Saturday, August 10, 2013

Jeju Island (Wednesday)

Wednesday morning came and I was still tired from my full day on Tuesday. But, I knew I couldn't waste any time on Jeju! I wanted to accomplish something else today, so I decided to make my way to Udo Island on the east coast of Jeju Island. I debated about renting a bike and biking TO Udo, but I couldn't figure out the actual distance and if there were actually decent roads I could bike. I also wasn't sure about the cost of renting a bike here or there, so I asked the guy at the hostel again, and he told me that they could rent me a bike for 10,000W for the day, but it was too far to ride to Udo (~40-50km). I figured I might could do that, but I wouldn't want to turn around and come back in the same day. I decided to take a bus to Udo and rent a bike there.

After getting directions from the guy, I packed my backpack once again with water and snacks, and set off to the bus stop. Since I woke up late, I had missed the free breakfast, so I grabbed some sugary-sustenance from Dunkin Donuts (of which there are around 500 in Korea...). I got to the bus terminal and asked for a ticket to Udo. He gave me one (3,000W), but then I was totally lost as to which bus to actually get on. They didn't have numbers, and all the cities were written in Korean. I could have figure it out but it takes me a little while to sound out the Korean words and I was worried I would miss the bus by the time I could figure out all the words. I asked the ticket guy, but he spoke 3 words of English so he was no help.

Thankfully two women sitting next to the ticket window asked where I was going and said that they were taking the same bus that would take me to the ferry terminal to get to Udo, so relieved, I sat and waited for the bus. It took around 20 minutes to arrive, but at least I knew which bus to get on.

Once I boarded the bus, I wasn't sure how long it would take to get there. Everything is a slower pace on the island, and that includes the buses. It took an hour and a half to get there. A very boring, annoying start-and-stop hour and a half. When I finally got to the stop, I had to walk a little ways to get to the ferry terminal. As I was walking, I noticed that there was a Korean guy walking kind of close behind me to my left. I could see him in my peripheral vision, so he was quite close. We walked the same way, came to the parking lot for the ferry terminal and I kind of slowed down and then proceeded to follow HIM, since I wasn't completely sure where the ticket office was. Eventually it just evened out and we were walking parallel.

Finally inside the terminal, I jumped in line to get a ticket. The same Korean boy finally spoke to me and asked where I was going. I told him Udo, and he pointed to a counter with sheets of paper and said I had to fill something out. I filled out a paper with my name, country of origin, and phone number and got back in line. He stood with me and I asked him where he was going. He said Udo, too. He got his ticket and then I told the ticket guy "Same as him!" He laughed and helped me get the ticket and we chatted a little. He was traveling in Jeju alone as well. We decided to wait for the ferry together. As we were waiting, some old women were handing out flyers. He and I took one and it was for rentals (ATVs, scooters, and bikes) on the island. I told him I wanted to rent a bike on Udo and he said he did, too. We decided we should go together. Me, mostly because I wanted someone who could translate and help me rent the bike. Him, probably to practice his English. He was around 19 years old (western age), and a freshman in university. It was the first time I've felt old in Korea, as compared to most teachers I am a baby.

We got on the ferry and I saw Seongsan Ilchulbong, or Sunrise Peak (see photo above). I couldn't find the motivation to get out and see it at sunrise like a proper tourist should, but I got to see it from the water and that was pretty cool. Besides, after yesterday, I had no desire to climb it. Anyway, my new friend Bae was painfully quiet, so I mostly just snapped photos of a cool lighthouse and the island as we approached it.

As we were leaving the harbor from Jeju to Udo island.
When we got off the ferry, we made a beeline for some of the bike rental places. There were about 5 in the immediately vicinity of the ferry terminal. We priced a few places and finally settled on 10,000W for 4 hours. Since it was already around 1:45pm, 4 hours was actually plenty of time. The last ferry back to Jeju was at 6pm, so we had just the right amount of time.

We took off heading northwest around the island. It is shaped like a cow laying on its side (Udo actually means cow in Chinese, apparently...) and we started from the harbor on the west side midway along the coast. The road was well paved and I enjoyed picking up speed along the straight parts and coasting around corners. The bike was much better than my beater back home, so I had a blast actually using gears and such. I do wish I hadn't needed to keep my backpack with me, because it really soaked my back with sweat. I immediately started scouting for a place to stop for some water. It was about a mile and a half before we came to a point where there were people stopped. We checked out this lighthouse and little rock-fortress type place, and I grabbed a coke from the vending machine. Of course, as soon as we took off again, like a quarter mile further there was a convenience store with waters. -__-

We kept on and the path got a little more bumpy and we started taking an incline for a couple miles. It was really beautiful scenery along the coast. The water was gorgeous, just like Jeju. But here the landscape opposite the beach side was also pretty, with tall grasses waving in the wind, small houses dotted around the hills. We eventually got to a very steep part of the trail where there was a convenience store and some restaurants. It also had a wonderful view of the peak on Udo, which had a beautiful lighthouse. I suppose we could have hiked up to the top, but I was content to take some photos and leave it at that. I was enjoying biking too much. I grabbed some cold water and an ice cream at the GS25 convenience store and relaxed a bit with the great scenery. My biking partner, Bae, was still about as talkative as a rock, but it was kind of nice to have someone around.

We headed back out and to my amazement we hit the other harbor after only maybe another mile. There are two harbors on Udo, not too far apart from each other. Hitting that part of the island meant we were nearly finished with the circumference. We had plenty of time left, so I suggested we get some food. We decided to keep it cheap and got convenience store ramen noodles. Bae actually showed me a cool way to fold the paper lid from the ramen bowls and turn it into a cup to put some noodles into and sip from.

When we were leaving the store, we decided to get some more water. I grabbed a cold water from the fridge for 500W, but I saw Bae had gotten a completely frozen bottle from a tub near the door. Thinking, "Hey, same brand = same price, but I can have a frozen one to keep cool longer, I'll do that too!" However, when the cashier rang me up, she told me it was 1,000W. I looked at her in confusion and asked again. She repeated 1,000W. I pointed at the fridge and said 500W? And she shook her head. I looked at Bae and asked "This thing is TWICE the price because it is ice rather than liquid?!" He kind of chuckled and nodded. I looked at the girl and said "That is the stupidest thing ever. No way." I grabbed the 500W bottle and self-righteously walked out. When we were unlocking our bikes, Bae asked if I knew a korean word (no idea what word it was), and I said "No, but I'm pretty sure it means ripoff." He laughed and said "Yep."

We decided that since we still had around an hour and a half til we wanted to catch the ferry, we should go to our favorite part of the path, the first 2 miles and stop and touch the water this time. So that's exactly what we did. I stopped at a couple different places, and it was really beautiful!! Once again, we barely spoke but it was nice to have someone else there, even if he was quiet as a church mouse.

The rocks in the middle of the pool were in the shape of a heart <3 td="">
Finally around 5, we headed back to the bike shop and turned in our bikes. We had just missed the 5 o'clock ferry, and waited in the air conditioned terminal waiting area. Finally we hopped the ferry back and said goodbye to Udo Island. It was a really enjoyable day biking (around 12 miles total, I think). I was pretty sweaty and hot, but we headed back to the bus stop. Bae was going to stay the night in the area, but he took me to the correct bus stop and waited with me to make sure I got the right one. It was nearly a 30 minute wait!! We then said goodbye and I settled in for a long bus ride home. My phone was dying but I used the last of it to make sure I knew were I was going and to listen to some music (to make the ride slightly more bearable).

By the time I got back to the hostel it was around 8pm, so I once again showered, flaked out on the bed, then forced myself to go to the kimbap place to get some food. Just want to note here that I had not spent more than $5 on a meal in Jeju. I'm weirdly proud of that fact... I can be frugal when necessary.

I ate my donkatsu, which is an Asia (Korean and Japanese mostly) dish of fried pork cutlet with sides. I had the cheesy variety, which includes some cheese under the breaded fried part, and it was so delicious. Probably because I had only eaten a donut and some convenience store ramen, but I felt like it was the best thing I could have ordered. And the right price too! 5,000W :)

Finally, I packed up my clothes (trying to separate my nasty sweaty stinky clothes from the last two days away from my nice clean clothes) and got ready for checking out of the hostel the next day. I was set to head to Jeju City in the north to have my first couchsurfing experience! But first, I needed some shut eye...

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