Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jeju-do: Part 1: getting there and trying to find a waterfall

On Friday morning mom and I woke up early and took a bus to Busan. The ride was a little less than 2 hours and was pleasant. Then we took a cab to the airport which is on a small island in the river in the middle of the city. The cab ride cost as much as a bus ticket. We checked in pretty easily at the airport and then went to find mom some food. We ended up at the airport cafeteria where mom got some "Asian noodles" from the choices of Asian, Korean or Japanese. They were the first thing she enjoyed eating.
Asian noodles and pickled radish
Then we got on the plane. We had to walk a short way on the tarmac. That's when I noticed that we were about the only people carrying luggage; the majority of people only had a backpack or small bag. The flight lasted an hour and Jeff was waiting for us at the airport (he had flown in from Seoul and waited about 30 minutes). I saw him first and walked towards him, but mom didn't so we watched to see how long it would take her to find us. Then we all got on the 600 bus or airport limo bus. It was about a 50 minute ride to our hotel as we were staying on the opposite side of the island from the airport. Jeff and I played horseshoes on his Ipod for the majority of the trip.

Our hotel (the Hyatt) was very nice. It's in a seperate section of hotels and museums called Jungmun resort complex. We checked into our room which had a double bed and a single bed. There was also a nice balcony.
View of the lobby from the glass elevator
View of the mountains from our balcony
View of the ocean from our balcony
Mom got the club level because her best friend Rick Steves (or Frommer) said it was worth the extra money because you got continental breakfast, soda/snacks all day and a 2 hour "happy hour" in the evenings. So after dropping off our stuff we went to check out the club room. We had coffees and some cookies. Then we attempted to find a waterfall that was close to our hotel. We got a map and directions from the front desk and set out. On the way, we passed the Teddy Bear Museum (which mom and I considered going to later but it was like a $10 entrance fee so we decided not to) and the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum.
Sign in front of Teddy Bear Museum
Front of Ripley's musuem
Backside of Ripleys
Believe it or not, the GS 25 is that way
Jeff poked the fat guy and was laughing about it when I took this picture

We also passed some Korean hikers and a templed-out Family Mart. We also passed the entrance to the waterfall, which we thought was the botanical gardens...I even took a picture of it. We did not find this out until 2 days later.
Walking up the street
Hard core hikers
Worshipping chips?
Entrance to "real" waterfall which we thought was the botanical gardens which are next door
So, we found a wooden path next to a gorge (or chasm as Jeff called it) and decided to follow it, thinking it would lead us to the waterfall. It went on for quite awhile and ended in a park with this waterfall.
Waterfall, which we later found out is actually the third in a series
Waterfall and park
View of what we later discovered is the 7 nymphs bridge near the "real" waterfall
Mom standing near the bridge over the gorge
Wooden walkway next to gorge
Crazy tree
Bridge over gorge
Needless to say, we were somewhat disappointed. As it turns out, this is the 3rd waterfall in a series, the 2nd of which is the big one. After walking around the park for a bit, Jeff made me cross this stone bridge instead of the nice wooden one because I don't like things like this. It felt like "sinkers and floaters" on MXC.
Rock bridge over a small dam
wooden bridge
Then we walked past a marina and ended up on the grounds of the Seaes hotel. We walked around there and took pictures for about 30 minutes, but when we started walking towards the guest cottages, a hotel worker came out and directed us to the parking lot - oops.
Mom on a swing at the Seaes
View of Hyatt from Seaes hotel

We then walked down a street and came upon Pacific land which advertised this:
Awesomest sounding show ever

How could you not want to see this? So we found show times and Jeff and I discussed various ideas of what the show would entail. We mainly wanted to see a monkey riding a dolphin. We made it back to our hotel just in time for happy hour. I had a beer and diet coke, Jeff had beer and wine and mom had wine and wine. They also had fruit, sushi, cheese and crackers, salsa and nuts (which they had every night) as well as kimchi pancakes, ham salad, creme brulee, and these balls which were like hush puppies with rice inside.

After happy hour, Jeff went downstairs to the casino and proceeded to lose monies (he made most of it back later) and drink gin and tonics. Mom and I watched the royal wedding in Korean until I found CNN. Then we went to the concierge's desk and organized our plans for Saturday before meeting Jeff in the casino. There is more to the evening, including one of my favorite pictures I've taken ever, but I will put that in my next post since this one is long already.

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