaurant; it truly felt as though we were back in America. Everyone was speaking English we were using forks and there was a diverse group of people inside of the restaurant. But once we left we were back in Korea back to fun miscommunications and unknown foods.
|This stuff is exactly the same as Red Bull but only 80 cents|
|Inside of the bus|
|Professor McCuan, Ethan and Holly trying to figure out where to head|
|A statue by the bus stop.|
|I took a bunch of photos of the streets, I think it conveys the feeling of the city the best.|
|Ducks mourning their fallen brethren|
|View from our table on top of the Korean Airlines Hotel|
|Best urinals ever.|
|It feels good peeing with this view. I felt like Scarface.|
|Walking up to the pearly gates|
|Outdoor gym in the park. Getting tons of use, in America it would probably be tagged up with MS13 tags and used as a sleeping area for drug addicts. But it works here as an outdoor curves.|
|Thinking statue in the park. There were lots of statues scattered around the park.|
|Aww you guys!|
|Interesting use of the second-person narrative. Very post-modern.|
|Passengers running to the waiting bus|
|Bagdad Cafe, an Indian restaurant. In Korea.|
|Arcade's are big here. I need to spend some more time exploring them these next few weeks.|
|A bar named after the exotic land of "Kansas".|