Jeju photos

Where the Lava Flowed: Manjanggul Cave

Ever since I found myself belly-worming through an increasingly dark and unexpectedly narrow crevice in a cave in Vang Vieng, Laos, a few years back, I’ve been sketchy about spelunking.  Something about the cold, damp walls pressing in on both shoulders and the inability of the local boys guiding us to clarify how far the exit was gripped me with my first-ever claustrophobic pang.  Probably the worst thing you can think of during a moment like that is the possibility of an earthquake, but that of course is what crossed my mind.

“Dude,” I remember saying to my friend Melissa, who was edging her way forward on the ground behind me, “I don’t like this anymore.”

“Me neither,” she said.  “Keep going.”


The Pacific, a Book, and So Much Blue

After the falls,

the beach.

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Waterfalls for Melissa

The winter I was 21 I backpacked through Southeast Asia for two months with three other girls, my old Pentax K1000, and a second-hand guitar.  We landed in Malaysia, wove north through Thailand, and after boating down the Mekong River to a town called Champasak, parted ways in Southern Laos, from which I ventured to Vietnam alone.  Two weeks later we met back up at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and flew to Melbourne. 

The trip remains one of the larger landmarks in my life, shooting up out of the memory plains like a mountain.  Leaving Vietnam I wished more than anything I could stay on and go through to Cambodia.  But the money had dwindled to very little, our two months was up, and my passport held a work visa for Australia.  Time, as it continues to do, required that change occur.


Jeju Morning: Volcano Crater and a Country Stroll

Rarely do I rise before 10 a.m. 

But the guidebook said Jeju’s ‘Ilchulbong’–a volcanic crater on the East Coast in a town called Seongsan–was the first place on the island to spot the “orange fires of dawn.”  A sunrise sounded good.  Really good.  So after the Busan plane touched down on a Saturday afternoon, I caught a bus from Jeju-city that rolled along the North coast for an hour or so, checked into a minbak, and wandered out to find dinner–with a crater view, of course.

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It was just a light snack.

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