Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Vacation Part 2

With our things well tucked away in the trunk of our new rental car, we set off into the streets of Jeju. First thing on our list was find an LPG station to fill up the tank on the car. After wandering around trying desperately to read the hastily obtained maps of the area, we finally find what we are looking for and top off the tank. Then as we leave, setting off to start our vacation on the beautiful island of Jeju, not more than twenty minutes after departing the airport, we had a little accident. Not to worry, when I say little accident, I mean a little accident. I tiny, minor fender bender, to which we are all eternally thankful. We stood around for about half an hour as insurance people and various officials came to help us deal with the situation (thankfully Megan insisted on us adding the insurance onto the rental before leaving the parking lot). With Chulgyu a little shaken up and our trip a little more expensive, I was determined to not let this affect our vacation.

It never gets old that I can go and actually read signs like this (the big one, I mean)

With food soon in our bellies and the accident quickly behind us, as the rain began to fall we once again started our trip. As we drove to our accommodations we stopped at the first attraction I saw. Rigid plans be damned we needed to find something. With a sign, pointing the way to Sangumburi Crater, I directed Chulgyu to turn. In the growing downpour, we donned our raincoats, covered cameras in plastic bags and paid entrance into the park to see the volcanic crater. The ancient geological pot was filled with the greenest of trees, still vibrant in the fog and mist. The rain was mildly chilly, a welcome relief from the summer heat.
This shoulder-high razor grass was beautiful in the rain,
and Megan even saw a bounding roe deer leaping through the fields.

the view from our room
After visiting the crater, we finally made our way to the pension, a serene little place nestled in the green fields under tree covered mountains. The air was moist with rain and silence. Working so late into the evening on Friday, and waking up well before dawn to catch our flight, we were all exhausted. Lugging our suitcases and backpacks to our spacious room, we collapsed on beds and floors for a lengthy mid-day nap.
As everyone awoke, dazed but feeling more human, we talked through other plans, watched television on an enormous screen until our rumbling stomachs warned us that a meal needed to come soon. Asking the proprietors of the cozy little pension where they like to eat, we set off into the tiny town in search of dinner.
Jeju's culinary specialty is something called Black Pork. Coming from a specific species of pig, known for its dark black skin. This unto itself is hardly a remarkable thing as it isn't the skin I was planning to eat. The fact that had us all a bit more wary was actually the diet of these unique ungulates. Among their usual diet of pig feed and grains, these pigs are often fed waste. I don't mean garbage. I mean human waste (laughs awkwardly). Among Koreans these are often called "poopie pigs". Now I will admit my nose was as wrinkled as most of yours are right now. But in the spirit of adventure, I dove in. It was different. But, to be honest. It was probably the best pork I have ever eaten. I really enjoyed it (this meaning a lot coming from someone who normally doesn't like pig meat). I will admit, it is a strange notion, one Megan couldn't quite bring herself to get past. But she really missed out on a great meal (but completely understandable).

After a brief stroll on a rain drenched beach in the dark, we returned to the pension for a full night's sleep.


Lin & Lu said...

Mmmm. Poopie Pigs don't sound all that delicious at all. I think I'm with Megan on this one.

Jeff Powers said...

It is really a hard idea to stomach, and to be honest, I am not entirely sure how true it is anymore, if that is all legend of things done in the past. We are eating "pig neck" (not sure what cut that is) and it was really delicious. Compared to other parts of the pig I have eaten thus far, it was rather delicious (even better than the pig intestine!).

Meg said...

In all fairness, I already wasn't feeling well, and if the poopiness of it hadn't been discussed so much right before we were going to eat, I probably would have have been able to contain my overactive imagination and have a taste. Although the idea of eating something that eats my waste still doesn't seem to make logical sense to me.

Jeff Powers said...

I'm not sure logic has much to do with it. Though recycling is very sensible.

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