So here is a little more about Jeju – it is an island; it belongs to
For the Koreans it is a major holiday resort (US colleagues suggest that it is the Korean’s equivalent of their Florida but I find it more like a supped-up version of the Isle of Wight) and pretty much the whole landscape of the island – which is dramatic with a volcano at the centre and beaches and cliffs at the edges – is devoted to tourism. There are many theme parks and other large scale tourist attractions. There are also some tangerine groves – although these are also to some extent grown to allow the tourists to take them home as souvenirs, the other major take-home gift being fish.
Local specialties in restaurants include seafood and some of this tends to arrive at the table alive and customers kill and cook it themselves.
The Scientific Committee meeting is being held in a luxurious hotel surrounded by well manicured gardens that reach to the cliff’s edge. This luxurious hotel is surrounded by other luxurious hotels together covering several square miles (of luxury). Here there are things that one might expect in western hotels like swimming pools, bars and coffee shops, but also less expected structures, like a series of full-sized Dutch-style artificial and electrically-driven windmills and small areas of tents. Now the tented areas in the gardens of the hotels seem to either be a place for the children to play (and perhaps pretend that they are out in the wild) or somewhere for families to go and have barbecues. The tented areas come complete with not only barbequing equipment but also large electric insect killing devices and, of course, waiters and other highly attentive staff.
A coffee in the luxury hotel where we are meeting costs £11 (but does come with a very small cake).
The local and tourist Koreans are, as ever, very polite and welcoming; just very occasionally you see a small child staring at the odd western faces with their funny wide eyes and hairy faces.
Some night images of Jeju:
|Inside one big hotel|
|Local eating option|
|Restaurant advert - black pigs are a local speciality|
|A monster coffee shop|
|A late-night tangerine and fish shop|