Thursday, 31 March 2011

Eurasian Hoopoe

The ultimate rock n roll bird.  I've run into these pretty rarely over the years, and I've never been able to get a decent picture.  I secured this picture by doing a ridiculous special forces power roll onto my belly to get a clear shot.  I am strange.  This Hoopoe made my day (easily amused), and it's another good sign that spring migration is under way.  Hoops!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A solid morning

One thing I'll dearly miss about Seogwipo is sitting around on her hexagonal basalt column cliffs, fishing for melt-away hours.  The water is clean, and my nose is red.

Withered Mermaids

The Haenyo are Jeju's rapidly-disappearing female divers.  Most of them are over the age of 60, and no one will likely replace them.  I've seen them diving in the dead of winter - they're made of rebar and rawhide.  Apparently a Great White took a bite of one in 2005 and spat her out.  I bet she barely noticed.
  And they're not to be trifled with either - a friend of mine (who happened to be illegally spearfishing) was bombarded with rocks by a crew of pissed-off Haenyo.  He wisely withdrew.  I've seen them freedive for about 2 minutes at a time.  This one was hooking for Octopi under the rocks.  See them now, before they're gone.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Yellow-throated Bunting, the sequel

The female this time.  I can almost hear her...never mind.  G'nite.

Two dead frogs

One shriveled, one bloated.  Stupid frogs.
Also, 1,000th post.  I'm high-fiving myself, but really I shouldn't.  I probably should've jumped ship 500 posts or so ago.  One fine day soon, the winds of migration will help to dislodge a stagnating owl's ass-anchor.  Adrift to always greener grass.  Away from the land of the world's biggest inferiority/superiority complex ('We're the best in the world, but everyone's attacking us, and we make such great whiny victims, wa-wah-waaaah!')
  But don't worry, I'm an equal opportunity ranter.  I've no doubt I'll have way more rants about my homeland than I ever did about this place.  Plop!  Splash!

Pig guts soup

I'm normally a fan of hearty Korean working-class soups, but this one, not so much.  I mostly ate around the wobbling piggy gut bits.  The sides were good.  Been birding a lot lately, spring migrants are moments away.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Wolfmother - Woman

Rock out of Australia, to me at least, seems simple and naive (and more than a bit derivative), in the best possible way.  This one brings me back to a carefree and irie time when I was Tokyo-drifting in a van at Uluru, drinking champagne from a dixie cup.
Headin' out ultra-early to look for early spring migrants with my Korean birding buddy.  I would have guessed we'd be heading to the southwest coast, but he wants to go northeast.  I hope he doesn't just want to look for late winter ducks and migrating waders at Hado, because everyone knows that rare passerines are way sexier.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A grubby wildcat

Found this beast hanging out, quietly waiting for birds where I usually do.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Wreck of the Man Sok

Hey!  I found a pen down here!

While I was fishing with my Brit bud last weekend, a ship (the Geum Sok) pulled into the harbor, heeled over, towing something.  We were like 'What's that red thing?', and soon figured out it was the hull of an inverted ship.  As they brought the ship in, we saw that it was a pretty big ship.  The busy little Koreans that had gathered on the dock got their backs into it and helped pull it in.  Two divers went down and attached rigging to the ship, and a crane slowly flipped it over.  It was entertaining.  The ship itself, the Man Sok, was the newest I've seen, with her sleek all-metal hull and embarrassing array of radar gear.  We couldn't see any damage to the hull, and I'm guessing that 'Titanic Syndrome' had something to do with the ship's sinking.  That or the typical Korean habit of doing everything quickly, cheaply, and half-assedly.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Malachai - Snowflake

Korea creates strange bedfellows.  Groups of foreigners here hang out that wouldn't necessarily be pals in the 'real world'.  My English ex told me this with a laugh when we first started dating, ages and effing ages ago : "I would never hang out with you back home."  Talk about starting things off well.  Also, talk about a back-handed compliment.  Actually, maybe that's not technically a back-handed compliment.
  Here's a better one, a back-handed invite.  A diminutive South Afican once said this to me: "Hey bru, can you come out on a double-date with me tonight?  I need a non-threatening wingman."  He was far too clever for me, I never picked up on that one.  Where is that lil guy now?  Oh yeah, no one gives a shit, because he was a little arsehole.  Zing!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Drunk Korean man relieving himself in public

...on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  I wish I could say that I didn't see this on a regular basis, but I can't.  I see it a few times a week.  The streets of Seogwipo look like the aftermath of the Incheon Landings most Saturday mornings, littered with immobile Korean men. Soju is a hell of a drug.  Stay classy!

Eurasian Curlew

Spotted this guy at Hwasun Beach.  First lifer of spring for me, super-cool.  I still need that Far Eastern Curlew that Cobain spotted without me last year.  I'll get it.  Hwasun Beach, by the way, has been thrashed by bullshit construction.  I'll rant about it soon.  I'm gonna bird every day of the week this spring.  Birdwatching is the new punk rock.

Surf-Dolphins of Bomok

That would be a great title for a sci-fi movie!  I've seen dolphins on the west coast a few times, but I spotted these guys just east of Soggy, near Bomok.  They were surfing, bru!  My Jeju surfing bud has seen plenty of dolphins on Jeju, but he's never seen them surfing.  It's meant to be good luck.
  I told my 514 homeslice the story of how I shit my snowpants when I was 5, and he laughed so hard, I thought we needed to call 119.  The story was that I'd eaten a frog-shaped pastry, which I suspect was filled with liquor, or was rotten.  So 20 minutes later, I'm all bundled up, watching my dad and his friends play street hockey in the schoolyard.  Suddenly, I shit my pants - super-runs.  Ashamed, I kept this terrible fact to myself all day, and suffered in silence.  My mom wasn't too impressed when she unzipped my snowpants, hours later.  I seem to remember that my legs and ass were pretty burned up.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Fishing in Containertown

I went fishing yesterday with a seasoned Brit fisherman.  His favorite spot is back behind my apartment, in a quiet corner of the harbor, deep within Containertown.  We got one bite all day, but that's not really the point.

Asleep at the wheel

Price check, aisle 3.
When I take scoot trips 'round the southwest coast of Jeju I usually stop for a break at a little souvenir/convenience store that overlooks the flat Moeulpo 'plain', from the base of Mt. Sanbangsan.  Nine times out of ten, the owner is sleeping soundly.  I always take what I want, guess what I owe, and leave my cash on the (unlocked!) cash box.  It's a good thing the honor system still thrives in small-town Korea.  Hardy har!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Built to Spill - You Were Right

Filthy wizards.
Never thought I'd be thinking of that westerly wind (that so often brings Chinese yellow dust to Korea) with fondness, but yeah, keep blowing.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Astonishingly billed as 'Well-being hot dogs'...
Hot dogs aren't generally super high on my list of appetizing foods to begin with (elbows, armpits, lips, assholes), but Korean hot dogs take things to a new low.  Covered in slime, corn, plastic cheese, and vague root vegetables.  Ah well.  Complaining is fun, and easy.
  Gotta start a profound clean-up of my little apartment/hovel.  There is an epic shitpile on my balcony that's taller than me, and I fear it.  I'm thinking there's a healthy slab of wet cardboard and spider eggs at the bottom.  I can see a rotting guitar case and clothes that don't fit me draped on top.
  Hey, Fargo is on tv again, sweet.  What the heck d'you mean?
  Surprising to some I'm sure, Parched March continues.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Monkey Show!

Monkey Show, people, it's a Monkey Show!  A Monkey Show!!
  My everything hurts, but that's ok.  Also, I'm untouchable, because I'm irie.  IRIE!  Teflon, muthafucka.
  Monkey show.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Water Oreum redux

Stairs are shit.
A boring soggy crater awaits.
Roe, some deer.
Take a breather, deer, you've earned it.

I seriously will marry Mt. Halla one day.
I hit the Mulyoungari Oreum about the same time last year.  There are no birds there.  And I hate stairs.  Saw a crew of fat and happy deer.  Also, a perfect day for a long and bendy scoot trip through the hills and down the coast.  My nose is sun red.  It was such a gorgeous day, hard to believe there's absolute misery going on in Jeju's backyard.  Go do shit you want to do, today.
  Once, when I was about 9, I puked in my mouth during a fire drill.  We were all lined up outside in the schoolyard, I guess watching the school pretend-burn, when my stomach did its flibbidy-flop.  I had eaten too many honey-wafer things.  Before I knew what the hell was going on, I puked a full puke, inside my mouth.  No one noticed.  The classes started filing back into the school, but my class was at the far end.  I planned on hanging back and getting rid of my foul hitchhiker nonchalantly with no one around.  The other classes were moving way too slow.  I couldn't hold it anymore, because it was fairly gross.  I casually turned my head and put my hand to my mouth, in the way one would when whispering to a friend, and projectile vomited out a jagged, honey-colored puddle about 6 feet away.  Wanna hear the insane thing?  No one noticed.  Actually, I think this one kid in the back noticed.  He looked at me with huge moon eyes as we went back in.
  Pat Moll factoid: I haven't eaten a muffin since August 2005.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Loves me them Halla Bongs

Rip that nub!
 Halla Bongs are iconic oranges grown on Jeju.  They're said to look like the tallest mountain in South Korea, Mt. Halla in the background there.  I guess they do.  With the nubbiness on top and all.  They're wicked delicious, too.
  Big quake and tsunami just hit next door.  Dramatic and scary stuff.  Hold onto something Jakey!  Man oh man.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Final bit of Seoul nonsensery

The Seoul 'skyline'.  Gross.
If Koreans could chop down mountains to make room for apartments, they would.
Korean Air is not doing too well since the budget airlines rolled in hot...

Looking for birds near the DMZ.
The streets in a place they call 'Hooker Hill'.  Note the shoe.
Crushing the red hordes.

Seogwipo tangerines...exotic.
Automated car shelves...FROM THE FUTURE!

Shoes all muffed up again.  Never again.
Hey fuckface!  Wake up.
Stairway to the infamous 'Hill'.