August 19, 2013

There Is No Try

A Korean guy and I were discussing a K-girl who was a shared acquaintance.

Korean guy: She is different from other girls. She is willing to try everything once. That is her good quality.

Me: No... not everything.

Korean guy: Kkkkk. Everything but you!

August 17, 2013

The Moses Miracle - Jindo Sea Parting

Jindo is an island located off the south coast of the Korean peninsula. Connected by a bridge to the mainland, the island is a quiet unheralded place for most of the year until almost a half a million vibrantly attired elderly Korean, youthful Westerners pretending to be English teachers, and tourists descend upon on it to attend the annual Jindo Sea Parting Festival. The sea parting phenomena gained international fame in the mid-1970's after the then French ambassador proclaimed it Korea's version of the Biblical 'Moses Miracle'.

Some of the teachers donned faux Moses beards and carried a staff to complete the scene as they trudged across the 2.8 kilometre stretch of land that emerged from the sea, connecting Jindo to the even smaller island of Modo. A lot of people did not bother to walk across the whole way, preferring to stop and collect the seaweed, abalone, and starfish that surfaced once the sea floor was revealed.

The path only lasts for about an hour each day during the four days of the festival before the sea level rises to cover it up again, so there is heavy foot traffic that makes it a tough distance to cover in such a short time. As the clock ticked down, the waves rushed back in quickly with tremendous force. That is why many don vividly coloured knee high plastic boots to keep dry as they walk across the sea bed.

Although science has washed away the mysteries behind the magical sea parting, the tale behind the tidal harmonics remains enchanting. In the ancient days, many tigers were said to roam Jindo and feast on the delicious locals. Frightened villages fled to Modo for safety reasons, but an old grandmother was inadvertently left behind.

The old lady prayed to the mythical dragon king of the sea to be reunited with her family, who informed her a rainbow over the sea would connect her with her loved ones. Sure enough, her prayers were answered when the waters parted to reveal a rainbow-shaped pathway from Jindo to Modo. She rushed to her family. They met midway, with the exhausted but happy grannie breathing her last in the arms of her beloved family.

Apart from the sea parting phenomena, Jindo is also famous in Korea for its namesake breed of dogs. The Jindo dogs are heralded for their loyalty, intelligence, and courage. Protected under the auspices of Cultural Properties Protection Act and declared a national treasure, this particular breed of dog does not appear on Korean dinner tables. As I strolled through the back alleys of a Jindo neighbourhood, many yards had the dogs caged or tied up within them. They roamed about freely on the grounds of a Buddhist temple though, the look in their eye more wolfish than domesticated. I returned their gaze before continuing on my journey up a hill to get a panoramic view of Jindo.


A sojourner have I become in a foreign land. ~ Moses

August 16, 2013

Car Comparison

One day I was walking through a car park containing an assortment of vehicles in Seoul with an American guy.

Me: I often ask Korean girls why they are so fixated on Hyundais or Kias (Korean guys) and BMWs (white guys), when they could aim higher for an exotic supercar like a Ferrari or Lamborghini (myself).

American guy: ... And that is why you don't get a second date.

August 12, 2013

A Kind Reminder from China

I had mentioned to a Chinese beauty how badly her Korean counterparts were treating me, so she supplied some gentle words to soothe my suffering:

"Girls...hmm, never a problem, if they don't like you, it's their lost! However, you do need to express yourself more than just showing your HTML code...not every girl get it...a kind reminder ;P"

August 05, 2013

Horsing Around in Jeju

After several action packed days in Jeju spent fishing in the open seas and climbing 2000 meter high mountains, my last day on the beautiful South Korean island was much more laid back. The morning was allotted to wandering part of the world's best network of lava tubes, the evening to relaxing on several beaches, and the night on locating some of Jeju's fabled horse meat.

The lava tubes were formed as rivers of fire cut conduits through the island, leaving behind a geological treasure that hosts a diverse range of rock formations. The kilometre long lava tube is dark, as tunnels tend to be, with water dripping from up above in many spots. Enough artificial lighting has been added to make the tunnel walkable, but a solid camera is still needed to get proper shots in the dark.

The first beach we visited had clear aquamarine water and gigantic jellyfish, but not much else. We had not had any lunch so we decided to find a less isolated beach with more dining options. As we waited patiently at the bus stop to get from one beach to another, a friendly local offered us a ride. His English was unexpectedly existent, so were able to engage in basic communication. He took us to our beach destination via a scenic coastal route rather than the main highway so we could enjoy the view. Behind us, Hallasan dominated the skyline. In front of us, the sun put on a spectacular show as it set.

Although not very keen on the prospect, my travel companions agreed to accompany me on a hunt for horse meat for dinner. After several false starts and dead ends, we finally made our way to a horse house on the other side of town from where we initially began our quest for equine flesh. My two travel companions were hesitant about ponying up too much cash for horse meat, especially after seeing the hefty price tag for all the items on the menu.

"Fetishes are expensive" grumbled my Dutch friend, shooting me a look of disapproval. We went for the basic course rather than the lavish spread proposed by the staff. We were the only customers in the restaurant, but were still ushered into a private room before we were served our night mare. The marinated horse meat was quite succulent, making for a memorable last supper in Jeju.


"A lovely horse is always an experience... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words." ~ Beryl Markham

August 02, 2013

Maid in Korea

Korean man: Arnab has maid in India.

Korean woman: Really!?

Me: Many, but I don't have a personal one.

Korean man: Does maid help you take shower?

Me: In Korea I have no maid.

Korean woman: That is why you don't take shower! Hahahahaha.