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[HanCinema's Korea Diaries] "Andeok" April 28th-30th

2016/05/13 | Permalink

Having left Gangjeong I decided to travel to Andeok, in the mid southwestern portion of Jeju Island. In addition to being fairly close to Gangjeong, Andeok is the home of the Museum of Sex and Health. Not the kind of location I normally frequent, but someone I know expressed an interest, so away I went. Rather than go by bus, like a sensible person, I attempted to climb through a mountain until finding something that resembled a trail, as usual ending up at a random Buddhist temple. This one is called Daeheungsa (대흥사), and it looked prettier than usual because of Buddha's upcoming birthday. That's today, Korean time anyway.

...Anyway, the sex museum. You know, the name explains pretty much all you need to know really. With branding like that it's easy to see how they can charge such a high entrance fee (roughly ten dollars). Although you don't need that much to just wander around the outside park with nude sexy sculptures galore. I find it funny how you have to get to the actual museum doors before any age restrictions pop up. Evidently the copulating angels at the opening gate don't count as sufficiently titillating.

The museum as a whole is not very photogenic because there's glass and reflective surfaces everywhere except in this second floor room, which I initially mistook for a gift shop The second floor in general, with its more "artistic" displays, is well documented in English. The more educational first floor is Korean only. That much is a shame because there's all sorts of information that's useful to know for people of all nationalities. The wall of sex myths, for example, is filled with the kinds of urban legends that pop up just about everywhere. Although I do have to admit, I'd never heard the one about small-breasted woman being insufficiently endowed to feed babies before.

That kind of irony is par for the course, though. Koreans, especially ones inclined toward Western thinking, often develop an inferiority complex wherein they assume that we Westerners are much more wise in matters of amor than we actually are. That's why there's so little English language information on the first floor- we're supposed to already know all of this stuff. Although it might also just be a low priority for funding. Most of the sexuality statistics are ten years old. There's little significant need to update the more general information, though, because good liberal ideas about sexuality don't change that much, even as research presents increasingly counter-intuitive results about what more sexually "enlightened" people actually do in their personal lives.

...But let's instead discuss something for which I have some actual relevant experience- guest houses! While guest houses are relatively rare on the Korean mainland, they're all over the place in Jeju. Pretty much every random hamlet has at least one, although procuring a bed at the last minute may prove difficult. Expect twenty dollars as a standard rate, with lower prices available if you offer to stay for a longer period of time or pay in cash. Tipping is not a social custom in Korea, but if you want to express gratitude, vendors always prefer cash because they don't have to process service fees for using a card.

The particular guest house featured in the above picture is the 쉼표게스트하우스 by the Andeok beach, which translates as rest ticket guest house I think? Its main distinguishing feature from the other guest houses I've been to is the option of joining in on a nightly party. Which is really the owner takes ten bucks from everyone and orders food for the common room. Also he upgraded me from a dormitory to the unused couple room for no apparent reason after I'd already negotiated a discount. Maybe it was the promise of staying extra days? In any case, just search "게스트 하우스" on Daum or Naver maps to check out possible options.

Article by William Schwartz

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