Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ulleungdo, here we come...

Robert D. Neff, "Ullung - An Island of Contention"
(Korea Times, 3/18/2005)

Tonight, as I forewarned on June 27th, my family and I will be leaving for vacation on a piece of volcanic land protruding from the East Sea (Sea of Japan) that Koreans call Ullung Island (Ullungdo) or Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo), known in the West as Dagelet Island.

According to Wikipedia's entry on Ulleungdo:

Favorite activities for tourists are hiking, fishing, and eating raw fish. Sightseeing boats make regular three-hour circuits about Ulleung-do, departing from the harbor at Dodong and passing by all the points of interest along the coast, including many interesting rock formations and the tiny island of Jukdo. Other scenic sites are Seonginbong, the highest peak on the island (984 m); Bongnae waterfall; the "natural icehouse"; and a coastal cliff from which the island of Dokdo (known in Japan as Takeshima) can be discerned in the distance.

I hadn't thought of "eating raw fish" as a tourist activity, but now that I've been properly alerted to this, I'll make sure that my family and I engage voraciously in that typical touristy tasty thing. I wouldn't want to disappoint the natives. Oh, and if you're uncertain -- as was I -- just what is meant by those unfamiliar terms "hiking" and "fishing," why, Wikipedia has been kind enough to provide links.

I wonder if the tourists do any extreme hiking. Or extreme fishing. Or extreme raw-food eating.

All three of these extreme activities depend upon ... the weather. Speaking of which, what's the forecast? According to Yahoo's weather report (daily updated) for Ullungdo, the foreseeable weather pattern as of Sunday, June 23 is:

Today: Showers early, then cloudy in the afternoon. High around 70F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Tonight: Cloudy skies with a few showers after midnight. Low 64F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Tomorrow: Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. High 71F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.
Tomorrow night: Showers ending in the evening with partial clearing overnight. Low around 65F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Tuesday: Showers possible. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 60s.
Wednesday: Showers possible. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 60s.
Thursday: Showers possible. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 60s.
Showers every day. And the extended forecast link shows more showers for Friday and beyond. Good. All that extreme hiking, fishing, and raw-food eating makes a body hot and sweaty. We'll each need a daily shower. Always look on the bright side of life ... like that Spartan soldier Dienekes, about whom was said by Herodotus in his report on the Battle of Thermopylae:
"Although extraordinary valor was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespaians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that, when they fired their volleys, the mass of arrows blocked out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, 'Good. Then we'll have our battle in the shade.'" (Histories, 7.226)
So, undaunted, I say to this weather: "Good. Then we'll have our vacation in the shade." Just so long as no typhoon (hurricane) hits, I'll be happy.

A lot of you named "James" have asked if I'll bring back photos. I don't own a camera because those things take possession of your soul. But if you really want to see the extraordinary beauty of Ulleungdo's soul, you can find these vacation photos over at Lao-Ocean-Girl's blog.

Speaking of blogs, I might be away from this one until Saturday, July 29th ... unless Ulleungdo has internet cafes and Sun-Ae indulges my weakness.

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At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"as was I"--Jeffery, you're a hoot! This whole entry was quite funny, actually. I'm going to miss your blog updates while you're gone. I hope that Sun Ae indulges your weakness, and I hope that you can find an internet cafe.

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Even if I do find a properly functional cafe and have my wife's blessing, my posts will likely be concise and to the insipid point:

... ocean looks lovely dimpled with rain.

... mountains look lovely drippng with rain.


Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait! Perhaps we'll get a poetry break in almost real time!

At 5:49 AM, Blogger GI Korea said...

For other pictures of Ulleong-do I have my own picture gallery up.

Enjoy your trip to the island.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

GI Korea, thanks for the link. I 'borrowed' one of your photos to illustrate a theme in one of my blog entries.

Jeffery Hodges

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