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9 June 2005
South Korean Flag

KLB - Ganghwa-do (3)

The last installment from our trip to Ganghwa-do, brought to you by KLB.

Nice shot of the temple here, ala John. Notice up in the left corner, way up there? Yes, that's right, the walkway and stairs go all the way up there.

A shot of me looking around in awe. This place was really nice. See, now what gets me is this. Look at that sky. You never see that kind of blue sky in Seoul. That's what is sad about living in a modern city, all the pollution. You convince yourself it's just haze and fog and humidity, until you get out and see this.

We hung around this level for awhile snapping pictures:

I'm probably committing some kind of sacrilege here, but it's a cool picture nonetheless. I always wanted a pet that looked like this.

OK, enough dilly-dallying, back to the steep climb. The hardest part is ahead.

Now here is where practices of old and new work in harmony. I've always admired the stone piles like these that you see around temples and trails, but I never knew what the significance was. Welp, back in the modern wolrd, fire up the computer, enter keywords in Google, and presto, the answer: "Along the trails in Korea you see piles of rocks. A prayer will be said as the rock is put on the pile. By attaching a stone to another rock's surface is a better chance of having your prayer answered. The stack of rocks can become very high." Wow, cool, so it's an ancient form of the game Jenga. So, what if you add a rock that causes the pile to tumble? I guess you're doomed to bad Karma for eternity.

And to think some of them start as small as this one. Ancient style Jenga was way cooler than the modern day version....

Here's John striking a serious photographic pose. Hi, Mom!

There's no perspective to this shot, but this resting Buddha figure was enormous.

Finally, up at the top, you come to this ancient stone Buddha sculpture. Again, no perspective, but it was very large and everyone was up here bowing and lighting incense and whatnot. Out of respect, we didn't take pictures of them.

I have no idea what this says, but I assume it says something very deep and meaningul.

You can see from this nice shot how far we climbed. Beautiful scenery. We really enjoyed the hike.

On the way down we stopped and, for a measly $10, we enjoyed the local dong-dong ju (unfiltered rice wine) and a few really delicious side dishes, the main being some kind of friend potato pancake that was awesome and very filling. We weren't hungry again until later at night. Apparently the rice wine from here is famous. It tasted really good and I ended up buying a jug for $5 before leaving the island, though it's still sitting in the fridge. It's not as much fun to drink with boiled eggs and tuna.

OK, I couldn't resist throwing in one shot of the flies infesting all the dried shrimp...that can't be healthy can it?

Anyway, we really wanted to continue exploring the island but unfortunately, there was one big drawback to the trip. The busses. For some reason we never did take any pictures of the gigantic lines, but the busses only came once an hour. We were supposed to go down to a famous beach, perhaps even take a ferry to another island, but after waiting nearly two hours in line, we decided we better get back on the bus from where we came. This was really too bad and we couldn't figure out why they wouldn't invest in better transportation on such a touristy island, especially what, with all the flub-dub in that video about how important the island is to Korea and the world!

John took a bunch of pics of the countryside through the door of the bus where we were squished like sardines.

Back to the ferry. That was one of the nicest parts of the trip anyway.
The cool breeze, the smell of the ocean, little kids throwing shrimp chips at seagulls.

If it wasn't for the fact that we didn't know where to sleep, and if it there had been a better public transportation system around the island (that was a real bummer baking in the sun for two hours waiting to be crammed on a bus) we may have stayed another night. But we stumbled upon a bus heading back to Seoul and decided to take it. While waiting in line we noticed a butcher shop across the street and mosied over. For only $7 we got a gigantic bag full of bacon-style pork which we were eager to get home and cook (coming next post).

And, finally, the last pic from our trip: a wonderful shot of the bus back to Seoul -and some happy looking ajumma.

Thank you for reading about our trip to Ganghwa-do. Stay tuned for more adventures, including a couple of pics from the last day at my school and information about where and what I will be doing the next month...


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