Tuesday, October 20, 2009


PumpkinHead and Squidy Welcome you the Mysterious Island Ulleungdo!

Despite the fact that leaving the island is a dicey proposition, Ulleungdo may be my favorite of all the places I've been to in Korea. It's hard to get to, harder to leave and lacking in cuisine, but it's definitely got it's fair share of scenery. And squid.

The weather was nice. There was lots of hiking. I skipped out on a couple days of work. I didn't have to pay for anything (thanks prof K and university). Getting stuck an extra day just resulted in more sightseeing w/o missing any more work, which would have undoubtedly resulted in an unpleasant encounter w/ HR.

There are only like 10,000 people on the whole island and apparently 90% of what they do is directly involved with squid. It's really pretty ridiculous. Everywhere you go, squid are hanging around drying. Along the harbor? sure. In front of shops? why not? The gas station? yeah, throw some squid over there. On your porch? yeah, God forbid we not be able to see squid carcasses from any vantage.

Not enough squid? Don't worry, it keeps going.

I usually like squid. Sashimi, bulgogi, all good. But dried squid is where I draw the line. It smells like a dead sea creature and has the consistency of a dog toy. Other than that, though, I can totally see why this island is dedicated to the desiccation of squid. Or cuttlefish, I'm not 100% on the difference and don't feel like typing things into google.

Still not convinced that it's worth a 1.5 hours on train, 3 on a bus and 3 more on a ferry to get to there? Well, there's also an inexplicable monorail, quite a few lighthouses, incredibly blue water, and (as the tourist brochure points out) lots of stone. You can also take another 3 hour ferry to see Dokdo. And if you're really lucky, you might get to ride some awesome farm equipment (I'll post the video once I get a hold of it).


  1. So that squid you are gnawing on there is actually delicious? I am not convinced. Guess I will have to visit and see for myself...

  2. I think cuttlefish glow.. and have much shorter legs. We watched a neat documentary on them on PBS. Who knew there was such a great demand for dried squid?