2018 Korean Family Trip

(4/24/2018 - 5/4/2018)

In late April, 2018, Brian Wilson (me), Katherine Chung, and Katherine's Parents Ki (기) and Yong (용) flew to South Korea and met up with Katherine's brother Will.  One of the main reasons to go was to see the house where Katherine was born, along with visit some family shrines (traditional Korean grave site mounds).

Before we get started, here is the Chung family tree to understand the relationships:

 

Also, here are some location links to where Katherine was born, and some burial shrines of family we visited:  https://binged.it/2r8As7r and here are individual lat/long of each location:

Katherine Birth House: https://binged.it/2r9uy6a
Location: 35.028629,126.551000
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/wUmeSz3ytFn
Province Name: South Jeolla Province (전라남도) or "Jeollanam-do"
County: Hampyeong-gun
Myeon (Rural Area): Hakgyo-Myeon
Small Town (Village) Name: Jukjeong-ri

Yong's Grade School: https://binged.it/2HAFoNw
Location: 35.032883, 126.551071
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/qQbjU9WcZes

Yong's Parent's Shrine/Burial: https://binged.it/2r86JeV
Location: 35.022539,126.553550
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/pr2vq8kiJLF2

Ki's Family's Shrine: https://binged.it/2HA8bSu
Location: 35.070759,126.583722

Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/hSFLK3Pvm2v

 

Ok, on the the pictures!  Katherine and I started our journey at SFO (San Francisco Airport) where we took a quick hop down to LAX Airport (Los Angeles) where Katherine's parent's live.  We flew Korean Air. Below is a picture of the view from the Korean Air lounge in LAX where we all met up.

 

Below is a picture of the four of us aboard the direct, non-stop flight from LAX -> Korea's Incheon Airport.  Taken by the flight attendant before departure.

 

The flight attendants come and greet each passenger in business class before the flight.  They speak Korean to anyone who looks Asian and
English to anyone else. Katherine had a vague idea what they said, but waited for them to speak to Brian to fully understand what they were saying.  :-)

 

The picture below includes the tail number of our airplane, which is HL7614.  When you look it up, it says it is an Airbus A380-861.  In the picture below you can see Los Angeles as we depart for South Korea.

 

In the picture below, I have chosen bibimbap as my in-flight meal.  I thought it was kind of funny (it's a common Korean dish and I was going on a Korean trip), but it was the first of like 7 exact same bibimbap meals in the next 10 days, so the joke was on me.  :-)  That's Ok, though, as it is still one of my favorite Korean dishes.  The toothpaste-looking tube is filled with Gochujang (red chili paste).  It is about the same as Sriracha sauce (in the USA we always have this brand). The soup on the far right is called Dried Pollock Fish Soup. https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/bugeoguk

 

In business class on Korean Air, there are are a couple of these "lounge bar" areas serving mixed drinks and snacks. Below Katherine is wearing a seat belt on the couch. I think it is odd that more people didn't hang out in these areas - they were very comfortable and allowed us to wander around.

 

The view out the window as we land in Incheon Airport, South Korea.  That "haze" isn't fog, it is smog (sometimes called "Yellow Dust") that blows in from China.  There is some debate about whether it comes from the natural deserts of Mongolia, or is pure Chinese pollution.  Either way it isn't good for you.  It causes long term lung scarring, cancer, and other bad things.

 

There are a bunch of really interesting modern looking bridges all over South Korea.  Below is one of them as we land.  I believe this is the Incheon Bridge.

 

A few of the stewardesses line up to say "bye" ("안녕" in Korean) as we disembark the airplane. The stewardesses are all bilingual, if you look Asian (like Katherine) they say the phrase in Korean, if you look like a big, white guy (like me) then they say "buh-bye". :-) Oh, Korean women, including most if not all of the stewardesses, want the appearance of "Glass Skin." "Glass skin is a skin ideal in Korea,"said founders Sarah Lee and Christine Chang matter-of-factly. "It means skin that looks clear, poreless, translucent, [and] luminous ? like a piece of glass," they added.  You can see the shining foreheads of the flight attendants below.

 

A roughly 40-50 minute taxi ride from Incheon to Seoul, Korea.

 

This is my first time out in the wild in South Korea.  I had done a few 2-hour layovers in Incheon airport in the past few years, but never really visited South Korea.  The street signs (see below) are a mix of English and Korean characters.

 

Seoul Welcomes You sign:

 

After about 20 hours of continuous travel from San Francisco, here we are arriving at the Conrad Hilton Seoul South Korea. Katherine and I have a plan to just sleep and relax for the next 24 hours to recover from travelling.

 

Katherine and I have a "suite".  Below is the living room.

 

The bedroom.  Those windows look out over a corner view, but the "blast shields" are down which are COMPLETELY sun-proof so we can sleep.  :-)

 

The bathroom is quite extravagant, but it's not completely private.  If you open the window by the tub, even though we're on the 25th floor, you are basically looking into an office building with office workers a few feet away in another building. :-)

 

The shower is nice.

 

Here is the view out of our living room window overlooking the Han River. Notice the foggy/dusty-looking air? The whole time we were in South Korea, we had critical levels of Yellow Dust (aka Chinese Smog). It was EVERYWHERE in Korea, even when we went to Jeju Island (as far south as you can get from China)

 

The picture below is a badly rushed photoshop job composite I put together so you could see the entire head to toe building under construction next door.  If you click on the photo you can see men working.

 

Below is a very short 10-second movie panning the construction of the skyscraper across from the hotel.  Click here for the very highest quality original.

 

In the picture below, Jong Suk Youn (윤 종석) is in the pink shirt and blue jacket.  Jong is a paster.  Jong is Ki's cousin.  Jong is Ki's father's 2nd brother. Also in the picture below, Young Soo Youn (윤용수) is hugging Ki.  Young is Ki's nephew (Ki's brother's son).

 

In the picture below, Jong Yoon Youn (윤 종윤) is in glasses shaking Yong's hand.  Jong Yoon is Jong Suk's younger brother (making him also Ki's cousin).

 

Katherine forgot her iWatch charger, which gave us an excuse to run across Seoul in a taxi to see the brand new Apple store in the Gangnam District.

 

All over Seoul, you can see scooters like the one below making deliveries.

 

We made it to the Apple store, and met a nice Korean-American guy named Anthony Kadjevich who was SUPER helpful to us.  Anthony was imported by Apple to open the first Apple store in South Korea.

 

After our errand, we wandered around Gangnam.  We found this vending machine which kind of perplexed us.  Vending machines weren't super common on the streets, and of all the things to sell, this is what they chose?

 

I thought the building below was a fun looking, original swoopy design for a sky scraper.  It is the Harim Headquarters.

 

For entertainment, we decided to take an Uber back to our hotel.  We used the same app we use in San Francisco, a driver showed up in a couple minutes.

 

Random picture out the window of various English signs and Korean signs in Seoul, South Korea.

 

This venue by "The River" looked interesting.

 

Below is a close up of the venue.  I have no idea what it is for.

 

More street signs in Seoul.

 

As we drive along, a random picture of the riverfront in Seoul.  All high rise buildings.

 

I saw a lot of "small vans" of this exact type below in Seoul.  They are a Daewoo Damas Van, which is actually a "Suzuki Carry" rebranded.

 

We saw a few water skiers in the river, but actually very few boats which seemed odd to me.  But the boat below shot by, so there were some.

 

EVERYWHERE all across South Korea the high rise buildings more often than not had the pattern below.  I call them "Korean Tower Spires".  Do you have any idea what purpose they serve?  If you do, please: and explain why these exist!!

 

The picture the next morning is after the sun HAS FULLY RISEN.  It's a banner day for the Yellow Dust.  Seoul seems like a vibrant, wonderful, first class kick butt city, but for clean air I'd rather be in Tokyo or Manhattan!

 

The front lobby of the Seoul Conrad Hilton as we check out.

 

We're on a 7 hour road trip today to Gwangju (where Katherine was born).  Oh, and we met up with Will (Katherine's brother, seen below in white shirt).  Will was born in South Korea like Katherine, came over to the USA when he was 6 months old, but JUST came back to work in Seoul for a few years.  Because of his upbringing and some extra study, Will is bi-lingual Korean and English and can bridge communication gaps for his work.

 

We got our driver from "Sweetravel Korea" and the driver's name is S.J. and in the past he had lived in Texas for 10 years.  He was SUPER fluent in English, completely relaxed in both Korean and English.  S.J. was awesome!

 

The picture below has a few points I wanted to make.  The "cranes" are on the left of the picture are EVERYWHERE in South Korea because they are building like crazy and really seem like their economy is vibrant.  Also, the pattern of housing development is not the "sprawl" we see in the backwards USA where we actively limit house heights for some reason I cannot fathom.  Instead, in South Korea there are these clusters of housing all about 40 floors tall super tight together, then a lot of wide open green space for miles and miles around it.  I think it is wonderful compared with the USA.  In the USA, we believe in covering every square inch of everything with one-or-two floor tall buildings in a gigantic suburban sprawl paving over all nature.  NIMBYs will always protest tall buildings in my area of the San Francisco Bay Area insisting tall buildings making dense housing is bad.  It has led to a societal collapse in California that I don't think California can recover from, and hilariously the NIMBYs keep voting for the collapse.  I'm thinking of moving to South Korea based on what I see.

 

In the picture below, in the lower right you can see traditional Korean Kimchi stoneware pots.

 

More Kimchi stoneware pots.

 

This is a COMPLETELY random photo of motorcyclists in South Korea about three hours outside of Seoul.  (I ride a motorcycle sometimes, so I perk up at these things.)

 

We stop for lunch at a town famous for their bibimbap, at a highly reviewed restaurant for their bibimbap.

 

I like the decorative painted roof trim.

 

A different angle on the decorative roof trim of our restaurant.

 

We have a 30 minute wait for a table for lunch.

 

Inside the restaurant.

 

Food appears.

 

This soy bean soup is called "Kongnamul Guk" (콩나물국).

 

The bowl of slightly brown liquid below is Katherine's drink for lunch.  It is called Makgeolli (막걸리) and it has a slight alcohol content (like a light beer) and is made from fermented rice.

 

Our bibimbap arrives!  Korean meals almost always come with little tasty side dishes called "Banchan" (반찬).

 

Lunch.

 

The farther we get from Seoul, I notice fewer signs in English.  But still a few.

 

Below we arrive into the Holiday Inn in Gwangju, South Korea:

 

The front lobby.

 

Checking in.

 

Our living room.

 

That night we met up with some relatives that I had never met, and Yong and Ki had not seen in maybe 12 years?  At least?  We ate at the restaurant pointed at below.

 

Below Yong has his arm around his niece Yee Gyung Ae (이 경애).  Yong has not seen Gyung in at least 12 years.  Gyung is Sung Ja's 1st daughter.

 

The restaurant specializes in a type of meal the Koreans call "Korean Royal Court Cuisine" or loosely translated "The King's Table".  It's like a 12 course meal with extras, but all in a Korean spirit.  It's something worth doing once in your life.  It is also served at a little short table.  I asked our tour guide S.J. why so many Korean places have these little short tables when they are kind of uncomfortable for older people (and big white guys like me who aren't used to it).  S.J. said, "It isn't about better or worse, it's just a thing we Koreans do."  :-)   Here is a link to ANOTHER person who visited this restaurant: Link  This restaurant is in the "Sangmu District".
 

 

In the picture below from left to right is Yee Young Ok (이 영옥), Yee Gyung Ae (이 경애), Yong's older sister Sook Ja (숙자) holding Yong's hand, Yong Deuck Chung (용 ? 정), and on the far right Yong's older sister Hyang Ja (향 자).
Yee Young Ok is Sung Ja's 2nd daughter.
Yee Gyung Ae is Sung Ja's 1st daughter.

 

Yong sitting between his sisters.  Will (Yong's son) is on the far right in a white shirt.

 

 

CLICK HERE for a video of relatives meeting Katherine.

 

Sitting at our table.  That is S.J. on the far left (our tour guide).

 

Food starts showing up.  Lots of food.

 

Katherine looking wistful.

 

More food.

 

Below from left to right is Katherine Chung, Ki Chung, Nam Jung Gon (남 창곤), Yee Dong Hoon (이 동훈), Yee Dong Hoon's wife, and little dude at the end is Yee Dong Hoon's son
Nam Jung Gon is Sung Ok's 1st son.
Yee Dong Hoon is Sook Ja's son.

 

A big whole fish arrives.  Actually several of them.  The rice to the left of the fish is kind of a sticky sweet mixture made in leaves.

 

If you look closely, the dish below has tentacles because it is made of octupus.

 

Katherine looking beautiful.

 

The next morning, Katherine and I order breakfast delivered to our hotel room.

 

Today is the day we visit ancestor grave sites (shrines).  Here we are making plans.  When I say "we" I don't speak Korean so I just take pictures.  :-)

 

Below is a high level map of the family shrines (graves) we will visit this day along with the home where Katherine was born.  Click here for a much more detailed roadmap. 

 

Also, here is an interactive map with the locations on it: https://binged.it/2r8As7r and here are individual lat/long of each location:

Katherine Birth House: https://binged.it/2r9uy6a
Location: 35.028629,126.551000
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/wUmeSz3ytFn

Yong's Grade School: https://binged.it/2HAFoNw
Location: 35.032883, 126.551071
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/qQbjU9WcZes

Yong's Parent's Shrine/Burial: https://binged.it/2r86JeV
Location: 35.022539,126.553550
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/pr2vq8kiJLF2

Ki's Family's Shrine: https://binged.it/2HA8bSu
Location: 35.070759,126.583722

Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/hSFLK3Pvm2v

 

The first shrine (grave site) of the day is Yong's Older sister (YYY) shrine.  We parked by the ROTC building and walked up to the shrine.

 

Waiting for the other car to arrive.

 

It is a short 10 minute hike up a hill, so we leave some of the older women behind and four of us go up to pay our respects.

 

A sign along the way, we went "right" on this fork in the road.

 

Movie of dogs on way to shrine.

 

A little past the house with the dogs, the steepest part of the climb.

 

The traditional Korean burial mounds are in a pleasant, quiet spot overlooking a small lake on a hill with views.  Cousins Nam Jung Gon (남 창곤), Yee Dong Hoon (이 동훈) plant some flowers they brought to grow here.

 

Yong paying his respects to ZZZ his older sister?  Which one?  It is a Korean tradition to bow twice deeply (all the way to the ground) at the burial mound to pay respects.

 

Paying respect.  You can see the two newly planted flowers at each end of the cemetery.

 

There are four burial mounds here.  I believe the ones higher on the hill belong to parents, and their children are buried in the lower row of mounds.

 

After paying respects, we walk quietly off the hill.

 

A few minutes drive down the road, we stop at Yong's grade school!  It is now closed (no students attend here).  The locations are:

Yong's Grade School: https://binged.it/2HAFoNw
Location: 35.032883, 126.551071
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/qQbjU9WcZes

Below Katherine is standing by the locked gate with the school in the background.

 

Katherine standing with her father Yong.  Katherine is pointing at the name of the school.

 

Yong pointing at the name of the school he attended 65 years ago.

 

The whole time we were there this little frog was sitting quietly watching us.

 

A close up of the frog.  This picture isn't brightened or anything, this is just what the camera picked up in colors in a close up.

 

We "hopped" the fence and saw these flowers by the school.   I realized later this one entrance was locked, but the parking lot by the school was perfectly accessible from the other street and completely open. 

 

A picture of the school.

 

As we return to our car, a picture of the street corner and a sculpture.

 

Kind of an odd sculpture.  The "claw" at the top looks like a pair of pliers.  Google Street View at this location: https://goo.gl/maps/qQbjU9WcZes

 

Driving towards another burial shrine, Yong sees a very old friend (PPP) and we stop the car and they hug hello.  They haven't seen each other in decades.  This woman worked for the Chung family for a number of years.

 

Catching up with old friends.

 

Here we have arrived at Yong's parents (and some other relatives) burial shrine.  Here is  the location info:

Yong's Parent's Shrine/Burial: https://binged.it/2r86JeV
Location: 35.022539,126.553550
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/pr2vq8kiJLF2

Below we are discussing how to approach the shrine (the path has overgrown).

 

Finding the shrine.

 

Below is a picture of Yong's parent's shrine, and some others are also buried here including Yong's oldest brother Yong Ho Chung (용호정).

 

Ki paying respects to her father in law.

 

The inscription on the shrine.  I do not know what it says.

 

On the additional decorative posts there is some more writing, some in Chinese characters.

 

Decorative pillars around the shrine.

 

In the picture below, you can see the burial shrine looks out over the countryside. 

 

Movie 1 of eating food at shrine.

Movie 2 of eating food at shrine.

The relatives set out some food to eat and pour glasses of Makgeolli ( 막걸리).  The food includes dried octopus.

 

Paying respects.  This might be called kind of an Eumbok (음복) but informal?

 

Collecting up the food after.

 

In the picture below, notice the newly planted flowers on both sides of the shrine.

 

We walk back to our cars a slightly different route than we came.

 

A few hundred yards away is where Katherine was born.  The location info is here:

Katherine Birth House: https://binged.it/2r9uy6a
Location: 35.028629,126.551000
Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/wUmeSz3ytFn

Province Name: South Jeolla Province (전라남도) or "Jeollanam-do"

 

From the street, we walk a short path between the old homes in this village.

 

In the picture below, this is the gate into the house where Katherine was born.

 

Katherine and her father Yong by the front gate to the house showing the address.

 

The house where Katherine was born.

 

Katherine Birth House Location on a Map: https://binged.it/2r9uy6a
Latitude/Longitude Location: 35.028629,126.551000

 

Below is the moment Katherine's father Yong and mother Ki pointed out to Katherine the very room she was born in.  Click here for the highest quality version.  Katherine has not been back here in 43 years.  It is interesting to think of these three people (Yong, Ki, and Katherine) being here 43 years ago all so very young and not even knowing they would go to live in the USA.

 

Saying hello to a little barking doggy in the yard.

 

Two of the dogs (the all white and all black ones in the photo below) were tied up, the little brown and white dog was free to roam.

 

The roof on one house was in particularly great condition, including this decorative artwork/symbol on the end of the support beam.

 

Slightly different perspective.

 

I thought these "wooden windows" to a neighboring building were interesting.

 

The picture below is a panorama - you have to use your horizontal scrollbar to see it all. 

 

Along the back of the house.  Also notice the large stoneware pots in the lower left.

 

The back yard.

 

Stoneware kimchi pots on the back porch.

 

Same location, different perspective.

 

Yong planted the tree he is touching over 50 years ago.

 

Random picture of the backyard wall.  The way it changes from raw stacked mis-shapen bricks to cleaner, newer cinder block I think implies the lower part of the wall is much much older.

 

As we get ready to leave, staring back at the "yard entrance".

 

I can't remember why Katherine was pointing upwards at the tree?   Maybe she thought it was pretty.

 

Yong says the little door on the left was the old "out house" (toilet) before the house had plumbing.  When he was a child, he said he was afraid to come all the way out here at night when it was dark.  :-)

 

This little "entrance structure" is super interesting.  The roof is quite heavy and solid (probably relatively new compared with the rest of the construction).  The frame is "untreated natural wooden rounds" (not cut lumber) that isn't even close to straight.  The foundation is just collected rocks and some mortar.  Thethe walls are plastered but wearing away.  It just feels like the people that built it kind of tossed it up quickly, repaired it many times, and it ended up lasting a lifetime.

 

A final look back at the house Katherine was born in.

 

This house was next door, and looked abandoned.  The yard is clearly overgrown with weeds, but I can imagine if you trimmed the weeds and painted the house and cleaned it up it would be very scenic front porch area.

 

Father and daughter, walking away.

 

Katherine and her father.  Walking away for the second time in 43 years.

 

There were a few well maintained pagoda type structures for celebrations in the tiny "town".

 

I have no idea why there are Chinese characters on these things.

 

More Chinese writing.

 

The final shrine/burial site we visited was Ki's parents. Location here:

Ki's Family's Shrine: https://binged.it/2HA8bSu
Location: 35.070759,126.583722

Google Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/hSFLK3Pvm2v

In the picture below, the traditional Korean burial mounds are "fake" (nobody buried underneath them).  They are just part of a traditional Korean burial location so it is decorated with them.

 

Up past the burial mounds is the actual tomb/shrine with remains.  In the picture below, Katherine stands with her mother (Ki) and looks over her grandmother and grandfather's remains.

 

Katherine and her mother paying respects to Ki's parents.

 

One of the shrines inscriptions (to the left of the main shrine).

 

More inscriptions.

 

Looking out over the valley below with my back to the main shrine building.

 

A close up of the text/inscription on the plaque to the left.

 

Another plaque with more inscriptions.

 

More text.

 

A lot of the inscriptions are written in Chinese characters, not in Hangul (Korean characters).

 

A very small inscription on this particular plaque, with a specific date. 

 

A wall of Chinese text on one of the obelisks.

 

The view looking out from Ki's family burial shrine is beautiful.

 

After a heavy morning of visiting ancestors and shrines, we go to lunch in a local town of.  The location on a map of the restaurant is
Bing Map: https://binged.it/2Gx0rv8 
Latitude/Longitude:  35.064207,126.522868
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/1crqZ8iQt9D2

Picture of the walk up to the restaurant below:

 

The restaurant we ate lunch at is called "Mogposigdang".

 

We are here because immediately after lunch we want to visit the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival.

 

We leave our shoes in the hallway, and step into the area where we eat lunch.

 

Below is our whole group ordering lunch.

 

Lunch begins to arrive.

 

It starts with an appetizer of Haejang-guk (해장국) which means "coagulated blood soup".  I ate a tiny bit, but the idea kind of bothers me.  Some of the relatives in our party ate all the blood part, some only drank the broth, some (like me) left most of it behind.

 

Bibimbap for lunch!

 

If you need something else from the waitress, there is a convenient phone hanging on the wall you can ask for something else to be brought to the table.

 

After lunch we went to the butterfly festival!

 

Entering the butterfly festival.  I found the English capitalization and translation in the sign below slightly "off".

 

It is very hot outside, and Katherine found these little butterfly shaped "mist making machines" and Katherine stood underneath them.

 

Below is a very short movie of Katherine in the "mist".  Click here for the highest quality original.

 

It is hard to see in the pictures below, but there are butterflies flying about inside this green house type area.

 

Beautiful Orchids at the butterfly festival.  The butterflies seem to like these flowers.

 

Below is a short movie where I attempt to video record some of the butterflies which are almost impossible to get photos of.  :-)  Click here for the highest quality "original" version.

 

As we leave, Katherine sits in the butterfly chair and lets me take her picture.

 

In the picture below, Yong is saying goodbye to his relatives.  Yong may not be back for another full year, or even two years to see them in Korea again.  We head to the airport after this to take a flight to ANOTHER part of Korea.

 

We arrive in the Gwangju Airport to take a quick 50 minute flight to Jeju Island Korea.

 

We ride in a Bombardier CS300 airplane which is a new design, and is very comfortable and has USB outlets to charge phones and things.

 

A picture facing backwards showing what the airplane looks like.  I'm the only Caucasian person on the flight.

 

When we land at the Jeju Airport in Korea, I notice how high tech the luggage claim is (see below).  It is displaying English and Korean alternatively, and displaying promotional videos in grand color on the monitors.

 

We take a "big taxi" to our hotel on Jeju Island.

 

In the picture below, we are checking into the Haevichi Hotel on Jeju Island, South Korea.

 

In the lobby of the Haevichi Hotel they park various new cars as advertisements.  The car below is a Genesis G70.  "Genesis" is a subsiderary of Hyundai

 

The atrium of the Haevichi Hotel is seen below.  All rooms have windows facing out, and doors facing this atrium.

 

Picture of our room as we check in before we have messed it up too badly.

 

The picture below is from a few days later, but is a panorama of our view out our hotel window.

 

Standing on the balcony of our room looking at the ocean.  In the picture below, Katherine is pointed at part of the "escape system" in case of fire.

 

A close up of the instructions of the escape system they call "Fire Escape Device".  It has a typo in English, it says "Hong the hook to the ring safely". 

 

Below is a picture of the bathroom area.

 

Another picture of the bathroom.

 

In the picture below, you will see that in this hotel they provide BOTH 220V plugs (what you might find in England or Europe) and 110V plugs (what you would find in the USA).

 

I opened the drawer, and in addition to a "Gideon's Christian Bible", there is also a book on "Buddha Teachings".

 

I thought the children's daycare in the Haevichi hotel was very clean and kind of awesome.  Below is a picture of the entrance.

 

Katherine showing the height of the loft for the 3 - 5 year olds.

 

Another angle in the daycare.

 

Katherine standing underneath the very large flat lights.  Those are not skylights, they are completely flat.

 

In the picture below, Katherine points up at the big flat ceiling light.

 

There is a little Teepee Tent for the kids to play in.

 

For dinner, we go have some world famous Jeju Pork in the town a short 100 yard walk from the Haevichi Hotel.

 

Katherine is pointing at where we are on Jeju Island on the map.

 

All over South Korea, it is very common to see free self serve coffee offered by the front door.  Below is one example from this restaurant.

 

In this restaurant, they grill the Jeju Pork right at your table.

 

Here is our pork cooking, when the  "Banchan" (반찬) show up.  Banchan are the little side dishes.

 

Below is a short 20 second movie showing the "scene" of how they barbeque the pork at your table in Jeju Island, Korea.  Click here for the highest quality original version.

 

After dinner, we walked around the little town at night.  Here is a link to Google Street View in this town.

 

I thought the light pole below was very cute and decorative, but you can barely tell it has a little character picture drawn on it.

 

Some of the restaurants have live tanks of fish outside so that customers can get the very freshest sushi and other dishes.

 

The pretty nighttime lights.  It is a scenic little area at night.

 

Another outside fish tank.

 

Below is a panorama of the street area.

 

In the picture below, you see a statue above the restaurant entrance with a little boy with his naked butt sticking out towards a black pig.  On Jeju Island prior to 1960, the black pigs were kept there to dispose of human waste. In fact, pig toilets were quite common all over rural China for a few thousand years.

 

Below is a close up of the statue showing the little boy and the black pig.

 

In the picture below, there is a large rack of shoes at the front entrance to the restaurant.

 

We walked out to the sandy beach at night.  The walk way was lit with colored squares which was quite clever and pretty.

 

All over South Korea, many of the cars would have little blue foam rubber bumper pads on the doors.  These are "after market".  They saved the doors from getting their paint chipped when you open them up into other cars while parking in tight spots.

 

The next day we took a tour of some of Jeju Island, South Korea.  Our tour guide was Mr Ho.

 

We stopped at a "Traditional Korean Village" display.  This is like showing how people in the old west lived, it intends to show how people on Jeju Island might have lived four hundred years ago.

 

It is raining slightly as we tour the traditional Korean buildings.

 

Below is a "pig toilet" where you can see the little black pig statue on the right.

 

An entrance to a common area.

 

"Dol Hareubangs" ( 돌 하르방) means "Stone Grandfather".  These are statues on Jeju Island that are placed by entrances and gates to ward off evil spirits.  The position of their hands is important, one hand is ALWAYS higher than the other.  If the left hand is higher it is a warrior (soldier) because the bow is held in the left hand, and if the right hand is higher it is a civil official or teacher or artist because the brush (to write lettering or to paint) is held in the right hand.  Many of the Dol Hareubangs all over Jeju are manufactured recently, but the ones in the picture below are authentically ancient.

 

Next stop we went to Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak in Jeju Island, South Korea.

 

I did not take the picture below, I got it off another website.  But it shows from an airplane what Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak looks like, and what is going on with the surrounding areas.  When we were on Jeju Island, it was always overcast so we didn't really see the beauty.

 

Walking towards Seongsan Ilchulbong.

 

In the parking lot before ascending.

 

In the picture below, the part that is so striking to me is that there is no Korean translation of "Dunkin' Donuts".  It makes me realize that if you grow up in Korea, you absolutely MUST know English or you are lost part of the time.  Some signs are simply in English and not in a Korean translation.  That boggles my mind.  It would be like in the USA if there were signs that only Korean speakers could read.

 

In the parking lot of the Seongsan Ilchulbong, these all-electric cars were charging.  So there is infrastructure in Korea for electric cars, and enough people have them to have chargers all over the place.

 

A close up of the "EV Charging Station" in Jeju Island, South Korea.  Notice there is no Korean translation for "EV CHARGING STATION"? 

 

In the picture below, they provide compressed air for some reason.  The sign says "Dust Removal Machine".  So maybe it gets dusty?

 

Here we are walking up the very long staircase.

 

Turning around on the staircase and looking back.  The day we were there was a tragedy because the visibility wasn't good enough for a picture.

 

Deung Gyeong Dol Rock plaque.

 

Deung Gyeong Dol Rock - People who live in the village of Seongsan call this rock DeungGyeongDol (Lamp Rock).  Villagers have a custom of blowing a horn four times when passing by.  The first two blows are for goddess Sulmundaehalmang, a benevolent and beautiful creator of Jeju.  The last two blows are for General Kim Tong-Jeong, who sacrificed himself protecting his country from the Yuan Dynasty at the end of Korea's Goryeo Dynasty.  Legand has it that Goddess Sulmundaehalmang carried dirt with her skirt to make the island during the day, and by night, she would sew her skirt torn from the day's labor.  It is said that this is the rock Goddess Sulmundaehalmang used to set her lamp upon for sewing.  It is also told that when General Kim Tong-Jeong was building a fortress in Seongsan Village to protect the country, he jumped around the rock to train his body and mind.  The footprint on the middle of the rock is believed to have been thus carved.  In olden days villagers held ancestral rites and prayed for prosperity of the village and for families to live in peace.

 

Some boat docks far below, and some abalone divers (off picture to the right).

 

In the picture below, a fast food stand is selling "Giant Squid Skewer with Butter" and there are a line of people waiting.  If this stand opened in the United States, they could not sell a single skewer. 

 

After the day of site-seeing, Katherine and I walked across from the hotel to the 7-Eleven (seen below) to get some supplies.  7-Eleven was originally founded in Dallas, Texas, USA, but nowadays is owned by a Japanese company called Seven & I Holdings Co.  There are 64,319 7-Eleven stores in 18 countries.

 

In the picture below, Katherine is browsing the aisles in the 7-Eleven.  The brands and selection are profoundly different than in the USA.

 

A FEW brands can be recognized (like Cheetos) but most are really odd flavors like "Shrimp Chips".

 

Another aisle with some candy and Ding-Dongs Korean style.

 

Back in the hotel, Katherine and I had fried chicken in the whiskey bar in the Haevichi Hotel.  The order below is one order.  One serving.  It is gigantic.

 

The next day with Mr Ho again!

 

We visit some sites.

 

We are at the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall.  In the picture below, Katherine is pointing at the location of the waterfall on a map of Jeju Island, Korea.

 

One of the "Stone Grandfathers" ("Dol Hareubangs" - 돌 하르방).

 

More explanation on a plaque about the Dolhareubang.

 

In the picture below, a food service is selling delicious chewy fried squid!  Yay!  (Koreans really do eat most everything.)

 

Another picture of the chewy fried squid stand, and the line of people waiting to get some.

 

Walking towards the waterfall.

 

A plaque explaining the Cheonjiyeon Falls and Vicinity.

 

The beautiful Cheonjiyeon Waterfall.

 

I took the picture below to point out there was one other Caucasian person on Jeju Island while I was there!  That makes two of us in all of Jeju!

 

From left to right: Ki Chung, Brian Wilson (me - in back), Yong Chung (wearing hat), and Katherine Chung on far right.

 

In the picture below, we are making little hearts with our fingers, which is something the hip Korean kids are doing nowadays?  Or something?

 

A picture of the full Cheonjiyeon Waterfall below.

 

A wider picture of the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall in Jeju Island, South Korea.

 

In the picture below, I noticed this is a "No Drone Zone".

 

On the way back from the waterfall, we crossed this very cool "bridge".  (I'm not sure if it is a bridge when it is actually just posts sticking into the water.)

 

A close up of Katherine crossing the "bridge".

 

A few feet down the way, we stopped to scout out the Lotte Hotel in Jeju Island, South Korea.  This hotel has a whimsical pool area I wanted to see in person.

 

The pool area in the Lotte Hotel on Jeju Island.

 

If you zoom in, you can see a dragon in the artificial cliff in the pool area of the Lotte hotel.  This dragon is mechanical and comes out of the mountain during light shows.

 

Random picture of the Lotte Hotel pool area.

 

Lotte Hotel pool area.

 

Looking back from the pool area up at the Lotte Hotel in Jeju.  It's a big hotel.

 

Time for lunch!  The restaurant is called Sojou Jotta (회가조우타).  This restaurant is at Latitude/Longitude: 33.483849,126.53962 and here is a Google Map Link.

 

Lunch with little short tables on Jeju Island, South Korea.  Also notice we leave our shoes in the hallway.

 

Lunch with the family at a little short table on Jeju Island, South Korea.

 

Below is a 10 second video showing lunch and the fact that we're sitting cross legged at yet another Korean table.  :-)  Click here for the highest quality version of the movie.

 

Koreans have a couple of very unique eating utensils not seen in any other culture/country.  It is a set of thin metal chopsticks and a long handled spoon.  Together they are called Sujeo (수저).  The spoon alone is called sutgarak (숟가락) which is simply the word "spoon".  At our restaurant today, they individually wrap the spoon to prove it is clean.

 

Our meal consists of fish in soup and fish outside of soup and side dishes (Banchan).

 

If you look closely in the picture below, there is Kimchi and other side dishes (Banchan) and also fish with all the bones in the soup.

 

The fish have all their bones in them, so as you eat the soup, this pile of fish bones is extracted from the soup.  It makes eating go slower, which might be why all the Koreans are much thinner than Americans who have food prepared ready to hoover into our mouths with nothing to slow us down.

 

A picture of the kitchen of this restaurant.

 

As we leave, a clear shot of the phone number of this restaurant.

 

Next stop after lunch was to tour a "Traditional Korean Market" where the largest one anywhere on Jeju Island is the Jeju Dongmun Fish Market.  The latitude/longitude is: 33.5127621,126.5283929 and click here for a Google Link.

 

In the picture below, we have entered into the Dongmun Fish Market.

 

Below an old Korean lady sells octopus and possibly oysters?

 

In the picture below, the Koreans setup fans blowing down on the fish to kind of dry them out.

 

In the picture below, you can see the fans blowing down on the fish drying them out.

 

Assorted fish for sale in a traditional Korean market in Jeju Island, Korea.

 

Assorted kimchi for sale.

 

Another picture of the kimchi for sale.

 

Close up of spiced crab for sale in a traditional Korean market on Jeju Island, South Korea.

 

More stuff to buy.

 

In the picture below, the shop is selling Tilefish, Mackerel, hairtail, and yellow corvina.

 

Another aisle in the Dongmun Fish Market in Jeju Korea.

 

Most of the stuff in the picture below goes into Fish Sauce.  Fish Sauce is essentially fermented, aged fish and salt.

 

In the picture below, they have hung DVDs over the top of the food in the air, and have a fan pointed at all the food.  I'm not sure why?  Maybe to keep flies from settling?

 

Crazy stuff just sitting out in the air in this fish market in Korea.

 

We seem to have found the dried fish location.

 

There are various desserts and mochi (chewy rice treats).

 

Even more pickled things and stuff.

 

The picture below is Sea Squirt (which I ate earlier on this trip).

 

Another picture of the sea squirt.

 

A main intersection in this crazy dense Korean traditional market.

 

There are mushy creepy things in the picture below for sale, including what looks like an octopus.

 

Delivery scooters are everywhere in Korea, and it makes a lot of sense for these densely packed areas to get deliveries by these nimble scooters.  Here is a row of them.

 

A bunch of things that are alive in tanks in this traditional Korean market.  Koreans eat everything, and that goes double for random protein sources that come out of the ocean.

 

Katherine points at a live octopus in a tank in a traditional Korean market in Jeju Island.

 

The picture below contains sea slugs (also known as sea cucumber).  Koreans and Chinese people consider this tasty.

 

Overwhelming amounts of stuff for sale in this market.

 

The sign below says "Wow!  Good!" and sells you battered kabobs with very odd sea creatures in it.  Kids seem to be lining up to eat it.

 

In the picture below, a delivery scooter pushes through the crowd.

 

In the picture below there are two big soup bowls.

 

In the picture below, it has kind of a strange English translation "Welcome order like kimbap, tteokbokki group."

 

In the movie below, a delivery scooter makes its way through the traditional Korean market.  Click here for the very highest quality original.

 

A little further along, I think I see pig snouts for sale.  Click on the picture below for a detailed version.

 

Some squid for sale:

 

It is like a seafood shop of horrors.

 

Did you want some octopus parts?  Because we have parts from a gigantic octopus, and below that plate are some sea squirts to eat!

 

After leaving the traditional Korean market, we went to the "Jeju National Museum".  On the map it is at Latitude/Longitude: 33.5138669,126.547664 and click here for a Google Map.

 

Inside the museum.

 

In the picture below, I noticed the translation was a bit odd.  I think it is just a mis-placed space.  It says "as they we reput in a disadvantageous position".

 

At the end of the day, we open a bottle of Makgeolli (slightly alcoholic rice wine you can mix with a clear soda) and some snacks with Mr Ho.

 

In the picture below, I think this is shredded octopus.

 

It is the end of the day and we're back in the hotel atrium having a snack and a drink.

 

This is the Makgeolli  brand/type we had.

 

Katherine's parents retire to their room for the night, and we go up to our balcony to watch the sunset.

 

The next morning, we ride a pimped out bus to the airport to depart Jeju Island.

 

This is what the bus looks like inside, notice the steering wheel and stick shift.

 

There is a coffee maker on this bus.

 

In the picture below, we are in the Jeju Airport Korean Air Lounge waiting for our flight back to the mainland Korea.

 

The lounge has individually packaged shot glasses of water.  It is brand "Jeju Pure Water".  This is a pretty in-depth review of Jeju Water in a Pudding Cup.

 

While we were visiting South Korea, the North Korean Dear Leader Kim Jong Un came to visit.  Here he is on TV shaking hands with the South Korean President Moon Jae In

 

Airplanes on the tarmac at Jeju Airport.

 

Waiting for our flight back to Seoul Korea at Jeju Airport. 

 

Ki and Yong sitting down in first class on the way back from Jeju Island to Seoul, South Korea.

 

Arriving back in Seoul at Gimpo Airport, we were picked up by Yong's very close friend ZZZ.

 

Gimpo International Airport exit sign.

 

As we walked to the car, a hail storm started.  At Gimpo Airport!  Here we are like soaked mice just after climbing into the car. The only hail was in the walk to the car, that was the first and last time we saw frozen precipitation in Korea.

 

Driving back to Seoul and the Conrad Hilton, here are the street signs in both Korean and English.

 

Seoul Welcomes You sign.

 

The picture below shows a Kia Bongo J2 (I think).  I was intrigued by the "small truck with four back tires on one axle".  In the USA, some people call this a "Dually Truck".

 

Random picture of the buildings we are passing called "Samsung 305".

 

We drove by "Trump World Tower". 

 

Back at the Conrad Hilton, there is an underground mall called the "IFC Underground Mall in Seoul".  Katherine really wanted to try a very specific dish called "Jajangmyeon" (explanation below) in Korea, so we went down to the mall to search for it.  Below is Katherine excited to try it.

 

EXPLANATION: Katherine has a favorite food, and she wanted to make sure she tried the authentic Korean version while still in Seoul, South Korea.  This very specific food dish (seen in front of Katherine in the picture above) is onions on noodles. It is only found in certain Chinese restaurants that are influenced by Korean food. It is called It is called "Jajangmyeon" (It is spelled either 자장면 or 짜장면 in Korean.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jajangmyeon The yellow dish on the lower left of the picture below is "Takuan" and is a traditional sweet-ish daikon pickle served along with raw white onions and black bean dipping sauce. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takuan Now on the right side of the picture below is the dish is "Tangsuyuk" (Korean: 탕수육). Tangsuyuk (Korean: 탕수육, Chinese: 糖水肉), the Koreanized version of sweet and sour pork or orange chicken. Unlike the Americanized Chinese dish of the same name, tangsuyuk can be made with either pork or beef. If the meat is replaced with shrimp, the dish is called tangsu saeu. The Tangsuyuk is my (Brian's) favorite so we often get these two dishes together.  Brian's favorite is when the sauce is not mixed in with the tangsuyuk as delivered to the table and comes "on the side".  The pork is breaded and deep fried and super tasty with and without the sauce.

 

Brian wasn't feeling well, running a low grade fever, so Katherine's father picked up some local cold medicine for Brian.  It is pictured below, I have no idea what is in it.

 

The ingredients list is pictured below.  It didn't kill me.

 

While we were checking out of the Conrad Hilton for the last time.

 

I noticed this English/Korean keyboard for the computer.

 

We had an hour extra before we need to get on our flight home, so Yong diagrams out his family tree for us.

 

Below is what Yong and Ki wrote up, and what I entered into Ancestry.com for their family.

 

Yong with his very close friend ZZZ.

 

Yong, ZZZ, and Ki.

 

All of us together, family portrait.

 

One final picture of the Conrad Hilton Seoul lobby.

 

On the way to the airport, I took a picture of this bridge.  I think it is at Latitude/Longitude: 37.5724141,126.6634186 on a map.  Click here for a Google Maps Link.    If you know the name of it   There are several unique and architecturally interesting bridges in and around Seoul South Korea. 

 

We are departing South Korea out of Incheon Airport.  In the picture below we approach the airport.

 

On board our flight from Incheon Airport South Korea to LAX (Los Angeles).  We are on airplane number HL7628 (seen on the wing in the picture below) which is an Airbus A380-861.  Bye-bye Korea!

 

Business Class on Korean Airlines.  You can see Katherine next to me (white Bose headphones) and on the far window seats you can see Katherine's parents Yong and Ki.

 

Katherine's parents are all tuckered out after their Korean adventure, and they sleep on the way home. :-)

 

I call the picture below "Moonrise Over Airplane Wing".

 

I wake up after a night's sleep and see on the monitor (see picture below) that we are almost to Los Angeles.  I'm wearing the slippers they provide in business class, which are a little small for me.  (Korean people tend to be smaller than 6 foot 3 inches tall and 270 pounds.)

 

Baggage claim in LAX (Los Angeles).

 

We bought the flights to Los Angeles separately from our international flights so we could go through customs and baggage claim with Katherine's parents (who live in Los Angeles).  So we go back through security into a domestic flight in another terminal in LAX.

Here is yet another Movie of Katherine getting a pat-down from TSA while going through security in LAX.  Still not a terrorist!

Our domestic flight from LAX to SFO.  Here we are waiting at the gate.  Time to go home.

 

Last picture is waiting at baggage claim at SFO. 

 

And we went home!  That's it!

 

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