Jeju Island- Typhoon Neoguri day

The waves from our balcony- it was so windy out there that we heard it whistling all night long!
As I alluded to in other posts, a typhoon which primarily hit Japan still had its effect on Jeju Island. Although there was not too much destruction and we were safe, the waves were constant and huge, it was incredibly windy and rainy, and it was just an icky day. In other news, Neoguri is the word for raccoon in Korean, so that’s what it was named after I guess.  We had to check out of our fancy hotel on this day, so we made the most of the hotel by playing in the pool and working out in the morning. In the locker rooms, they had 3 different hot tubs and a sauna- all at different temperatures. There were spa treatments outside the hotel offering this experience, but we had it right in the locker room! We didn’t know the sequence of dipping in the tubs (one of them was cold) but we both tried it out.

After checking out, we decided to take the scenic route and drove around the island on the road that stays fairly close to the coast. Even though it was rainy, it was fun to see other parts of the island, and at some points we were able to see the huge waves, which was cool. The first stop on our roadtrip was Seongsan Ichulbong or Sunrise Peak on the east side of the island. This was a little volcano that emerged from the sea and was attached by a little string of land to Jeju. During good weather you can hike up to the top of the ridge, but it was closed due to the bad weather. Even if it was open, we were not trying to hike with the wind as crazy as it was. I was afraid Landon was going to be blown away just on the normal ground. So, we took pictures with my fearless leader husband braving the downpour to get some pics while I forced Landon to take his lunch time medicine.

The umbrella protected Austin from the big drips
Next on our list of things to see was Manjanggul Cave/Lava tube. It was discovered in the early 1900’s by a guy and a team from an elementary school. Due to the way it was translated, I can’t determine whether it was a bunch of elementary school kids or the teachers that found it, but either way I thought that that was cool. It is a 7 km long lava tube, but 1 km is open to the public. The signs and the little visitor’s center did a great job of preparing us for the things we were going to see so that when we went down into the tube, I felt so smart being like, “Oh yes, this is a lava raft.” It was a fun excursion. 
This is a lava raft. It is formed when a chunk of the ceiling of the lava tube falls off into the stream of hot lava and flows down the tube and stops at some point. 
It was wet and drippy down there although not as wet as outside. Landon was a little freaked out by the dark and the wet drips, but overall he did very well. He just needed to be carried most of the time. Going down into the cave, it felt like I was starting the Indiana Jones ride at Disney land, or maybe any other ride that had a tropical or dinosaurs theme. There were steps going down into this big hole in the ground, foggy mist everywhere, and green tropical trees and vines- way different from anything else I have ever experienced. Couple that with the rain and it was a really cool experience going down there. I am bummed that it was so dark and the camera did a pretty horrible job at capturing what is was like there. Hopefully I can just remember in my head.  
Lava patterns on the wall

Landon wielding the umbrella 

Lava toe… really that is what it is called. I don’t remember why though

At the end of the part of the tube that was open to the public, there was a lava column. It was all lit up with cool color changing lights and there was even a camera stand so we could take a picture together. We had some other people down there with us so they took this shot. I guess this column is the world’s tallest known lava column. That got lost in translation, or maybe it isn’t true because I just read that on wikitravel?

Lava column

There were other formations and the ceilings rose and fell along the tube as well. Some of the high ceiling parts were called cupolas, which is funny because I’ve only heard that word associated with similar shaped ceilings in old churches in Italy.

Coming out of the hole

All too soon we were back to the exit. I wanted Austin to try to get a shot of how it looked coming out of the belly of the earth back to the ground, but it was too foggy/misty and wet for that. The tube was so much colder than at ground level and it was so much more humid on ground level that our camera lens completely fogged up. I spent the majority of our car ride into Jeju city trying to get it to not be foggy anymore. After a few phone calls to the guesthouse owner, and a ‘self bar” dinner which included salad, a bar of raw meats to cook at your table, and rice and noodles and dessert, we went back to take another stab at finding the guesthouse. The directions said it was in front of the bank. When we looked before, there were cars parked in front and we couldn’t see the small sign for the house. The next time there was a car parking spot opened up and we could see it. Hooray! There was even someone there waiting for us, although she did not speak English. Turns out the owner was at a seminar and was not going to be around during our stay. I was impressed that she let us stay there without her being there. Our room was big with a separate kitchen area. It was the first time since March that I could leave the room Landon was sleeping to do other things with the lights on. Hallelujah! It was weird being the only ones there, and neither the owner nor the friend who was helping us was great with English so it was exciting.  We didn’t get internet access until the next day because we didn’t have the wifi password- the owner had emailed it to us!

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