News and events

About me

Biography, background, press, and tidbits both musical and nonmusical

My musicals

Five shows I've written, including one that ran Off-Broadway in 2006 and one currently in development

The Chagall Suite

A commissioned 8-movement piano piece inspired by Marc Chagall's artworks, and a tribute to Chagall and Elvis


Hear my music on this site and buy my recordings

Musical direction

See my ideas regarding musical direction, see my resume, or let me coach you for auditions and give you accompaniment tracks to practice with

Transcription services

Send me a recording to create sheet music from, or have me transpose or arrange a song or instrumental work


Read accounts of my long-term trips and my experience on the Fosse tour

Mailing list

Subscribe to receive news and travelogues

Trip 37 — Jeju and Xiamen Walks

Jeju day 3: Hallim to Moseulpo
Thursday, 27 July 2023

Today: 46562 steps/36.07 km/22.41 mi/7h 9m
Total: 84013 steps/66.98 km/41.62 mi/12h 43m

According to Lisa See's book, Jeju is known for wind, stones, and women. The first of these was lacking yesterday, which is one reason the heat seemed so punishing. Today was blessed with a steady breeze, making the walk much more pleasant.

I also got a late start yesterday because I visited the computer museum. I have no regrets about showing off my ability to score 1950 at Space Invaders after not playing for a third of a century, but it meant that I was walking when the day was hottest.

Going to the museum also meant that I planned for a shorter distance yesterday than I might have. With more time, I might have carried on to Hallim proper, an attractive seaside town with a sprawling harbor and restaurants that were just opening when I passed through this morning. They were all so inviting that I nearly had lunch at ten. Maybe the first of two lunches. But better to walk before it got too hot, I decided.

Hallim was most alive at Hyeopjae Beach, where the shallow water let families with even the youngest children enjoy a swim. It looked possible to swim out to the offshore island of Biyangdo. This was one of those busy beaches with hundreds of lounge chairs and umbrellas. Hallim Park, known for its botanical garden and aviary, was nearby. I'd contemplated a visit, but I had a long walking day ahead and pressed on.

The coastal road merged with the highway and I followed it around Jeju's northwest coast. I then took a couple of side roads to the fishing village of Yongsu. At the shore, I found a marker indicating the start of route 13 of the Jeju Olle Trail.

The Jeju Olle Trail consists of 27 routes comprising 437 kilometers. Covering all of them wouldn't have been consistent with my perimeter walk, because they often head inland and take winding routes, and some of them are on smaller neighboring islands. But here I started to follow route 12 in reverse.

The trail was impeccably marked. Turns had large, distinctive arrows in blue or gold, depending on the direction of travel. Blue and gold (well, orange) ribbons were placed at intervals. When the trail ran along a road, markings were painted on the roadway. Steep sections had steps, and ropes or fences protected against falls from cliffs. I'd seldom seen such a well-maintained trail, and I walked only about a fiftieth of it, accompanied by thousands of large dragonflies.

I stopped for soup of sea urchin and seaweed in Gosan and then proceeded along the rocky coast, following the trail. The black rocks were the result of volcanic activity, and the winds caused much erosion, sometimes creating small pools. These were good for swimming and for the collection of small fish and mollusks carried there by the strong tides.

The wind was steady, and the sky was usually overcast, making for pleasant enough walking. I wouldn't have minded air that was a few degrees cooler, however. I admired the layers of rock caused by the erosion. I also inspected a couple of entrances to a tunnel system used by the Japanese during World War II for storage, hiding out, and eventually preparation for their escape upon the arrival of the Americans.

The trail came within a stone's throw of the coastal road and then veered up toward the summit and observatory of Suwolbong. Taking the road would have shaved some time off today's walk, but the coast and the peak beckoned. I huffed my way up the incline, which was fine for walking or driving but not for biking; all but the hardiest riders had to dismount.

I saw a gate next to the observatory and thought I might have to backtrack, but the trusty Jeju Olle Trail didn't let me down. First I saw the ribbon, and then I saw the arrows marking a descent through farmland, a tranquil grassy path. So I suppose the trail did let me down, after all. Upon reaching the coastal road, the trail headed inland, but I continued south along the road.

A biker about 20 years old approached from behind and stopped me. "Please, may I have some of your water?" he asked.

Earlier, I had bought a two-liter bottle, chugged half, and dispensed the rest into empty half-liter bottles that were visible in the pockets of my backpack.

"Of course," I said. I would have given him one of the bottles outright, but he had his own bottle. so I poured most of the contents of one of mine into his.

"Thank you," he said. "My uncle is going too fast."

We exchanged a few more words and he continued riding. I was going slowly, around 12 minutes per kilometer, but I was in no hurry. I'd be spending the night in Moseulpo, and there would be plenty of restaurants nearby.

To my left was farmland. To my right was a long beach of black rocks. Women and their children dug for seafood and collected seaweed.

A convenience store appeared on the left, a branch of the chain called Nice to CU. They're as abundant as 7-Elevens. I still had some water and contemplated replenishing what I had given to the biker, but I had been stopping a lot, and with only an hour or so left before Moseulpo, I just wanted to get there.

When I had passed the convenience store, the biker approached me again from behind. He had stopped at the store with his uncle and perhaps his brother.

"I wanted to give you this," he said, offering a small package. "It's cow...." He tried to find the word.

"Beef jerky," I said. "That's very kind of you. I'll take just one piece."

"No, take it all," he said. "I have a lot. And you helped me before."

"I was happy to help. But thank you very much," I said, taking the pouch.

He went back to his companions. Maybe 15 minutes later they all passed me again, on their bikes.

"Bye-bye," they said.

"Have a good journey," I answered. "See you next time." I somewhat hoped they were also staying in Moseulpo and I'd run into them at dinner. They seemed friendly.

Just outside Moseulpo, I could have taken the last stretch straightforwardly along the highway when the coastal road ended, but instead I wound my way through the farms of Ilgwa village. I smelled the cows before I saw them. Garlic was being dried on mats outside. A couple was washing their laundry in a small pond.

I reached my hotel, checked in, lay down, and fell asleep immediately. It was about 6:00.

I woke up an hour later, freezing. The air conditioning hadn't seemed that strong; I had tried to make it cooler, but 18 degrees Celsius was as low as it would go. Why was I so cold? I never take the time to wind down after a long walk. I had been going pretty slowly anyway. But maybe the heat, even tempered by the wind and clouds, resulted in a big drop in my body temperature when I stopped walking and got into bed.

I pulled the covers over myself and slept another hour and a half.

This proved to be a most fortunate mistake. There were maybe a dozen restaurants along the harbor, many advertising a 10:00 closing time, but they all took last orders at 8:30 — ten minutes before I arrived. I approached each of them one by one and was met with an "X" made by the arms: closed!

I wasn't sure which restaurant I wanted anyway. They were all seafood places, and I should have just been able to pick one, but they each specialized in a different thing. One was for mackerel. Another was for yellowtail. What I really wanted was seafood, the kind collected by haenyeo, or perhaps rockfish, cutlassfish, or fish stew. But those seemed hard to find, and those places that served them did so for parties of two or more.

I rounded the harbor and found one restaurant signed as open until 11:30. There were no other customers, but the person in charge welcomed me in.

"Our menu is a lot for one person," he said.

"That's OK. I'm hungry."

There were a few side dishes that could have been combined into a meal, but I went for the house special anyway, table-steamed seafood.

He placed a square vat of broth on the grill at my table. It looked to contain vegetables. "Soup. For later."

He soon returned with an equally large vat heaping with fresh raw seafood: octopus, red silk scallops, pen shells (a kind of clam bigger than my hand), and an abalone, plus pumpkin slices, king oyster mushrooms, fish-cake sausages, pieces of beef belly, and vegetable dumplings. He covered everything and turned on the fire.

"Ten minutes," he said.

"I can wait."

He brought out dishes of tofu, cabbage, and anchovies to get me started, plus a mug of beer so frosty I couldn't see into it. He also provided red hot sauce, ponzu sauce, and sweet chili sauce, a ramekin of each and bottles to refill them.

This was exactly what I wanted. When the food was ready, he lifted the lid, and the steam vanished to reveal a pan of perfectly cooked seafood. As I worked through it, I discovered even more, hiding under the pen shells: clams and white whelks.

Everything was wonderful, but the silk scallops were the best of the lot: tender and not at all chewy. And the foot of the abalone, removed from its glistening shell: rich and darkly flavored, and crumbling smoothly in my mouth.

Other customers arrived: first, two of the staff from one of the restaurants that had denied me entry. We saw each other and laughed. Well, if they were here, this must be a good place.

Then a couple came with what appeared to be a two-year-old child. The child wasn't happy to be there, but the parents took turns eating and bringing the kid outside.

They all finished their meals and I was once again the only patron. I finally finished the last piece of seafood and felt triumphant at the accomplishment.

Then the server removed the upper pan to reveal the soup. I thought I might have a bowl of it, but by now it had mussels and little clams. When had those gotten added? Wasn't it just a broth an hour earlier? And he added wheat dumplings, noodles, and strips of fish cake. This soup alone could have been dinner for two people, and I had just eaten dinner for two people.

I had a reasonable portion of it. "I surrender," I said when he turned around.

"Do you want to take it home?"

"No, thank you. I have no place to put it." I hoped that the rest would be discarded in such a way that it could be eaten by the harbor's stray cats. I don't like wasting animal products, and I usually order and eat so as not to. But the sudden appearance of mussels and clams, apparently created from within the broth as some kind of spontaneous generation, threw me for a loop.

I was glad that it was only a short waddle back to my hotel.

Go on to Jeju day 4