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