News: Leisure: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Story by Spc. Sara Wiseman
JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Some Soldiers stash their leave for a big trip home to see family and friends, hometowns and old haunts. Others use it to explore new places. 1st Sgt. Willie Vines, hailing from Dallas, gets the best of both worlds.
He and his wife, Theresa took advantage of the warming weather and spent part of their 20th anniversary exploring Jeju Island, South Korea, a 200-mile trip south of Busan, known for its giant dormant volcano Mt. Hallasan, and the mermaids of Jeju Island, or Haenyeo.
Jeju is also well known for attractions like the Trick Museum, a landscape of mind-boggling arts of perspective and mirror tricks; floating at the dinner table, sitting in the scene of a Van Gogh, characters escaping their paintings, and a field of monster-size ladybugs.
“We were sitting in the jaws of hippos and I carried Theresa on my back across this painting on the ground that looked like a drop that goes straight down,” said Vines. She brings out the kid in me.
In addition to the island's bustling surface, the subterranean lava trails and caves provide visitors the chance to flashback and see stalactites and stalagmites that date back to the Paleolithic era, and underwater, the Haenyeo dive for exotic seafood.
“There are really a lot of good things to do in Korea if you just go out and find them,” said Vines. “A lot of people get stuck going out to the Ville and think that's all there is here.”