August 07, 2010

the mess ... (Jeju pt III)

(This is the third part in the multi part saga that was Jeju Island.)

There is a small problem with traveling in Korea in July. July is the month with the highest average rainfall in the year. Basically it's rainy season. My second morning I was reminded of this. While rain makes a calming noise to sleep to, when you want to get out and about, it’s not the best thing to hear. Thankfully we were planning on being underground for the morning. Jeju is home to one of the world’s longest lava tubes. I wasn’t originally going to attempt these tubes with crutches, yet we met some tourists the night before who the caves should be manageable with crutches, YAY. The caves were on the other side of the island, and the F1 bus driver still took an hour and a half to get to the tube, I really wished it was a smaller island.

At the tubes there was an awesome sign, ‘no high heels’. Korean women wear heels everywhere, in every condition known to man. You might find it shocking there had to be a sign, but I bet you that Korean women have attempted to walk on lava flows in 6 inch heels. Thankfully there wasn’t a sign stating no crutches, although I was secretly hoping for an elevator to take me down. The stairs were kind of steep, although not unmanageable. The stairs did offer something unique, every step you went deeper into the cave the cooler it became. I've never felt such drastic temperature changes like that before. It went from high twenties to low teens within twenty feet.

The cave was remarkable, words can’t fully describe it. Walking down this 1km stretch was unbelievable, the walls and floor were caked in lava. There were lava lines on the walls like tree rings showing how the lava levels changed as the volcano started to run out of liquid rock. The ceiling was melted in some places, it looked like plaster dripping down towards the ground. I had little issues navigating the cave with crutches, anytime I encountered uneven ground I shot across them like a spider monkey. I spent most of my time in the cave staring at the floor, trying to find adequate places to put my crutches. I felt like my mother when she tries to take pictures, except i was actually staring at the floor and not accidentally taking pictures of the ground.  This leads me to my biggest problem with the cave, it was very poorly lit. I realize that they want to keep an certain atmosphere in the cave, but it was fucking dark, and next to near impossible to take a great picture. It was one of those things that you have to ‘remember’ instead of photograph. I hate doing things the old fashioned way.

After we finished with the cave we headed 500m down the road to a maze. I would have loved have attempted the maze. While we were walking to it the sky opened up. It was pouring and I didn’t have an umbrella. I always get into a strange mood when it rains. I love getting rained on, it’s fun, it’s exciting, but if I’m cold because I’ve been rained on I get all moody. I know exactly where this feeling comes from, and it comes from my parent yelling at me, 'to get out of the rain before i caught a cold’. I then link it to this fear of catching pneumonia. Pneumonia and I don’t play nice together, the whole i don't have a spleen thing. SO I have these little freak outs, no matter how much I try to convince myself I’ll be fine. I still have these nagging thoughts. I think this was parenting done too efficiently, you want your children to remember what you tell them, not freak out when it happens, haha oh well.

Waking up the next morning was amazing, who would have thought sleeping on the floor could be so awesome. I really felt rested, I’d walked a lot the previous day and my knee barely hurt. I mean it likes to constantly nag me to remind me it’s there, but it’s no different from a relative or cut on the inside of your mouth.

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