25 May 2016

Journey to the East (of Jeju Island) - Illustrations and Webtoon-Snippets

This post will be a little different. There's no mention of makeup (gasp!) and there's mostly just photos instead of drawings.

I wanted to introduce the region of South Korea I've been living in for now nearly three years, namely the east of Jejudo or Jeju Island, including Pyeongdae, Sehwa (and its markets) as well as Hado.

Sketch of Sehwa-Ri, 2014

Most of the imagery that's shown of Jeju is somewhat beach-life-related, so instead I'll be taking you on a little tour along one of the countless hiking routes that lead around the whole island. Still lots of beaches, though. The trails are called Ollegil and one of them actually goes by where I live (as in, five meter distance from doorstep to hiking trail) so I'm a bit protective of these. Swiss ambassador for Jeju Olle hiking trails, right here!

On that note: My self-painted doorstep for the Bistro Gris.

The sun is intense on Jeju, so I did slap on some 50 SPF sunscreen (and well, since this IS a makeup blog, too, I'll mention that it was an innisfree one. Surprise.) and a hat. Looking like a ghost I made it through the afternoon without getting burnt (my hands and neck were another story... I need to get out more...)

Selfie before moving out! 
While there are some signs and menues translated into English, you might want to brush up on some Korean vocabulary when traveling outside of large cities. 
When my parents were visiting, I drew them a little language survival map, Jeju specific version. So, let's grab that and go!

First, there's the village we live in (husband, cat and me), Pyeongdae-ri. Located on the north-eastern coast of Jeju in the region called 'Gujwaeup', and Olle gil 21 is the one leading from the village eastwards. While we do technically live in the region of Pyeongdae-ri, we're so far on the outskirts that Sehwa-ri, the next village over, is much closer.

So, that's where we live and where the Bistro Gris is located. On we go!

Leave behind your cat... (sorry)

... and follow the trail until you reach the seaside of Sehwa. 
As with many of the small villages around Jeju, there's a lot of growth happening. While the east of the island is a lot more rural than the more touristy south or west (not to even mention the north and Jeju City), the last two years have seen a bit of an explosion in little cafes, guesthouses, rental houses, cute little shops, fleamarkets, farmer markets and of course tourists. While the large tourist groups (be it Chinese or Korean) visit mostly the south, the east has become popular among young couples, groups of friends or just in general people that want a more relaxed vacation. 

This makes for some interesting contrast, because old and new clash together quite a bit.

There's new dessert cafes next to seafood restaurant that have been there for decades. Agriculture and fishing are everpresent, but so are selfie-shooting tourists and modern guesthouses. 

If you pass Sehwa harbor on a saturday, you'll notice a lot of people gravitating towards the largest pier. That's the '벨롱장' (Bellongjang? Vellong?) flea market happening - which isn't really a flea market, since you won't find second-hand goods.

Missing Hedwig... :'(

 Instead, there's a lot of small stalls selling handmade necklaces, hats, pottery, woodwork, artfully woven hangings, hand-sewn mobiles, embroidery and decorations, as well as food and drinks. 

We even found kebab and mango lassi. There's freshly baked bread, bretzels, lots of juice and coffee, and a little fire to roast marshmallows over. 
The stalls tend to change a lot, so you might want to visit again soon... it's also been growing steadily over the last two, three years (when it started out with only a couple of tables) and keeps on growing!

If Saturday is not an option, try visiting on a day where the 오일장 / O-Il-Jang / Five-Day-Market is held. The 5th, 10th, 15th... and so on of every month. Less cute little stalls, more traditional restaurants, fried food, fresh vegetables, fruit and fish. 
The Oiljang is held in a roofed but open-walled building right next to the harbor - hard to miss, especially on market day!

Well, no luck there today.

So go on ahead for a few more minutes, and take some pictures at these cute little phot zones in front of the seaside cafes. 

Don't worry if you couldn't go to either market - you won't famish on the road. There's a lot of places selling dessert and coffee, as well as traditional restaurants. 

It starts like this...

... and keeps on growing. 
 Now that shopping and eating are out of the way, it's time to, you know, actually hike.

The Jeju Olle Trails are quite forgiving. While there are some sections that take up an entire day of walking, most can be done in three to six hours. And as long as they aren't leading into the mountains, you can more or less walk them in sandals (say hello to bugs and mosquitos, though).

There's simple markers in the form of ribbons guiding the way.

Say goodbye to the sea... for now!
After Sehwa, the trail will lead inland once it reaches the Haenyeo (Diving Women) Museum. If you've got enough time, take a look at that, too. The diving women are a part of Jeju's culture even today and the museum gives some insight into their past, too.

Depending on the season, you'll be able to see them diving in the sea anyways, or pass by large amounts of seaweed drying on the streets. 

An older sketch depicting the avid seafood collecting ajummas.

You'll probably also see locals as well as tourists collecting seafood among the rocks. If you want to have a taste, a lot of the seaside restaurants get deliveries straight from the diving women.

The trail will lead through some smaller hills and fields. Jeju's climate can be near-tropical in summer, but it really depends on what part of the island you visit. While the south sports palm trees, citrus fruits and cacti, the east coast is more of a carrot fields and pine trees kind of region.

There's a lot of stray dogs running around. Don't worry, they've got better things to do than chasing after humans. :)

Another sign to watch out for are these symbols, guiding the way in places where ribbons won't quite cut it.

As you follow the trail, you'll also visit some smaller villages with traditional houses made from Jeju black stone. There's even a fortress just before you hit upon the next larger settlement.

The fortress is a historical site, but people are still living all over the place.

Housing from a generation after the stone wall houses. There's so many of these small little houses all over the island, with the roofs painted either green, red or blue without exception. One housing unit consists of several of these small buildings - one for living, one for storage, one for cooking/working, for example.

Sometimes the color combinations get ambitious.

After about one hour of walking through hills, fields and villages and after crossing through the fortress, you'll reach the coast again at Hado-Ri. You can't miss the sign.
Smaller than Sehwa-Ri, it sports a beautiful beach at the end of the Olleh Gil as well as some old-fashioned guest houses in stone houses.

If you're a bit tired from literally no walking, go have a drink at one of the seaside cafes. Personal recommendation would be the Cafe Isla right there after you've seen the large 'Hado' sign - the couple leading the cafe are avid travellers and their menu card is all the more rich for it.

Found one of the crochet mobilees sold at the fleamarket in Sehwa. Isn't the diving woman cute?

Right on cue, we spotted a whole troupe of diving women / haenyeo after leaving the cafe to follow the coastline road again. They can be found easily - you'll hear the high-pitched sound of their breathing even from very far away. At first, I thought I was hearing sea gulls, but since the haenyeo don't use any diving equipment beyond glasses and have to hold their breaths for a long time, the first intake after reaching the surface is audible before you can even see them. 

Considering that most of these women are well over their fifties, the bodily work they do is even more impressive. 

Another half hour of walking brings you to the beach of Hadori. There's canoes to be taken out into the water, so you might want to make a longer stop here.

Hadori sketch from spring 2016

After Hadori, the 21st Olle Gil continues along the beach, then moving inwards again and up one of the larger hills (Oreum) of Jeju island. 

We were in a hurry, so we didn't follow the way to its end on that day.
Made it home just in time to watch the sunset and give some love to our lonely cat. 

The view from the Bistro Gris ~ 

That's it for this little photography and illustration heavy blog post. 

I really love the region we live in - and Jeju island in general - so I'm happy I could do this little introduction!

Below is a snippet from a webtoon I'd been drawing in 2014, retelling my first time traveling to Korea and Jeju (and Asia in general) with a friend and meeting my now-husband (then-hostelstaff) while doing so. Thematically relevant. Totally.

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