swim to the sky, variation 4 ( blue )

emiliewho

San Marino, United States

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Taken at the pond next to the rainbow pavilion near our conference hotel during some free time.

Jeju Island is a small island off the coast of South Korea, sometimes referred to as “Korea’s Hawaii.” Perhaps more appropriate would be “Korea’s Sicily,” as island natives have their own dialect and experienced a history of violent oppression. While today Jeju Island seems a lighthearted tourist spot known for edible trinkets such as oranges and chocolate (not at all helped by unfounded outgrowths such as the Teddy Bear Museum), a few remnants of a culture borne of the struggle to survive in harsh elements still linger. For the moment.

I got to know Jeju when I visited my friend, who was living on the island to research traditional marine culture, and it was a welcome respite from the urban congestion that is Seoul. In our couple of weeks together, we visited beaches and other natural spots the island is famous for. From a lot of people, you’ll hear that Jeju is known for three things (삼사도): wind, women and rocks. Through my friend, I got to learn so much more about this little piece of South Korea.

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