the best time to visit Koreas most picturesque mountain,
Naejangsan is at the break of dawn.At
a distance of just over 250km from home, we arrived at Naejangsan carpark just
past after a 3 hour journey,
inclusive of a 40 minute rest break for meals.The drive took us to the south western part of South Korea.
say that the mountain was burning in full bloom, painted with bright reds,
yellows and greens in the trees and as the day developed and the sunshine came
through, the sky turned blue.This
was truly a day for photographers and nature lovers.When the wind blew, the leaves that fell reminded everyone that winter is
on its way.
weather like this, the hawkers are also out in the numbers.Persimmons, called KAKI in Hangul (Korean language) are sold by the box
loads (about A$24 for a 10kg box) and as pictured to the right, in great
abundance.Note the Persimmon tree
to the right of the image, completely bald but loaded with the sun ripened
regionalisation of produce here is quite amazing.Drive another 50km away from this region and you would be hard pressed
looking for persimmons... or if you did find them, they would be much more
expensive than ones found in Naejangsan.
also sell a local wheat/barley based brew called "Dong Dong Chu"... a
very sweet smelling liqueur with a strong grainy taste.
is South Korea's most
northerly island, a reminder that every island seen north of here belongs to
communist North Korea.We used Ganghwado as a port to visit Seokmodo, a small island west of
Ganghwa do.Although we did not
witness this, Seokmodo is supposed to have the prettiest sunset in South Korea... probably
because it's the most westerly land of South Korea.
in the west, the was a place where the last monarch of Korea would be
protected against invaders.The
remnants of these were forts and garrisons built out of stone with cannons to
defend against the French, British and American invaders.
examining the forts, we realize the (poor) quality ofthe workmanship - in comparison with the kind of architectural and
engineering feat of the Egyptians and ancient Incans.. these people were not
geniuses, they just simply had to get the job done.The image above (right) show that in modern times, the inhabitants of
lands now to dry up food (in this case, chilies) for the winter.
was not only well known for their sunsets but also as a very picturesque place
frequented by the empress in former times.By our standards however, this has proven to be quite disappointing.
is seen above, there are a number of palaces and forts and there's the Bomunsa (BomunTemple), where the
image of Buddha was carved into the mountain wall. Actually,
according to their information it was supposed to be "Kuan Yin" - the
Goddess of mercy, but it looked a lot like Buddha! Jeanette
made the journey to the carving with 2 of her friends and confirmed with me that
yes, it was truly a waste of time. See,
experience counts for a lot in Korea.
image shown on the left is preserved octopus (left), preserved shrimp (middle)
and preserved fish. A bit unsightly but remember the word "Chinchaluk"
from Malacca?Well, this is not
much different to any of that, probably less saltier, I'm told.
Here,you can see bottles of the famous "Dong dong Chu" in South Korea with more in a
tub just for visitors and passers by to test.Korean hygiene at its best. I
wouldn't be surprised if there'll suddenly be 5,000 deaths reported from DDJ but
knowing the Koreans, it'll all be covered up and nobody will hear of it!.
came across this hawker, that simply had a medicinal potion boiling away to the
right of himself, yelling out at people of the stuff he was selling.
had peanuts, some red stuff and some root thing he said was from the spine of a
golden tiger! Later, we realized he meant golden grass ("Kum Chou"
in Cantonese and "Kim Chau" in Hokkien).Here he is chopping up little bits of golden grass off strands off the
less familiar golden grass branch.
mixed a handful of golden grass, the red nuts, peanuts, some other yellow stuff,
boiled them and then served them to the passers buy.The amazing thing is that in the hour I saw him serving the passers by,
he didn't sell anything!
looks somewhat uglier here than in Australia and is quite
expensive to purchase.Here,
Bernard is choosing his fish which I understand is going to be used for making
fish soup later in the week.
25%- 33% at the most of the first can be eaten.With a rather large, and ugly head, only fillets either side of the fish
is to be separated and then boiled in stock to make the desired soup.
that clamshells, crabs and various kinds of cockle shells for sale in the tubs
adjacent.Oh yes, the size of the
cockle shells are about 5-10 times that of the ones we're used to in Malaysia
(or Australia for that matter!). As most things are seasonal, the summer
vegetables are out - most of them are different kinds of beetroot, turnips and
radishes.Two months ago, Ganghwado
was teaming with the selling of purple grapes.. today, its all beetroot, turnip,
sweet potatoes and pumpkin!Variety
is not their strongest point in this country!!Of course, the seafood is abundant all year round.
year ago, I wouldn't touch most of these things with a ten foot pole.Today, we've managed to appreciate more of the diversity in the Korean
culture.The strange thing we
realized is that as much as they are a rich people, the people are still very
much in the early stages of development, as the latter pictures will show.Even as BMW sells more 7-series per capita here than another other
country on the planet, much of the nation is still living and behaving below
expatriate-ship is one not to be missed, for the experience.