One of the many Tulhanbang's around the island- or Huddlerubangs as we call them. Sort of looks like Huddle I think!!
JT's Korean Journey - Part 1I have traveled through the dateline and reached Seoul safe and sound. Met Graeme Hannon, in from Sydney, who is with the race organization. After going through customs in the airport we traveled on to the island of Jeju without a hitch.
The Lotte Hotel where I am staying is absolutely beautiful, grandiose in fact.Marble floors, dragon entryway, fountains,waterfalls, windmills, view of the ocean (where the Ironman swim is by the way), topped off with light shows over the water and fire displays roaring from dragons perched in the waterfalls.
The hotel staff will do anything to try and help you including trying to understand what is being said to them. English as a second language isn't abundant here!One unprepared triathlete was in the lobby asking the concierge where he could get shaving cream.With a huge smile and emphatic shaking of her head, the women disappeared, only to return from the restaurant with a large bowl of ice cream! Sweet.
I took a trip down to the swim start to check it out after getting my stuff all schlepped up to my room, which is about a mile from the hotel lobby. However it has a beautiful view and is quite nice! The water temp is just fine - a bit warmer then the California swim course, and a lot more open space. With only 700 starters it should make for a much kinder swim. The climb out to the transition area does resemble scaling a cliff however!
On my way back I came upon a Tulharubang, a stone statue, of a sort of goofy looking man holding his stomach - it is the symbol of Jeju Island. They are everywhere and have been unofficially renamed Huddlerubangs. Makes me feel as is if I have a connection to home.
The weather is quite mild, in fact a lot like our San Diego weather right now,with a bit more humidity. If it stays this way race day will be an elemental success!
I have found it to be a much more peaceful place than one would anticipate considering the discord that has gone on here in recent years. So far the trek has been worth it.
The pro news update so far, is that Ironman Malaysia winner Bryan Rhodes, from New Zealand is racing. Local San Diego pro Kelly Rees who was listed to start has been a no show to this point.
Bye for now!