Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jeju: Loveland (not safe for work)

Jeju is an island south of the Korean peninsula sometimes called the Hawaii of Korea.  Both islands are shield volcanoes (Jeju is dormant) with economies based on tourism and exporting fruits (mostly tangerines and oranges in the case of Jeju).  Jeju has always been sort of independent from mainland Korea.  Locals speak a unique dialect and have historically had a somewhat different culture.

Jeju was on my list of places to see before leaving Korea behind.  It's conveniently only an hour by plane from Seoul, so I flew over and spent 3 days doing the tourist thing.  My first endeavor was a visit to Loveland, an erotic sculpture park outside Jeju City and the most infamous tourist trap in all Korea. 

Funny story:  Loveland is literally right next to the official, classy Jeju Museum of Art.  I took in Loveland first and browsed the Museum of Art afterward.  There's no bus stop to get back to the city and Loveland is the more popular attraction, so I needed a taxi and they were all waiting in Loveland's parking lot.  On my way to the gaggle of cabbies I was hailed from behind in English by a well-dressed young Korean man who turned out to be a Jehovah's Witness who hangs around outside this local monument of sinful prurience and struggles to press copies of the Watchtower into the hirsute, sweaty palms of debauched foreign tourists.

My frolic through Loveland is obviously a story best told in pictures.  Here some of them are, but a warning first:  this is definitely not safe for work and if you find erotic statuary distasteful these definitely are not the pictures for you.

A postcard of lovely Jeju Island.

Washing your hands here only makes them dirtier.


One of Loveland's great joys is puerile tourist photography.

It's not a subtle place.

That serious-looking building in the background (behind the giant penis fountain) is the Jeju Museum of Art.

Aww, that's sweet.

Now here's a urinating dog.

The satyr is Greek, yes, but this isn't what is meant by "Greek love."

Ah, now I understand.

Thomas Jefferson was a lover with a flair for drama.

Don't blame me.  I just observe and report.

Come here, little man!

Loveland's portrayal of ajumma sexuality is harrowing.

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