Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dokdo Update: Arriving on Ulleungdo

Alright, so this is still a major undertaking of blogging. It's been a busy long weekend, so I'm still working on updating my Dokdo blog. Hopefully, I can get most of it done soon, because this is a rather interesting and big part of Korean history. 

The trip was very fun, but very tiring. I was unaware that it is quite difficult to get to Dokdo, so even though our journey started bright and early Saturday morning, we didn't get to Dokdo until Monday afternoon. In fact, even getting to Ulleungdo, the island between mainland Korea and Dokdo, is treacherous and was up in the air until right when we got to the ferry. Buuuut we made it!!! 

Here is what we did until then:

we left bright and early on Saturday. I mean it. Sarah stayed over
my house and we got up at like 5:30, left a little after six,
got so SMOE around 7:15, and left SMOE at 7:45. Talk
about an early day...

I love buses here. They're so colorful!

we stopped at a rest stop and I got a
delicious chicken skewer. YUM

Sarah and I are so happy we both got to go on this trip!
It made it much more fun to have a good friend with me!

We bought a selfie stick for the trip haha.

Sarah and our friend Priscilla before our first lecture. Priscilla
is also a good friend from Seoul! We were all in the same group!

Representing my school!

In the afternoon, we arived at the Isabu Academy in Samcheok, where we had some initial lectures and learned about the schedule and our trip. The Isabu Academy was the one who sponsored this trip for us. 

General Isabu is famous for being taking control of Ulleungdo Island and exploring to Dokdo, so he's pretty important for this trip. More on that later

Getting lectured about Isabu

Meeting dogs during a tour of Samcheok

This is the spot Isabu left to go conquer Ulleungdo

Yay monuments!

Galbitang is awesome.

hearing more about Isabu

These are replicas of the stone markers that named
the sea "the East Sea," prior to when the Japanese
named it the Sea of Japan

Now, I'm torn on the issue. I think it's pretentious to call the water between Korea and Japan "the Sea of Japan" but I also think that "the East Sea" is not a good name either. Korea claims that they were calling it the East Sea before Japan named it, but I'm not big on the "We called it this first" argument, because a.) Japan probably didn't know that's what they called it, as it's written in Chinese on a rock they may have never seen, and b.) it's to the West of Japan, so why would they call it the EAST Sea?

Anywho, I think it should have a more neutral name.

We also got to see traditional Ulleungdo/Samcheok style houses,
since they used the same design. It's cold in the winter,
so they used to live with the livestock

Our hotel room, provided by SMOE! 

we even had a bathtub!!!

We had to take a ferry to Ulleungdo 

a bunch of us with Jon, the SMOE coordinator

Because I used my camera, my phone, and other people's pics, they're mixed up and I'm too lazy to fix them. So. Sorry about the jumble.

Because the ferry journey used to be super dangerous and at lease 1/3 of the administrators sent to manage Ulleungdo would die, before our ferry ride, we went to the place where they'd have a final send of dinner and wish them luck.

My group for the trip. We're so cool

visiting the "good luck on your trip to Ulleungdo" pavillion

They also used to hold civil service exams here. But this is
what a dinner would have looked like, with all the advisers
on the side

The ferry ride was long. We took a lot of pictures.

First glimpses of Ullengdo

Mr. Han, our trip leader who is an expert on
Dokdo and all that

Ulleungdo is BEAUTIFUL

so much seafood and fish and things

Ulleungdo is famous for squid

so much squid

So yes, Ullengdo is an island that I didn't know existed until this trip. It's the stopover point to get to Dokdo, and was an arduous journey to get to back in the day. It was about a 3 hour boat ride, which would have apparently taken 3 days to get to. On a clear day, you can see Dokdo from Ulleungdo.

Ullengdo is much cooler than Dokdo, in my opinion, and has a pretty vibrant culture. It's very Amalfi coast-y in a way, in that the roads are small and twisty, so no big buses are allowed on the island. Just small ones that make tight turns. 

Ulleungdo is famous for squid and seafood, as well as pumpkin. I brought back some pumpkin candy for my school and VP and Principal to thank them for letting me go on the trip.

We spent Sunday exploring Ulleungdo and learning about the history of the island.

we had to take lots of pictures with our group!

we stopped at the beach

Jon being our tour guide/translator/ sass master

delicious pork dinner

pumpkin makgeoli. YUM.

dinner on Ulleungdo~

another SMOE friend, Annie and I, explored the shoreline

the water was so clear!!

These were  named "Turtle Rock" because apparently you can see 5 turtle shapes in them. Uuuuh, ok...

if you look at the left at the depression in the rock
it DOES kinda look like a turtle

climbing and exploring

Sarah loves climbing things!

so pretty!!

We took this trip so seriously.

Ok, this rock is called Lion Rock. It's supposed
to look like a lion roaring

Story behind this rock. Apparently, Isabu had a hard time conquering Ulleungdo originally, so he decided to use trickery. He built a bunch of fake wooden lions (of which, the inhabitants wouldn't have known about) that apparently breathed fire and were really scary. He threatened to release the lions on the island if they did not give up and give it to him. The residents were so scared that they immediately surrendered. Isabu accepted their surrender, than laughed at them and kicked one of the lions into the ocean. Knowing they'd been tricked, the residents raged, but it was too late. They had already surrendered. 

And that's how Isabu conquered Ulleungdo. Lion Rock is apparently the spot from which the residents saw the 'lions.' 

It's so nice to be outside of Seoul sometimes

the sports field in the middle of the island
I told you. So much squid.

we got super excited about goats haha

We also went to a small temple to pray for good weather and safe passage to Dokdo. The residents of Ulleungdo apparently all still come here to pray before leaving the island, because it is still a relatively dangerous journey.

During a tumultuous time with Japan, it was decided that Ulleungdo would be exacuated (hundreds of years ago, of course). But the sea was rough and the boats couldn't leave. The main governor of the island had a dream that the gods wanted him to leave a boy and a girl on the island, and that only then would they be safe. 

The man sent a small boy and girl on an errand back to the other side of the island. Once they had left, the sea became calm and they pushed off towards the mainland, making it safely there.

The sea was rough, so they could not return for a long time, maybe a month or so. When they finally returned, they found the boy and girl dead but embracing. So they built this shrine to thank them for their sacrifice and to continue to pray for safe passage.

about half of us made sure to pray hard to the
spirits of the boy and girl, so that we could
safely travel the next day

In my next installment, I will actually get to the Dokdo part of the Dokdo trip. Hope you learned a lot about a part of Korea that I had no idea existed! Seriously, if they were fighting over Ulleungdo, I'd be super on board. It's a beautiful island with a rich history. It was incredible to get to explore it with SMOE!

Here's a song to express how I feel on boats- Trap by Henry (which repeats, "I'm trapped, I'm trapped!" since you kinda are...) Thanks to my motion sickness meds, I was delightfully groggy for each boat ride, so I slept pretty well to make up for the little sleep we got because of early wakeup calls.

Enjoy! (Especially cause Kyuhyun is in it :) )

I love this song, even though I don't get Henry's pseudo hip hop stuff, cause he's tiny and adorable. Oh well. I just like listening to this song! He's so talented! That pattern though....

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