Monday, June 4, 2012

Jeju-Do and Lantern Festival

When I get homesick and/or off-centered, like I blogged about yesterday, it helps to make a list of all the cool stuff that I can do on this side of the planet that I couldn’t do at home. 

For example, I went to Jeju Island a few weeks ago.  Is this real life?  It’s a beautiful, volcanic island at the southern-most coast of South Korea, so it’s called the “Hawaii” of Korea.  I loved being near the water again!  I love the beach so much.  I need to hit more beaches this summer!

Speaking of beaches, I found an incredible sale last week down the street from my apartment and bought two new cute swimsuits!  Bargain shopping for the win!  Swimsuit season has definitely arrived in this country :):)
Anyway, here are some pics from Jeju, if you haven’t all seen them on facebook already!

Lava Tube - made from lava tearing up the earth underground

Me with a lava blob that looked like a turtle

Gwangju girls on Jeju

The beach!!!!!!!!

This crazy restaurant had replicas of famous things around the world, like the Trevi Fountain

The Scream at the crazy restaurant



Blue water!!!

Playing in the waterfall!  It was chilly :)

Gorgeous blue water! Funky polygonal lava rocks

Jeju Man statue

A couple weeks ago, I went to Seoul to visit good new friends that I made on Jeju, Katherine and Leon and Courtney.  We went to see the Lantern Festival for Buddha’s Birthday.  It was pretty epic!  Think “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” in the dark, with all the floats lit up.  It was long and amazing!  The amazing folks I was with kept mentioning that there were more people in the parade than in their hometown!  Katherine reminded us that when Korea gets frustrating, we just need to get away and see something cool like a Lantern Parade.

The lighting sucked for much of the parade, as far as taking pictures with my little camera is concerned.  I wish I could’ve captured more of the awesome!  I’ve definitely got some great memories of the night.  About halfway through, we realized that we should have some cocktails while we enjoy the show, so Katherine and I dispatched Leon and Courtney to run and get soju and mixers :) Genius move.  

Folks kept handing out these beautiful paper lanterns to people along the parade route, so by the end of the night I’d picked up a pretty yellow one!  I actually ended up leaving it at Katherine and Leon’s apartment, oops, but I’ll get it back from them soon. 

 Here are some photos!

Korean pose!!

Katherine and Courtney in front of the lantern ceiling!

Lanterns with prayer tags

Monks carrying lanterns


Star lanterns

More lanterns

Elephant lantern!

Lotus lady #1

Lotus lady #2

Lotus lantern-bearers

More beautiful lanterns

Lantern lady

Children of the World lantern

More beautiful lanterns

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