May 13, 2010

Kimchi Chocolate

After the usual struggle with the usual suspects that is breakfast, we set foot for Jeju, an autonomous region of South Korea. It's home for citrus fruits of all shapes and sizes, so there's bound to be a lot of chocolate there as well.

Dami, our tour guide, would take us to Jeju's museum, which explains the geography of the island and how it was formed with volcano ash (although today the volcano is inactive). Pictures of the thing painted beautiful vistas with vividly colored flowers and greenery. It seemed so surreal because it just seemed fit for a movie set or something.

Then again, Jeju is really a location for Korean shows and movies.

Statistically, Jeju's women outnumber men, and the island is also famous for that. Their culture pretty much depicts women as being independent and empowered, but before you grin about the early age feminism, the old ages still had women doing all that only because they almost worshipped men, who were a rarity. Most of them would die during fishing trips, so widows who had no intention of re-marrying tried supporting their child through diving ala Muro-Ami. But wives who still have their husbands with them would treat them like kings and would ne'er let him lift a single finger. If the man did all the work in the island, then it would mean he wanted a divorce.

Blabbering aside, we went for a brief romp around a certain rock, called the "Dragon Head Rock". Frankly, as awesome as it sounded I didn't see the resemblance. Legend had it that a Sun God shot an arrow to the dragon because the dragon stole something. It fell and only its head remained, eventually to be covered by Jeju's now inactive volcano. But really now, it's just a giant rock. And I can't even bring myself to say "OH MY GOD A GIANT ROCK" as it wasn't really that big to begin with.

Afterwards, we went to the last destination: a souvenir shop. Much food was bought in the form of orange flavored chocolates, as well as cactus flower and chili flavored ones. Surprisingly, there's also a Kimchi flavor which gives a spicy sensation after the chocolate melts in your mouth. When I tried this, it kind of took me by surprise. I know it shouldn't be surprising to feel a burning sensation in your throat when you eat kimchi, but the chocolate fools you by tasting like plain ol' chocolate, then ambushes your throat by giving it a taste of hell.

Hmm, "a little taste of hell in your throat". I like that.

Sadly, the souvenir shop wasn't selling Starcraft, nor did our lunch didn't involve Korean food as we had to re-embark. We went past the extremely lax Customs department and went back the ship. Obviously, 'unsatisfactory' was a word that was fit to describe a 4 hour tour of this part of Korea.

Surprisingly, you don't even need a Korean visa to enter the island as the autonomous government's travel regulations make the area very open to tourism.

That night the ship's crew were in celebration because it was our final night in there, and all the waiters, cleaners, et al. were called upon so they could be given a well-deserved round of applause. Heck, the show even consisted of a showcase of talents of the crew, with dances ranging from Indian to South American to potentially offensive gags.

What I mean by that is one part of the program where two Italian men "play with" women as if they were instruments so they could form a "Lady Orchestra". This involved a lot of touching and groping around with lady parts and it wasn't too pleasant to look at, and I can certainly see a bit of outrage with this, not only because of the fact that they're men touching females and "strumming" their delicates, but because these men are Italian and they're almost harrassing two Chinese women. On a boat that caters to a lot of Chinese people, this could pose a bit of a problem.

But I guess it was taken in stride because there were some people in the audience laughing.

Also getting laughs was a little number by a lipsynching Italian who was basically making fun of himself. Switches between opera, Michael Jackson and testiclular visual jokes made his act quite the standout.

A few more dancing and singing and the show was over. I thought it was leaving time, but the host hasn't called out "Ciao!" so there must be something up their collective sleeve.

A familiar tune blared out the radio, and the crew started shouting "Party Time"!

It was "YMCA", those evil bastards!

As you would expect, everyone, even the Chinese, ended up partying to the song that never dies, hell, not even Ms. Espino could hold her restraint for long, as she, in her own limited fashion, danced the YMCA herself. My father has proof of this in video.

It was then 9:00 Japan time. We were hungry. There was lamb, lasagna, fish, veggies, and by special order, crispy pata and adobo. Yes, the chef is a Filipino too.

Still, I felt like I ate too much. By the time I saw dessert I nearly had myself puking. Guilty of the way they dispose of the food however, I still managed to chomp down the ice cream which had rum in it. Rum? Oh my...

And then the lights dimmed. Lanterns were lit and the waiters were lining up the hallways with weird-looking cakes. The Chinese announcer then explained that in celebration of our last night, we would be served a special surprise cake. My, my, I felt like wanting to pay for liposuction. The treadmill calories made its way back to me in a matter of seconds.

God. Damn.

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