Couple Locks in Jeju

Couple Locks in Jeju

A month before I left Korea I went to Jeju. It’s an island to the south and is often described by some as the Hawaii of Korea. Since I’ve never been there I knew I had to go there at least once before I left, and rightfully I went with my friend Hangtak from university.The whole trip will take too long to explain, because quite a lot happened in the 4-5 days. As the title depicts, I’ll tell you about the time the typhoon rolled in while we were out and about.

Raining in Jeju Island

Raining in Jeju Island

The trip to Jeju was a spontaneous purchase. There were only a few days my friend and I had free before I had to leave. Luckily for us the weekend we decided to go was the same weekend a typhoon decided to visit as well. The hotel we were staying at had a lot of extra rooms because the typhoon was large enough to scare away some tourists, and cancel a few flights.I guess as a Hawaii of Korea it’s not really worth the trip to go when it’s raining, especially if you can just go the week after. We were not so eager to go as well, but we knew we had to. Hangtak’s family called in concern for him. My family had no idea where and what I was doing during this time.

Dragon Head in Jeju

Dragon Head in Jeju

The first 2 days the weather was always cloudy. At times it would rain or drizzle.  We still tried to get out and do a lot of the activities we planned on doing, except for the more important ones like the beach. The 3rd night is when the typhoon would come in. During the day it was normal as we drove around the island to different places like the Dragon’s head, a large rock that looks like well… a dragon’s head. After visiting the Ghost Road, a road where objects like cars or water bottles roll up hill (got your attention right? A separate post is required for this) we decided to stock up on some food, and soju. We thought we wouldn’t be able to make it outside the hotel and definitely didn’t want to be hungry while being bored. After cooking up some samgyupsal and most likely taking a nap, we were bored. Really bored. A Sunday night and we were just staying in? No way, not in Korea. No typhoon is going to stop us.
Bad weather in Jeju

Bad weather in Jeju

We looked outside, and because our hotel was higher up and maybe even shielded by mountains we didn’t see much of a typhoon.  Some rain, and some wind, but that was all. Why did we even decide to stay in at all? Why did the maintenance guy come in and tape up our windows?Enough questions, lets head out! I think we decided to go to a Casino in New Jeju that night. It was my first time to go in a Casino in my entire life. Late I know. It was in a hotel and it was kind of intimidating to be inside. Instead of a bustling friendly atmosphere, it was very quiet. Kind of like the scenes you see in spy movies. All the staff there looked like gangsters so I was afraid to win too much money. My friend luckily knows his black jack and walked me through it, after a few rounds we bounced. The staff started coming over maybe because we were speaking English, or winning a few too often. I had no idea what I was doing, but maybe they thought it was a gimmick. Other than that they seemed friendlier than I expected they would be.

New Jeju Downtown

New Jeju Downtown

We left and had nothing else to do. People weren’t in the bars or cafes because the typhoon was coming in. With nothing else to do we went to Tom N Tom’s café in New Jeju. Had a coffee, and bought extra snacks so we could stay because there were some cute girls in the table across from us. After they left we had no reason to stay, and decided that we would just wander around New Jeju until something exciting happens.The rain started coming in, and to find shelter we decided to head into a bar to kill some time. I don’t know what we were thinking because we knew the typhoon was coming in, but we were waiting for a break in the rain so we could go home. Either that or we just didn’t want go home yet. There was already a river forming on the sidewalk in front of the bar but we were staying. We didn’t feel too bad for keeping the staff there because:

1. They were going to stay anyway
2. There were other people there too.
3. The girl lived 5 minutes from there so if anything, we should be worried about ourselves.

The night goes on and it ends up being around 2 or 3 am when we decide to leave. My friend and I needed to catch the plane later that day. As we try to get out of the bar, the river we saw on the sidewalk became a much larger river. It was impossible to step outside without submerging your shoes in water. I was wearing my nice ClimaCool Adidas shoes too! These shoes are supposed to let your feet breathe as it’s primarily built from mesh. Needless to say it didn’t keep the water out at all. I might as well have been walking barefoot. At least I knew the mesh was working.
Typhoon in New Jeju Downtown

Typhoon in New Jeju Downtown

The most important part of keeping dry is to keep your feet dry. It’s so uncomfortable once your socks get wet and since that already happened, we could care less about our clothes. The worst had already happened.
Jeju Typhoon

Jeju Typhoon

The road and sidewalks were starting to fill up even faster and when they dipped you can really see the difference in water level. It looked like a waterpark. My friend decided to get the car while stayed.  I don’t know why I stayed. Maybe I did care a bit about my clothes. I also took pictures.
Anyway, we were off! In our little rented Kia Morning (a.k.a. Kia Picanto, which isn’t sold in North America). This car is no performance car and quite small actually. We weren’t scared about the rain or the fact you had to have the wipers on super-fast. The scary part was if we got stuck. The car is small, and the exhaust was pretty low. With the rain coming in as fast as it was and deeper in some parts, we were afraid to stall. If we got stuck outside we would really seem like idiots for having gone out in the first place. We would be soaking with almost no way to get back, and the car was rented so we wouldn’t want to leave it or have it towed.
Jeju water everywhere

Jeju water everywhere

It was actually quite fun to drive in this weather. We’ve never drove in a typhoon before. I said it earlier but it really felt like being in a waterpark. We were stopped at one intersection and you could see the water flowing over the road and onto the side walk. You would definitely soak people on the sidewalk if there had been any. It went quite a distance just like in the movies.It was fun until we got closer to the hotel, where we started seeing brown water. The water was flowing over some walls and elevated ground, where some houses and restaurants were. That’s when it became scary. We thought we could be on the news later and one of the statistics. Maybe this is how people end up on the news, because of being stupid.

One of our jokes was that we’d be on the news and my family would find out I had died with my arms around my friend, after having taken pictures with flowers the day before, in Jeju the Hawaii of Korea. It would either make all the sense in the world or no sense at all. (All my friends that meet me the first time think I’m gay, but then find out I’m so definitely into girls. I’m not gay and there’s no problem with being gay or not.)After getting past some of the more dangerous parts of the road and heading up the mountain the weather seemed to change. It was more fog if anything, and not raining that much. It was very difficult to see because there weren’t any street lights, in addition to the heavy fog. There were no road rivers to drive through and it was like we were in a completely different part of the country. All in all the whole situation wasn’t that bad and was quite fun actually. From the looks of it the next day, very little property was damaged. I’m sure Jeju has its share of typhoons so locals know how to deal with them.