Jeju’s Love Land & Mini Land

Day 3 in Jeju was cloudy with rain threatening to fall at any moment.

I had met a fellow wanderer through the facebook page, “travel buddies Korea.” She was going to be in Jeju around the same time I was so we decided to pair up and do some sightseeing. By the time we had checked out the local market and purchased some souvenirs, it was misty with no sun to be seen. We decided to check out Jeju’s famous Love Land.

American love. Marilyn Monroe's famous pose with an eagle's head and wings on top.

American love. Marilyn Monroe’s famous pose with an eagle’s head and wings on top.

We weren't clear on this, but we think these were hand-washing sinks.

We weren’t clear on this, but we think these were hand-washing sinks.

Love Land is known as Korea’s only “sexual theme park” and although we think of theme parks as having rides and games, this was not that kind of park. It’s actually just a walking park, filled with 140 erotic sculptures made by 20 Korean artists from Hongik University in Seoul. They began the project in 2002 and two years later the park was open for business. The purpose of this unique park is to break away from the cultural taboos that many Korean people have towards sex. The park boasts being a place to “appreciate the natural beauty of sexuality.”

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It took about an hour to walk through and thanks to the rain, it wasn’t very busy which was nice. 

Japanese love.

Japanese love.

Indian love.

Indian love.

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After we had our fill of nakedness, we went for lunch where I tried Jeju’s famous peanut makoli (a kind of fermented rice wine). I’m a big fan of traditional makoli but sadly, the peanut one didn’t do it for me :(

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After lunch we headed out to Mini Land, another theme park but this one much tamer. Mini Land is a miniature theme park filled with famous structures from around the world. We had a lot of fun running around all the mini buildings and landmarks, statues and monuments.

No Mini Land could call itself so without an homage to Gulliver's Travels.

No Mini Land could call itself so without an homage to Gulliver’s Travels.

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.

Not sure, but I think this a ruin from Myanmar.

Not sure, but I think this a ruin from Myanmar.

Taj Mahal, India.

Taj Mahal, India.

My travel buddy, Rafiqua, at the Korean government HQ known as "the Blue House," South Korea.

My travel buddy, Rafiqua, at the Korean government HQ known as “the Blue House,” South Korea.

Thanks to the rain, once again we pretty much had the place to ourselves. At any tourist hotspot in Asia, this is a rare and special gift. It was shocking how many photos we got with no other tourists in our shots!

Easter Island, Polynesia.

Easter Island, Polynesia.

Toronto's City Hall, Ontario Canada.

Toronto’s City Hall, Ontario Canada.

A mini Dol Hareubang (grandfather rock), famous gods of protection in Jeju.

A mini Dol Hareubang (grandfather rock), famous gods of protection in Jeju.

St. Basil's Cathedral, Russia.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Russia.

What a day! I don’t think I even dreamed that night; just hit the pillow and was out. More adventures to come next week so subscribe (on the right, below the archives) for instant notifications on new posts!

Jeju Travel! Folk Village Fun

I finally set foot on Jeju island, known as “The Hawaii of Asia.” I had wanted to visit the island when I was here 10 years ago but never got the chance. I often lamented that missed opportunity and swore if I returned I wouldn’t leave the country without spending time on Jeju. Mission complete! I can go home now :)

The ticket lady gave this ridiculous hat that was too big for my head but I had to take a picture!

The ticket lady gave this ridiculous hat that was too big for my head but I had to take a picture!

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One of the first things on my list of things to do on the island was to visit the Jeju Folk Village in the southern region of Pyoseon. Yes, there are plenty of folk villages to see on the mainland but this one is special because it’s also the shooting location for parts of one of my favourite Korean dramas, called Daejanggeum (대장금), also known as Jewel in the Palace or the Great Jang Geum.

The main character, Jang Geum.

The main character, Jang Geum.

A billboard showcasing some other period dramas that filmed at the village as well.

A billboard showcasing some other period dramas that filmed at the village as well.

DJG is based on a true story of the first female doctor during the Chosun Dynasty over 500 years ago. She began her career as a cook in the palace of the king and worked her way up to becoming a royal cook to a royal physician, then to the personal physician of the king himself. This historical drama ran for a whopping 54 episodes, (most K-dramas run for 20 episodes or so) and had the biggest international following of any K-drama to date during its airtime 12 years ago.

A replica of a village doctor's quarters.

A replica of a village doctor’s quarters.

A traditional pharmacist's shop with herbs and plants being prepared for use.

A traditional pharmacist’s shop with herbs and plants being prepared for use.

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I had wanted to watch this drama for ages but due to the garbage internet packages in Canada (I’m looking at you, Rogers), I could never afford to stream the episodes online without paying through the teeth for the data usage. So when I came back to Korea, the land of unlimited internet data (you pay one flat fee for home internet here), I set my sights on Daejanggeum right away. Now here I am. Full circle, on vacation and in the hotspot of where DJG was filmed. I had to control myself not to run up to the ticket booth like a spastic child.

A mill stone, used to grind grains using a horse or ox to pull the wheel around.

A mill stone, used to grind grains using a horse or ox to pull the wheel.

An old kitchen hut.

An old kitchen hut.

Clay pots, used for storage of fermented dishes like pickled cabbage and turnips.

Clay pots, used for storage of fermented dishes like pickled cabbage and turnips.

A scene from DJG from her time in prison.

A scene from DJG from her time in prison.

A reconstruction of what prison cells were like on the island. Many royal and political criminals were sent to Jeju to live in exile back in the day.

A reconstruction of what prison cells were like on the island. Many royal and political criminals were sent to Jeju to live in exile back in the day.

Artifacts used on the set.

Artifacts used on the set.

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Herbs used to hone DJG's medicinal skills during her time in exile on Jeju island.

Herbs used to hone DJG’s medicinal skills during her time in exile on Jeju island.

I also made a short video of some highlights of my village exploration. To check it out, press play below:

A bus from the intercity bus terminal in Jeju city took about an hour and 20 minutes and I was at the door of the traditional village. If you’re staying in Seogwipo city in the south, it will take less time to get there. Entrance fee is 10,000 won (approx. $11 CAD) and audio guides are available in English, Chinese and Japanese for an additional 2,000 won (you can hear my audio guide in the video above). For more information on the Jeju Folk Village click here.

A Day in the Life: English Camp!

It’s been a while Dear Readers!

I hope your summers have been going well. I’ve been busy preparing and teaching my English summer camp, so I thought I’d share some camp escapades with you. For those who may not know, most public school teachers in Korea are responsible for planning and executing a week or two of English camp. One camp session happens during summer vacation and one during the winter break. We usually have to run our plans by our Korean co-teachers and they help with ordering materials needed but essentially it’s our project from start to finish.

In theory we’re supposed to have a Korean co-teacher with us during camp to help with translation for low level students and discipline, but often times it doesn’t work out that way. So sink or swim, camp is all on us. My first summer camp in 2013 was a disaster. My material was too high-level for the students who attended but the activities were fun so all was not lost. By the time winter camp rolled around I had ironed out my mistakes and was on my way to becoming an English camp mastermind.

Three years later, here I am. Another week of camp is over with and good times were had by all. I’ve come to enjoy this time, when I get to have some fun with 20-30 of my 700 students and teach something I’m passionate about.

This summer’s English camp was about animals around the world. On our first day, we learned about animals of the savanna and made animal headbands.

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The second day’s topic was about animals of the forest. After our lesson we made animal hand-stamps. The kids really loved sticking their whole hand into a plate of paint. Below you can see crabs, octopuses, fish, peacocks, penguins and other unidentified creatures.

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In a last-minute issue, I was left with no activity for day four. In keeping with the theme of animals, I spent my afternoon making a “pin the tail on the donkey” game which was a big hit. None of the kids had heard of this game so 1 point for Karli Teacher for introducing a new game!

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Last winter’s English camp was possibly my most favourite camp of all time. It was the Harry Potter English magic camp and it was super fun for both myself and the students.

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The famous "Sorting Hat" from Harry Potter where new students must choose which house they belong to.

The famous “Sorting Hat” from Harry Potter where new students must choose which house they belong to.

Once their houses have been decided, each house team worked together to make their house banners.

Once their houses had been decided, each house team worked together to make their house banners.

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The second day of Harry Potter English camp was called “the care of magical creatures” (which is really a course the students at Hogwarts study in the books). After our lesson on mythical creatures, we made our own magical creatures with clay. Owls, spiders, snakes and other unknown blob-type creatures were made.

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The next day brought my most favourite activity EVER! We made wands! It took two days: one to paint and let dry, then another to add sparkly glue and/or marker designs. Of course I also taught them some spells from the movies, after which point the boys took off running around class shouting spells at each other and pretending to either float, freeze, explode or die.

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I hope to teach the Harry Potter English camp again this winter as there were some activities I wanted to do but didn’t have the time. I’ll let you know come winter! Next week I’ll be on vacation on Jeju island, gathering more stories to share with you. Until next time, be well :)