Samyang, the black sand beach

Shana and I had been itching for a day of nothing. While that’s not particularly interesting travel blog material it was a much needed break from the LETS SEE EVERYTHING TODAY attitude that we normally have when we travel.

We had decided on a day at Samyang Beach or Black Sand Beach about 40 minutes East by bus which is considered to be a less crowded beach than Iho Teu Beach which is the closest beach to Jeju City. We had our towels, swimming gear, sunscreen and some reading material.IMG_1704

You can rent a patio table with an umbrella for about $10 which we did because it was blazing hot again. We had got to the beach relatively early and it was mostly empty except for a windsurfing class going on at the far eastern side of the beach. We had our pick of spots. We set up under the umbrella and applied a good amount of sunscreen while we chuckled at those silly Koreans swimming in long sleeve shirts and pants. There was even a group of old ladies who were on the bus that appeared to be dressed in floral armor.

Mostly the thing to do at Korean beaches is to rent an inner tube and float above the water. Then go back the umbrella, drink and eat Korean BBQ. I decided to save some coin and hoofed it to the convenience store across the street from the beach and bought a couple large beers, some Korean flavored Doritos and cups of ice.

Black Sand

Black Sand

Our total time in the sun was probably around 45 minutes to an hour. We applied sunscreen twice after getting out of the water. Otherwise we were under the umbrella.

At around 4PM we headed back to the bus stop and took a thankfully uneventful bus ride back to Jeju City Bus Terminal where we took a shower and changed in preparation for a trip to “Black Pork Street” or Heuk Dwaeji.

Black Pork is one of the signature dishes of Jeju Island. There are these little black pigs that live there and they have a special sauce for it. It is on all the tourist maps. I had a tourist map of Jeju City and I thought, “I’ll just point to the spot on the map where the street is when we get in a cab.” My advice would be to NOT do this.

The taxi driver that we stopped started a map of THE CITY HE WAS IN for 5 solid minutes, holding up traffic, trying to figure out what I was pointing to. I said, “Black Pork Street, Huaek Dwaeji.” Nothing. Frustrated as all hell, we got out of the cab and went back to the guest house to use the internet to get a street address in Korean. I also used Google Translate to get, “Black Pork Street” written in hangeul, the Korean writing system.IMG_1724

The next cab we stopped I showed him the address in hangeul and he stared at it for too long. I took the phone back and showed him “Black Pork” written in hangeul. If a lightbulb had appeared over his head it would have shattered. As a taxi driver I could not believe that an address for a major tourist destination didn’t register and neither did the English name for the street. Mind blown.

Regardless, we made it Black Pork Street and stopped at a placed I had found on someone else’s travel blog.  We ordered their signature dish and the food started to pile up on the table.

We went here

We went here

It started with the  black pork and all the side dishes. Having the grill at the table looks like you’re supposed to cook it your self, but clearly we were doing it wrong and the staff would kind of huff at us and take the tools and “fix” it. I would start messing with the stuff on the grill just to amuse myself with their reactions. Then came this seafood soup which looked like it may never cool down enough to actually ingest. The soup was followed by a bowl of spiced meat which I plainly heard the server call, “pork loin.” We didn’t think much of it until we piled it on the cooking surface at our table and watched as the baby octopus that was in the bowl started to move and curl on the grill. It was only a little unsettling. The baby octopus was maybe one of the spiciest things I ever tried. It was really quite good, from that moment Shana began to have a vampire like craving for baby octopus. Maybe baby octopus needs to be classified as a schedule one controlled substance.

At first we had declined the dessert option for our meal, as there was already a ton of food we hadn’t finished, but we had ordered magkeolli which had enamoured the wait staff with us. They insisted on bringing us dessert. We capitulated and this was the right decision. The dessert was an “ice noodle” dish. It was a cold sweet/salty broth with buckwheat glass noodles, a hard boiled egg and giant ice cube. While not a traditional dessert it was still delicious.

After that we headed back to the guest house to sneak some beer into our room and hit the sack. We had to climb a volcanic formation the next day and then catch a flight to P/Busan.

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