June 25, 2017

Exhausted & Guilty

Around noon today, Bartles had been circling nonstop for about 40 minutes. He has been doing this  at certain times of the day and we have no idea why -- perhaps Cushing's, perhaps UTI, perhaps dementia, we just don't know. 

I was next to him the entire time, helping him up, supporting his weak hind legs and encouraging him to at least circle while standing up. I crouch down, my hands on his hips, and he walks in circles and I follow in circles, and he falls. By the 10th time, it's tiring.

But still, I persist and continue to work with him. Part of me wonders if he needs to poop or pee and I wanted to be there to catch it so he wouldn't have a messy accident. But after 40 minutes of helping him up every 10 steps, I put him on the floor where we have wee wee pads laid out so that we can both rest. Then I go to check on the bone broth I had been simmering for about 4.5 hours and fish out bones and skin to put in a second pot to make another batch. 

I heard him crying and circling the entire time. After about 20 minutes, I went to check on him and I found him covered him poop and diaper drenched with urine. He was circling over his poop, which had covered his entire body, legs and paws. The wee wee pads were all over the place and the poop mess was on the blanket we had laid out underneath the pads. 

These types of accidents isn't new, hence the reason why I always want to be next to him when he starts to move so that we can prevent them. 

I kicked myself for leaving him today. But I was with him for 40 minutes... 40 minutes! 

When I found him, I just sort of sat there looking at the mess, not being able to pull the strength to clean it up. I was just too tired. It has been several days and nights of him just circling and crying and getting up in the middle of the night - sometimes every hour. It's been changing diapers because he leaks uncontrollably now to the point that I can't tell if he peed or leaked. I don't get enough sleep, shower properly or eat on time. 

After bathing him, I took him out of the bath and began to dry him. The entire time in the bath tub he was thrashing around, wanting to circle but couldn't because it was too narrow. When I wrapped him in towels, he had finally calmed down, and I broke down crying. 

I was tired... and he had pooped all over Piri's blanket... and that thought.. that passing thought made me feel so guilty. 

When Bartles has his bad moments, I feel terrible for him but I realize something about myself. I realize that my heart hurts double - for Bartles and for Piri. I am reminded more of Piri when things get a little hard with Bartles.

Please don't get me wrong. I love Bartles and I care for him deeply, but I think extreme stressful situations make me long for Piri more. 

I see other dog owners who adopted puppies after their sick dogs crossed over the rainbow bridge. All their pictures and stories are happy ones. They sometimes post a picture of their former dog and they say they are guilty for being so happy even though their companion is gone. 

It's not like that for me. And sometimes I feel terrible for it. 

But, is what I'm feeling normal? Or am I just really messed up? 

Someone asked me though, after hearing about all my troubles with Bartles, "Would you still adopt a senior dog?" 

Yes. Most definitely yes. Perhaps our wallets may need a break from adopting senior dogs with medical issues, but most definitely a senior dog. 

Yangkyu also asked me today, "Are you ok with things the way they are now?" I said yes, "Bartles may only have a few more years to live, but me, knock on wood, I still have such a long road to go. So when I look at it that way, it's ok. I will always have the opportunity to go out and enjoy things I can't now. But for Bartles, his time is limited, and someone has to be there for him." 

And these types of thoughts, after a long day, is what calms me and brings me back to focus.

Bone Broth for Dogs (and a little something for humans too)

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a video by Dr. Karen Becker on how she makes bone broth for her dog. I meant to make some for Bartles and just got around to doing it today. I wasn't planning on making a blog post out of it but I recently had my computer reformatted (because it was slower than a turtle) and upgraded to Photoshop CC 2017 (wha? is this newness!) and added a few new photo filters from VSCO. The point being that I have found joy in taking pictures and editing them again and while I am exhausted beyond measure (I'll share in another post), I took lots of pictures of our day in making bone broth for Mr. B and our guest pups, Spootie and Clover (we always ask permission first when feeding things to our guest dogs - some dogs are on a strict diet or have allergies and can't have anything other than what they are currently eating, while others welcome us to give their dog what we make). 

The video from Dr. Karen Becker is here and for anyone who is interested in making bone broth for your dog, I highly recommend sitting through the video and listen to her give a full explanation on making it. 

We bought a 5.5 pound whole chicken from Giant. We normally get meat and vegetables for our dogs (and sometimes us, although not all the time) from Whole Foods, but we were pressed for time and so Yangkyu went over to a grocery store near our home. 

I had taken it out of its packaging and washed it under running water and realized afterwards that the stock pot was too far away for me to put it in. I am not too keen on raw chicken juice dripping all over my countertops. I also have never handled a 5.5 pound whole chicken before and while I was contemplating how to transfer this chicken to the stock pot without getting chicken juice all over, I was slowly but surely beginning to realize the uncomfortable feeling of raw whole chicken in my hands. I promptly gave a shriek and asked Yangkyu to hurry over to bring the stock pot near me before I dropped the chicken in the sink. While I was freaking out, I somehow managed to thank the chicken for playing a part in helping Bartles feel better and give him a nutritious meal. Some of our animal friends make those kinds of sacrifices for our other animal friends.

To make our bone broth, we filled our stock pot with 1 gallon of water and a teaspoon of Bragg's apple cider vinegar. If you listen to the video by Dr. Karen Becker, you'll see that vinegar plays a role in extracting all the good nutrients from the bones. That is really the goal in making these broths -- so that dogs will get the health benefit and have something tasty as well. 

We put ours on medium heat for about 4.5 hours, stirring it a few times, and the meat eventually start ed to fall off the bones. At about 4.5 hours the meat was completely off the bone (by itself while I was stirring and not me pulling it off). 

From here, I carefully spooned out all, and I mean ALL, the small and big pieces of bone and skin into another pot to make a second bath of broth. I really spent time (a good 20 minutes) fishing the bones out because it takes time to get all the pieces out. Dogs should never be fed cooked bone as it is harmful to them. So please please please, make sure you take careful time doing this. Even when you are ready to feed them, just do a double check. It is certainly better to be safe than sorry. 

I saved the stock pot with the cooked meat and broth to feed to Bartles, Spootie and Clover for dinner and also took some out for Yangkyu and I to eat. 

I filled the new pot with all the bones and skin with 12 cups of water and again a teaspoon of Bragg's apple cider vinegar (it's usually 1 teaspoon of vinegar per 1 gallon of water, but I just improvised) and it is currently simmering on low heat as I write this blog post. I will likely cook it for 24 hours. Once that is done, I will again carefully fish out any remaining bones and fragments and save the bone broth to give to Bartles as part of his healthy diet. 

As for us -- I added some vegetables (onions, carrots, cabbages, kale) with some salt and pepper and garlic and cooked it on low for another 40 minutes. I haven't had a chance to eat it yet, but Yangkyu did and I seriously heard happy grunts as he gobbled it down. Yay. So a great way to get a healthy meal for dogs and humans using one whole chicken. 

 // Stock pot on the bottom left is the cooked meat with the first batch of bone broth. Pot on the bottom right is the new broth in the making with all the bones and skin fished out of the first stock pot. Top right pot is cooked meat and broth with added vegetables, salt, pepper and garlic for human consumption. // 

Happy eating everyone! 

June 21, 2017

Travel Korea - Jeju Island, Day 3

On the third and final day in Jeju we found ourselves again waking up again at 5 am. We decided to kill time by doing our laundry at a nearby coin laundromat and grabbing breakfast at GS25, those convenience stores me and Yangkyu obsessed over the entire time we were in Korea. We had instant ramen because why not?? (and can I tell you? They have GS25 brand and flavors not sold here in the US!)

By 10 am we had washed up, semi tidied our room - dirty towels in one corner on the floor in the bathroom, empty bottles rinsed and stacked near the kitchen sink, bed unmade but sheets on top of the bed instead of half falling off or entirely on the floor (do you do this? We know the room gets cleaned but we hate leaving it in an unruly manner) and packed our car to hit a couple more sightseeing spots before heading back to Jeju City for our flight back to Seoul. 

On day 2 we were at Cheon Ji Yeon waterfall, and day 3 we decided to go to Jeongbang waterfall right in Seogwipo City, which was a blue beyond blue and so breathtaking to view.

Jeongbang waterfall is a popular tourist spot and while there was a crowd when we got there, Yangkyu and I were still thanking our lucky stars that it wasn't overly crowded - something we did not take for granted the entire time we were on Jeju Island.

There is a legend where Seogwipo is said to have gotten its name from this waterball. Emperor Jin of China (259 BC - 210 BC) sent his servant, Seobul, to find magical herbs on Mount Halla (Hallasan), which promised eternal youth. Seobul failed to find this herb but came across Jeongbang Falls where he left his mark on the stone, "Seobul Gwaji (which means "Seobul was here). While that writing is not there for tourists to see, there is another inscription on the wall that says, "Seobulgwacha."

I love these kinds of legends, stories and folklore. It is one of the best parts about traveling.

After Jeongbang waterfall, Yangkyu and I decided to head back toward Jeju City and stop at a place that Yangkyu thought I would enjoy. We had originally planned on going to Sung San Ilchoongbong, but we were afraid that we would not have enough time and decided (regretfully) to pass on it this time around (if we are ever back in Jeju Island, we will definitely be making the hike up).

We arrived at a place called Seongeup Folk Village which was very similar to Jeju Folk Village, which we went to on day 1 of our trip. The biggest difference was that real residents actually live in here.

With the help of government assistance, this whole village has been preserved and renovated to meet the needs of residents while keeping to the traditional rock-walled, thatched roof architecture of homes. Some modernized additions to the village include souvenir shops, restaurants and parking lots but for the most part the village sticks to what it would have looked like many years ago.

The village itself is surrounded by a fortress wall. You are free to walk around and view on your own. There are some houses which are for exhibition purposes only. When we were there, there were a number of school children who came with a guided tour. I also noticed some reviews of other tourists who visited Seongeup Village who weren't all that impressed. We enjoyed the leisurely time and appreciated the authenticity, and also the food.

Yangkyu and I decided to have lunch at one of the restaurants in Seongeup Folk Village. We had an amazing meal of mackerel along with fresh side dishes of various wild greens found up on the mountains. It was comfort food at its best and very Jeju-isque (making up words here because I can't find existing words to describe how pleasant dining here was - very country just doesn't cut it).

When we were there, we noticed that this restaurant mostly had business by partnering with tour companies. They hosted one large parties at a time and we were the only ones who came on our own. While the owners (husband and wife who cooked and served - no other workers present) were busy entertaining the large number people in the tour groups (we witnessed two while we ate), they were still attentive to us, making sure we had enough side dishes and asking us if the food was to our liking. They also sold dried wild greens for people who wanted to take it home to make side dishes on their own.

I also eavesdropped on an interesting tidbit. People of Jeju Island put dwenjang (or fermented bean paste) in everything to add flavor. This is because when MSG was popular in mainland Korea after the war in the 60s, it was hard to ship it over to Jeju at the time. And so, people relied on bean paste instead. It probably worked out better for them in the end, as MSG is incredibly bad for your health, and fermented bean paste is natural and healthy. We noticed in our seaweed soup there was fermented bean curd in it (I normally don't make mine with fermented bean curd).

After lunch, we strolled around a bit more and began to look back on all the sights and places we saw on Jeju Island. We didn't want to go back but our time was nearing to head back to Jeju City.

Before leaving, we did end up making a new friend (here he is again). A cute white dog (Yangkyu said Piri sent him us to us as well). I spent a good 20 minutes hanging out with him.

At first when we spotted him, there was a bunch of school kids that came and overwhelmed the poor dog. The kids were excited to see him and so they were all up in his face, screaming, saying hi, asking for his paw. It was so very frustrating and sad to see. The adults didn't discourage them or teach them the proper way to greet a dog even though the dog was cowering - his tail between his legs, ears down, hiding inside his dog house (which the kids kept hitting and pounding for him to come out) and even growled at one point. The growling didn't phase the kids and they kept at it. It got to the point where I yelled in English, "You're scaring him. Stop! Just stop!" I tried to speak as much Korean while I was there but found that when I'm in a state of exasperation or couldn't find words easily, my English just came out naturally.

After they heard me, some adults slowly began to take the kids away and distracted them so they can be lured away from the dog. One of the children was a special needs child and the adults needed more creative ways to get him to stop hitting the dog house and throwing sticks and rocks at it and trying to grab his ears and tail (they weren't putting all that much effort until I showed my frustration). After they had all gone, with two kids remaining, I approached the dog at his level and gave him my hand to sniff. Oh, he was such a good and happy dog. He came to me with his ear perked up, tail wagging and he sniffed and licked my hand the entire time we were together. I gave him lots of ear and neck scratches and I didn't want to leave (I always get like this... I wanted to bring him home).

He is a country dog and lives outside in his dog house and he smelled of urine. I don't doubt that his owner (who I saw later - he was an elderly gentleman) took good care of him, but I just wished he was more proactive about kids overwhelming him. I imagine that happens on a regular basis every time school kids come on a tour.

Unfortunately after this incident, we had another experience that didn't make us feel very good. We had arrived in Jeju City with a little bit more time to kill before heading to the airport and so we decided to go see a place where you can make rings. But before getting there we ended up seeing a dog cafe. I read about dog cafes before leaving for Korea and decided that we wouldn't go there because there was a lot of talk about resident cafe dogs being mistreated and not well taken care of. These were testimonies from former people who used to work there asking people not to patronize the cafes if they cared about dogs at all. I didn't want to pay and support this type of business and so we had agreed on not going, but we happened upon on in Jeju City and curiosity got the best of me, but I regretted going literally the moment I stepped inside.

This particular dog cafe sold dogs that didn't even look older than 12 weeks. If that wasn't shocking enough, a lady inside the cafe told me that I should adopt one of the dogs. She had adopted from this cafe. I was so puzzled and confused but told her that I am not from here but I have a dog at home that I adopted - a senior dog. She kind of didn't understand me and nodded and said, "Oh I see." We left as soon as we got there.

These dogs that didn't even look old enough to be separated from their litter were being sold. I didn't understand how she could ask me to adopt them. Later Yangkyu's brother explained to us that the concept of adoption is varied in Korea. While there is a strong movement in Korea to educate people in adopting dogs rescued from horrific situations, some people think that buying a dog is adopting as well because they are giving a home to a dog that doesn't have a home. Back in Seoul, we continued to not patronize dog cafes but did happen upon a cat cafe. We'll talk more about that in a later post.

Our flight back to Seoul was a peaceful one. We arrived at night and spent time with Yangkyu's brother family recalling all our experiences. They were not only helpful in planning our trips for us but also eager to hear all about our trip and wanted to see all the pictures we took. It was fun to not only sightsee but also share our thoughts with someone who were all ears and curious to see our take on things (aka  - a foreigner's take).

We are back in Seoul now. Our next post will be about palaces and traditional villages right in the heart of the city.

I hope you'll come back for that story.

Thanks for reading.
 // Travel Korea : Jeju Island, Day 2

June 20, 2017

Birthday boy

Hey Yangkyu! Happy birthday! 

May you always tread through uncompromising situations, like this one where you were forced to pose in a field of yellow flowers, with a smile. Even if it's a crooked one.

and Piri from across the rainbow bridge

June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day Pet Papas!


June 14, 2017

A little Wednesday Bartles for you + "The Heartbreak We Choose"

Mr. Bartles says Happy Hump Day everybody! 

Also, make sure you have a tissue handy. I came across this piece titled "The Heartbreak We Choose" yesterday (piece is written beginning of this year) about caring for senior pets. It moved me so much and was so relatable, although I did not ever have to help a pet cross over (Piri died in his sleep and Bobby, my childhood cocker, died in a car accident).

But no death is easy - no matter how they cross, the experiences are hard - and caring for them until the very end is just as heart wrenching with sacrifices beyond measure. But being the receiver of their unconditional love until that very last moment is so very worth it.

The piece is here if you would like to read.

PS -- When Piri crossed the rainbow bridge, I had many people reach out to send their love and condolences. The messages all came from the right place, meant to help heal a terribly shattered heart. But messages that included the words "at least" broke my heart more and didn't make me feel very good. At least you got to spend 17 years with him. At least he died at home on his favorite blanket. At least you didn't have to put him down. At least you were able to put him through expensive treatments. As this video puts it, the words "at least" puts a silver lining to something dark someone just shared. I know we were lucky in many ways, but that didn't make Piri dying easier. 

June 9, 2017

Travel Korea - Jeju Island, Day 2

Our second on Jeju Island started incredibly early - at 5 am. If you recall back from our post on our first day there, we fell asleep just around dinner time and what was supposed to be a quick 20 minute nap turned into a 10 hour sleep fest. 

We woke up bright eyed though and fully charged and had a jam packed day of things to see and places to go. I didn't realize just how much ground we covered until I went back and worked on pictures for this post. What a great time this was. I miss it so much and wish we can go back soon. Jeju Island wasn't quite like Maui but close, and I think I gravitate towards islands and have these longings to live there. Some may think it's island fever but, I don't know, for someone who is so very introverted and like the quiet and peaceful life with Yangkyu and dogs, I think it is quite fitting. 

 // This picture doesn't have anything to do with Hallasan. It was just a random place we ran into while driving around. I thought it was pretty and made a quick stop to take a picture of it. // 

Because nothing was really open early on in the morning, we decided to venture to Hallasan, which is the highest mountain in Korea. You can't miss it when you are driving around Jeju Island - it's majestic, smack in the middle of the entire island and almost always in your view.

Yangkyu and I didn't climb up Hallasan, it's almost a 9 hour round trip hike and we certainly didn't have the time to fit that in our schedule. We wished that we did have a few extra days on Jeju Island because we would have liked to have made it the trip to the top. I'm not much of a hiker and hiking doesn't interest me all that much, but I think it's the feeling of accomplishment when you climb to the highest point, which is unbeatable. It's also feels like you kept a really hard promise. It was like that when we were hiking at Old Rag in Shenandoah just shortly after Piri passed. When we reached the top I cried silently and thought, "Piri, we made it. We made it to the top." My body was brutally aching but it all felt so healing.

At the entrance of Hallasan (I presume one of many?), we took in the inviting yet intimidating pathway. People were already gathering by the numbers and the parking lot already full of eager hikers. They all had incredible gear, and Yangkyu and I just looked so ill prepared.

I didn't take pictures from Hallasan so I unfortunately don't have any to share here, but if you ever get a chance, you may want to just do a quick Google image search. It is quite breathtaking and beautiful to say the least.

Before leaving, Yangkyu and I ended up grabbing a quick breakfast at a nearby restaurant. We again got just one meal and shared (our game plan). There was self clean up where you bring your tray back to the clean up area. The food was good but I also liked the feeling of community and respecting of communal space from all patrons. They used the tables neatly and wiped down tables before leaving and said thank you. I saw this spirit time to time and it was always good to see and be a part of.

After our quick visit to Hallasan, we headed over to Lee Jung Seob Street located in Seogwipo City, which was not too far from where we were staying. Lee Jung Seob was a famous oil painter, but I'll get more into him a little later.

Here you can find cute and artistic stores featuring crafts and other handmade items. I am not sure if you remember me talking about Seng Hwal Hanbok previously on my blog, but there was a store that sold them (handmade). I tried on a pair, and while a bit expensive, I promptly bought it without any regrets. During the weekends, there are stalls and stalls of artwork created by local artists for sale. Unfortunately we weren't there during the weekend and didn't get to experience it.

We ended up coming back to Lee Jung Seob Street on the third and last day of our stay on Jeju Island to buy gifts for friends. There were just too many beautiful things for sale that make for perfect gifts. 

Right off of Lee Jung Seob Street is the residence. The entire house was not his, rather a couple, Song Tae Ju and Kim Soon Bok, offered him a room to live in. The family of the couple still live in this very residence and tourists are asked not to disturb the still occupied rooms. The room to the side where a picture of Lee Jung Seob is hung is available to view and is a tourist attraction.

Lee Jung Seob was born in 1916 and was a prolific modern artist and oil painter who created works throughout Korea's colonial period. His earlier works date back to his pre-war student years at Pyongyang and Tokyo. Following the outbreak of war, Lee Jung Seob found refuge in Busan and also Seogwipo, Jeju Island and his paintings and drawings from this period of his life feature children, animals and plants. It is said that Lee Jung Seob left some of the greatest paintings in the history of Korean modern art during his stay in Seogwipo. 

Lee Jung Seob was married to Yamamoto Masako (Korean name - Lee Nam Duk) and the letters they exchanged with each other while they were geographically separated are displayed at the Lee Jung Seob Gallery near Lee Jung Seob street and residence. They were the most beautiful pieces of writing and had me glued to the wall just reading them. Due to the hardships of living in Jeju, Masako left for Japan with their two sons, hence the exchange of letters between the two. Sadly, Lee Jung Seob never had the opportunity to meet his family again except for a short meeting for 5 days in Tokyo in 1953. He would later suffer from schizophrenia born from his longings to be with his family and turned to alcohol. He died of hepatitis in 1956 in destitute conditions, at the age of 41, in Seoul. 

Lee Jung Seob's artistic style was influenced by Fauvism and his themes are very indigenous. He is credited with making contributions to the introduction of western styles in Korea. One of his most famous works is the "Ox". 

Before leaving for Jeju Island, my mom let me know that Lee Jung Seob was a source of inspiration for her when she was studying oil painting as a college student. 

As we were getting done with perusing Lee Jung Seob Street, residence and gallery, we were hitting lunch time and decided to food hop at the nearby Olle Market. We started with something called the Hoitto, which is a fusion of hodduk (sweet Korean pancakes) and burrito. Visually it looked amazing, which might have upped our expectation a bit, but the taste wasn't all that out of this world. 

We did have some amazing eats in the form of crabs though. That was delicious. We also had hallabong juice (the tangerines which are famous in Jeju - although the juice wasn't 100% natural) and topped it off with peanut dumplings (Udo peanuts are also famous in Udo, Jeju, which is a smaller island off of the main Jeju Island). 

Believe it not, this course actually filled us up pretty nicely and we were off to our next destination -- Cheon Ji Yeon waterfalls.

 // These guys are called Dol Hareubang ("dol" means stone and "hareubang" means grandfather or senior in the Jeju dialect) and you can see them everywhere around the island. Legend has it that if you rub the nose of these statues, you will be granted a son (perhaps because the hats they are wearing are a phallic sign?). They are also generally known as sources of fertility and given as gifts to women with fertility problems. // 

Cheon Ji Yeon means "sky connected with land" and it was given this name because the water appears to fall from the heavens.

From the parking lot, it is a short and pleasant walk over. You can enjoy a variety of trees and rare plants before you hear the sound of the waterfall. Along with the Lee Jung Seob Gallery, the entrance fees to Cheon Ji Yeon Waterfall was free (April promotion to increase tourism during the early spring season). 

We were fortunate enough to not have to face overcrowded spaces as there weren't swarms of people here and all throughout Jeju Island. Part of it was also because around this time China had banned travel to Korea because of the rising tension over the Thaad defense platform. We were told that normally Jeju Island would be overly crowded, mostly by Chinese tourists (and Gimpo Airport even more crowded than what we had experienced -- wha??!)

Before leaving Cheon Ji Yeon Waterfall, Yangkyu and I grabbed some ice cream at one of the stores in the parking lot. Just as we were paying, a young college student asked the store owner how much the selfie sticks were selling for. There were two kinds and the more expensive one of the two was $10 (it wasn't automatic and had a cable line to connect to your phone and an accessible button you can press to take a picture). The student ended up not buying the selfie stick but after hearing the explanation ourselves we were sold! We were pretty excited to have it but we lost it when we were heading back to Seoul (think we may have dropped it somewhere at the airport - darn). 

After Cheon Ji Yeon Waterfall, we continued on our way to Song Ak San but happened upon three places we didn't have on our itinerary and made spontaneous stops. The first was 
Yeongmeori Coast and the Buddhist temple right across from it and the Kim Chun-Ji Lighthouse. 

Yeongmeori Coast is where Mt. Sanbangsan stretches into the ocean which makes it look like a dragon's head going underwater (Yeongmeori means dragon head). 

The view from atop what I think is a tower, where also fire was lit to give light at night, is amazing and breathtaking. From there, you can take steps leading down to the coast.

There is a beautiful field of Yuchae flowers (which are famous in Jeju Island) and if you pay, I think it was around $2, you can go inside and take pictures. Going past the field of flowers you'll see the Hamel Castaway Memorial, which has a replica of a ship that Hendrick Hamel set sail in but was shipwrecked and drifted to Yeongmeori Coast in 1653. You can go inside the ship for an educational experience. Just across from the replica is a small Dutch themed restaurant. 

Continuing on you'll come across a beautiful beach and an area where Haenyo (women sea-divers) sell freshly caught sea cucumbers and other seafood. We had intended to eat here but quickly realized we had used up all our cash to buy my senghwal hanbok at Lee Jeong Sub Street earlier in the day. 

There is also a Marine Park, which we decided to skip. We made a slight detour to head back up to street level to head over to the Buddhist temple across the street. We ended up passing by a little play area with some rides and also farm animals that I think you can either pet or ride? This was a little disappointing as the animals (pony and sheep) looked as though they weren't very well taken care of. This would be a reoccurring theme I would see on Jeju Island -- animals that looked ill treated (but I also felt this at other resorts in different countries and here in the US, etc. -- I am against using any animals for entertainment purposes). 

 // Yeongmeori Coast -- here you can see a field of Yuchae flowers, which are famous in Jeju Island, a replica of a a Dutch merchant ship and other activities that included some farm animals, which I wasn't a fan of. // 

 // Yuchae flowers // 

 // Replica of a Dutch merchant ship wrecked on the Yongmeori Coast in the mid-17th century. //  

 // Area where haenyo prepare and sell freshly caught seafood. // 

 // Wow. That view. // 

Yangkyu and I had wanted to visit a Buddhist temple in Korea but we couldn't decide which one and so it was just kind of up in the air (if we run into one, we run into one, if not, then oh well). Fortunately we saw one right across from Yongmeori Coast called Sanbanggulsa. It was huge and inviting and the colors and details amazing. 

We saw several worshippers, people who spent time tidying up the grounds of the temple, pulling weeds and washing concrete. It looked like such a tedious chore, but they didn't mind doing it. 

The views were breathtaking, the huge golden Buddha statue stunning and while there were lots of stairs to climb, making a stop to view this temple was definitely worth it. 

There are also little eateries at the bottom of the temple (there are also restaurants before you cross the street from Yongmeori Coast if you want a full meal). We decided to stop by a place called Sunny House Hotdog for some coffee and a uniquely prepared hot dog (topped with parmesan cheese!). The interior was decorated nicely - lots of classical music related decorations and a nice garden feel throughout.

After a good rest and filling up our stomachs (we of course ordered just one hot dog to share since we needed to keep our stomachs ready for dinner which was going to be Jeju's famous black pig pork belly bbq), we continued our way to Song Ak San but made another impromptu stop at a beautiful coastline with a cute red lighthouse.

 // Sunny House Hotdog is all the way on the left // 

We had no idea where we were but we just needed to stop and take in this view. So many tug boats and beautiful colors and a whimsical red light house. It was just too picture perfect. It made me feel so calm and instantly at peace. It was quite windy, especially when we got closer to the light house, but it was ok. 

Normally, when I look out into the deep dark water I get anxious and nervous. Just imagining what is under makes me feel uncertain. But here it was different. From a far, I saw a little island and wondered out loud what it was. Yangkyu, being the storyteller he is, said, "That island? That's Piri's Island. He's been hanging out there with Russian dog (his imaginary friend -- here too) and his goat friend (a recent imaginary friend we gave him because I love goats so much). They even run a little restaurant but the goat is a little troublemaker so I think business has been a little bad." I chuckled and said, "If I knew Piri was here the entire time, I would've come to Korea sooner." But Yangkyu added and said, "No, that's not possible because our reunion with Piri will happen at a later time. Not now. So he's gone off somewhere temporarily until we finish visiting Jeju Island." With a little disheartened heart, I mumbled, "Oh.. I wish I can see him even for a little while..." Yangkyu tried to smile and grabbed my hand and we headed toward the red light house. 

 // Piri's Island // 

It was only after coming back home did I do some research on what this lighthouse is called. It's name is Kim Chun-Ji Lighthouse located at the end of a breakwater at Sagye Port. It is named after a woman who left for Japan in 1946 at the age of 20. She lived there for 50 years and memories of her hometown kept her going through all the hardships and difficulties of living abroad. She wanted to do something for her hometown and the residents and so she built a lighthouse, which the residents in turn named after her. Her husband also set up a companion lighthouse in the distance in white, which unfortunately we did not see or know of until looking it up. I also saw that there are many lighthouses in Jeju which we didn't get to see. We will definitely have to go back one day and go see them.

Heading back to our car, we saw someone and their dog playing in the street. Yangkyu said that Piri sent us that dog. And from that moment on, every time we saw a random dog Yangkyu would say that Piri asked all the dogs in the area to look out for us so that we're having a good time. It was such a silly thing to suggest, but I find comfort in those silly thoughts and chuckled every time I saw a four legged friend.  

We arrived at the bottom of Song Ak San at golden hour. We didn't climb up but took in the majestic scenery from afar. There was also another Yuchae flower field (entrance fee required again - we didn't pay to go in here but took pictures from outside the parameter). 

The view here was just the perfect end to a very long day of exploring Jeju Island. I still remember the feeling of the breeze and the smell of the sea and wishing that time would stop because the following day would be our last day on this beautiful island. 

For dinner this night, we ended up having Jeju Island's famous black pig pork belly BBQ. It was most delicious and we also ordered some nengmyun (cold buckwheat noodles) at the end. People eat it to wash down all the grease from the meat. It actually ended up being a bit too much for us and while I'm normally known as a nengmyun killer, I couldn't even get one bite down because I was so full. Instead, Yangkyu over did it and ended up eating the whole bowl. I don't know how he didn't get food coma afterwards.

After dinner, we actually ended up driving to a place called the glass museum but when we arrived it was closed. The drive over in complete darkness was a bit scary as there aren't a lot of street lights and some of the older houses in the dark looked something out of a horror movie. 

We came back to Pause in Jeju, our lodging, late at night and after washing up we fell quickly asleep and ended up getting up again the next day at 5 am. We began it at a coin laundry and breakfast at our favorite convenience store, GS25.

Thanks for reading along. This one was quite long, eh?

I hope you'll continue to join us on our adventures.

 // Travel Korea : DMZ Tours
 // Travel Korea : Childhood Memories
 // Travel Korea : Seoul
 // Travel Korea : Jeju Island, Day 1

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