Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

On Garbage Detail

We had been communicating with a fellow named Jim who runs the Jeju Island Tourism facebook page. He asked if we wanted to join him on a volunteer trail hike whereby the volunteers pick up trash along the trail. They're having a trail festival here next month and they want this particular 18 km section to be as clean as can be so they're doing "clean-up" hikes four times this month in preparation for the festival.

We volunteered to join in!

Jim said he would meet us at 8:45am this morning outside the guest house where we were staying right downtown. From there, we walked to the meeting point at the start of this section of the trail.

This is a major intersection near where we're staying.

First, I should tell you a little bit about the island. It's approximately 73 kms (45 miles) long by 41 kms (25 miles) wide. There are two major cities, and the entire population is about 600,000 people. In the center of the island is a Korean National Park!

Jeju Island.

In 2007, they designed a system of trails that go around the entire island, with most of the trails following the coastline. The sections that go through the two cities include residential streets and urban pathways. This section, with a lot of it going through urban sections of the city of Jeju is where we were on trash duty today!

Walking towards the meeting point, we went through one of the markets in the city. Jeju is famous for it's fishing, so there are a lot of fish stalls in the market!

Seafood anyone??

Look at the size of those shrimp!

These are funny looking fish.

First you have to figure out how to fillet them. Then, you have to figure out how to cook them!

We love wandering around the local markets.

There's Jim, behind Ruth in the picture above. He's an expat from England who came here to teach English and ended up staying after he met his wife here. Now, he's an expert on tourism for Jeju Island, and he speaks pretty darn good Korean too!

Our group, getting ready to head out.

A waterway through Jeju City.

They issued us each a pair of "trash tweezers" for lack of a better term. And a bag for trash and a separate bag for recyclables.

Ruth. The bag lady!

Jeju does tend to have a little more trash lying around than what we saw on the mainland. It's still pretty clean though, so we really had to look for it in places. And actually, it's amazing how much you can find when you actually start looking for it! Other areas, when you were right on the waterfront tended to have some sections where there was quite a bit to pick up because of the wind and the tide which washes stuff up onto the roads and trail.

This was a pretty section of the trail that went through a park.

Yikes. There are some ugly lookin' spiders here!

This hole was dug by the Japanese during WWII. Not sure why, but I guess they had a plan. There were 72,000 Japanese troops stationed here towards the end of the war in preparation for an allied invasion of Japan that never happened.

At the top of this hill, there's a pagoda that offers great views looking back at the city.

Looking back at Jeju City.

Kevin.

Looking towards another section of the city.

This is a typical historical Jeju homestead building. The roof is thatched, and covered with a woven fabric.

Rough seas!

You might have noticed from the pics that our weather has taken a turn for the worse. In fact, today was warm enough at 21C (70F) but really windy. And it's going to get worse as we have Typhoon Vongfong headed our way tomorrow. Should be interesting!

The island is all volcanic rock and they've built some great walls out of the rock. 

The sea is really rough, and breaking over the seawall.

Pretty mural around a schoolyard.

We had to be careful not to get wet along this section!

And then, it was time for lunch. We had done about 10 kms and it was just after 1:00pm. Not making great time, but we were stopping a lot along the way. To pick up trash, and to take photos!

The whole group went to a typical Korean restaurant. We sat on the floor!

The table is ready.

Pull up a chair, Ruth!

The rest of them had a noodle soup. We had a vegetable beef soup with tofu, along with a bowl of rice each.

The crew, having lunch.

Ruth found some kitty cats along the way.

We all decided that because the weather wasn't the best we would not complete the whole 18 kms. In fact, we only did about another hour after we finished lunch. Probably 12 or 13 kms in total. Still, we felt like we accomplished a lot and the ladies from the group had told Jim that they were impressed with our trash picking up abilities! Hey, everyone's got to be good at something, right?! 

Our Olle Trail volunteer group. Missing a few members who dropped out earlier.

33 comments:

  1. I like the kitties! Did all the volunteers get a free lunch for their 4+ hours?

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    1. Lunch was subsidized and ended up costing us 3,000 won ($3.30) each. Including a big cup of rice wine!

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  2. What a great experience. It is amazing to me how you connect with people no matter where you are. Quite a gift! Nice way to volunteer and get some volunteer work in. Will you make it over to Pusan? I love those open markets!!

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    1. We really try to make an effort to meet the local people when we are traveling, it sure gives you a better understanding of their way of life.

      Yes, we have plans on visiting Busan. We have plans on arriving there sometime next Friday.

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  3. I agree with Randy, what a great experience. Were you able to communicate with any of the other volunteers?

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    1. We also agree, it was a great experience. We were able to talk to a few of the members of the group who were able to speak some English but the rest spoke Korean. Jim was a great interpreter for us though!

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  4. What a great opportunity to get involved in something local - good for you guys! Is the 'fist' in the group photo symbolic of something?

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    1. Yes it was, Janis. When a picture was taken of the group just before it was taken they would say 1, 2, 3, Olle (that's the name of the trail we were cleaning) and then raise their fist, sort of like a yeah!

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  5. Aren't those long, thin fish eels?

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    1. Yes, that's what we think they are too.

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    2. We've seen them on the menu in Seogwipo, they just cut them into about 6"-8" lengths and grill them whole, skin and all. They just called them "long fish" I think that may have been an attempt at English interpretation!

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    3. Thanks for the explanation Esther. We saw some food that looked like seafood cut up in lengths for grilling and we thing that is what it might have been. May have to give it a try.

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  6. Terrific pictures. I have to say that's the best looking bag lady I have ever seen. Great thing to do and wonderful way to meet local people and show them how super Canadians are. I really hope you don't get hit hard by that typhoon. Scary!!

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    1. Thanks Sherry, I really do feel like a bag lady because I seem to spend so much time living out of a bag.
      :-)

      We hope we don't get hit to hard with it either, it would put a bit of a damper on our exploring otherwise.

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  7. What a great way to see a city! Hope it's not a big typhoon!

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    1. Yep, that's what we thought too, and we even had our own tour guide to explain about the city and the island.

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  8. Another enjoyable day of virtual travel - for me. Thanks for sharing your adventure again. The pix are fantastic and Korea looks soooo clean!

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    1. Thank you Mary-Pat, we had a great time making Korea even cleaner than it looks already.

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  9. I wish the U.S. was as clean! Your volunteer group looks like a great one.

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    1. The US is a whole lot bigger with less people. Don't forget that the US does have the adopt a road program which does help a lot with keeping things clean.

      The group was a happy one and very friendly. Looks like they have a great time together when they are out on trash duty, it's like a social get together for them.

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  10. That was awesome of you to volunteer for that job!

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  11. PS: The deep kimchee comment is an expression here in the states, as when you're in trouble you're in "Deep Kimchee". And I always am, one way or the other... ;c)

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    1. Thanks for the explanation, we had never heard of that expression before. And we find that hard to believe Paul! ;-)

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  12. Love the picture of the water coming over the sea wall. Sure hope the typhoon doesn't do much damage. You guys must have done good because you impressed the other volunteers.

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    1. We hope there isn't any damage either considering that we are so close to the waterfront.

      We tried our best, so I guess that was good enough for them.

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  13. No visit to Jeju would be complete without checking out Loveland! Just sayin'...

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    1. If we went there Dugg, we would have to make our blog post and X-rated one! I have my doubts that we will be visiting anyway as it is in opposite direction of our more favourite options for sightseeing.

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    2. Our group of young people heard that Loveland was lame and opted for the "Sex & Health Museum" instead!

      Phew! I didn't take any photos inside... let's just say it was pretty graphic and educational even for seasoned veterans like Steve & I. It gives an historical overview of world wide sexual culture and practises from the ancient Egyptians through the soaring 20's!

      A lot of the detailed text was Korean but there was enough English that it was easy to get through in about 1-2 hours and still get a good understanding of the gist of the material.

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    3. That's supposed to say, "ROARING 20's"

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    4. Glad we didn't go to Loveland then, although I am not sure we would have anyway. I also don't think we will go to the Sex and Health Museum either. Not sure how we could put those pictures into a blog post! ;-)

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  14. You always have some great experiences, and a worthwhile day.

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    1. We certainly try to George. We love trying to do things the local way.

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