Sunday, November 19, 2006

Jeju Tangerines

This past week was the mid-term break at KIS and I spent four oh-so-relaxing days attempting a return to human (vs. cog-in-a-machine) form down "home" on the island. We are now just about at the peak of tangerine (감귤) season when countless thousands of crates of the honey-sweet, tangy orbs are being harvested from groves up and down the slopes of the grand lady, Mount Halla (nothin' makes me wax poetical like good ole Jayjoo-doh).

Yes, there are three main pillars of the economy on Jeju: tangerines (and an ever-diversifying range of citrus), fishing and tourism. Yesterday, a great friend of many years (Robert) offered to lend me his Honda Shadow motorbike for a tour in the warm mid-November sunshine - an offer I gratefully accepted. It was a truly glorious day for a ride and I was having a lovely time of it until mechanical issues ensued:-) So- I was forced to stop alongside the road at a tangerine orchard where an "ah-joom-mah" (auntie) phoned a bike shop for me. As we waited, we shared some Vitamin C and chatted about the evils of the now-in-negociation Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. I tried to argue the point (one I sincerely believe in, by the way) that Jeju citrus could go head-to-head with anything the states produces and win hands-down. She was not convinced. I expect to see her on TV throwing Molatov cocktails at the next anti-FTA demonstration. Power to the people, ajuma, power to the people.

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