Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Asian Eyes' Korea - Yongduam Rock

I thought I saw a lion, not a 
dragon, in Yongduam Rock
           Day 2 - Nov/18/12, 6.00 pm: Next stop - Yongduam Rock.  It was already dark when we arrived. The steps leading down towards a viewing area are steep and narrow but the area were teeming with tourists. Spotlights were aimed at the rock to give it a majestic aura. Yongduam Rock is a volcanic rock, created from a volcanic eruption that took place million years. It is 10 meters in height and about 30 meters in length and had a unique shape, said to be like a dragon. This spot is especially attractive during the sunrise and sunset. Per Kent, our tour guide, the story associated with the name of the Yongduam Rock is the legend goes that an envoy was sent by the Dragon King who lived in a huge palace nearby to gather the elixir of life from Mount Halla. When the dragon envoy came and tried to gather the elixir, then the guardian spirit of Mount Halla got angry. In a fit of anger, he shot down the dragon and when the dragon was fleeing it fell into the sea. It immediately turned into a rock with its head still surging towards the sky. The shape of the Yongduam Rock in Jeju resembles the shape of the dragon and the part of the rock that used to surge up towards the sky was regarded by the locals as the head of the dragon. During a heavy storm a few years ago, the rock was hit by lightening and the ‘head’ part of the rock fell off to the sea. Thus nowadays you can not see this special feature of the Yongduam Rock, Jeju. 
           We spend only half an hour viewing the Yongduam Rock. The temperature had dropped and our stomach started to growl. We left for our dinner at a nearby restaurant. The dinner was a traditional Korean dinner with rice, fish, egg, pork, salad, anchovies and an assortment of kimchi. All the dishes were free flow except the fish and egg. As I bite into the fish, the taste was similar to salted queen-fish taste. So, no loss there even though it was not a free flow dish. We piled up on the kimchi and the meat that were layered and ate with salad. After having filled up our tummy, we headed to our hotel for check in for our night stay in Jeju-do. 
          We stayed at Hotel Robero, a 3 star hotel in the middle of Jeju City.  The service here was not great and the staff did not interacted much, probably because of the lack of communication in English. Before we alighted from the bus, Kent informed us that we were still not done yet for the day. The last agenda -  shopping at a nearby shopping complex. 20 minutes after we were assigned our rooms, we re-grouped at the hotel lobby to walk to Jungang Shopping Market, an underground shopping complex selling clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, toys, food and beauty care. Since it was winter, all the clothing were more to winter wear, so we did not find anything worth buying. At the end of the underground market, we went above ground, to a fruit market - Dongmun Market Place. There were many kind of fruits for sale here - Jeju oranges, persimmons, grapes, apples, pears, melons, etc.  Since Kent was not with us, the bargaining process was a little bit hard. At first we do not know it was a wholesale market, meaning they only sell large amount but we only wanted to buy some small amount. After realizing they sell wholesale, we decided to pool together with other tour members to buy a big box of Jeju oranges to be shared out. Everyone went back to Hotel Robero happily with some 2 kg bags of oranges. 
          Here are some pictures I took at the last agenda for that day:
Location: Yongdamroteo-ri Yongdam-2dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Tel:  +82-64-728-2753
The signboard of Yongduam Rock, welcoming visitors at the head of a fleet of steps that were built along a cliff that leads to an area where visitors can view the Yongduam rock with awe. 
Visitors climbed down the steep steps, about 100 steps, to an open area to have a better view of Yongduam Rock. Many were seen clicking away for a lifetime memory.

Yongduam Rock - the dragon whose head had fell off into the sea. Frankly, I can't make out the dragon, imaginative or not. I thought I 
saw a lion that was usually used in lion dance. However, the lights that shone on the rock makes Yongduam Rock more remarkable when viewed at night.

Jeju oranges for sale at the souvenir shop near Yongduam Rock. They were not cheap though - A plastic bag containing some 6 oranges cost about US$5.
Dinner tonight was Korean fare - rice in a steel bowl, steam egg, meat, fish, salad, soup and kimchi, kimchi, kimchi and kimchi! All were free flow except the fish and egg.
"This is the way to eat Korean meat", said Sheryl, wrapping a piece of the pork meat in a salad leave, applying all sort of sauces and plopped it into her mouth in one go. "Yummy", she said and reached out for another salad. 

Jungang Shopping Market, a underground shopping complex at exit 12, or is it 19? This funny lettering was spotted at the exit, about 2 minutes walk from my Hotel Robero. The next exit number is 11, meaning this is how they write 12. Hmm, interesting!

Mummy M at the entrance to Dongmun Market, delighted with the tangerines on sale there.
Dongmun Market place where Jeju oranges were abundant. It's a wholesale market and we were having tough time communicating with 
the proprietress.
More fruits at sale at Jeju city's Dongmun wholesale market place. Even though it was cheap we would need to buy in large quantity. In the end we bought 10 kilos of Jeju Oranges at about US$10, to be shared among our tour members.
Back at my Robero hotel, waiting for the lift to go to my room. Finally, a relief after a long long day on the road. A decent 3 star hotel, the only 
slack thing was wifi only available at the lobby.

A stone sculpture at the lobby which I cannot make out what it is, but it's shape is humanly.


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