Archive for August, 2012

Chungju Hummel v Changwon City, Saturday 4th August 2012, 7pm

August 16, 2012

This was my second attempt to see a Chungju Hummel home game. I’d turned up for their fixture with Yongin City two years ago and despite the grass being cut, the nets being up and a large banner outside the ground advertising the match, it had been moved at the last minute to someone‘s back garden on the outskirts of the town.

That sort of thing is fairly common in Korean football, particularly in the lower divisions. All you can do is check as many sources as possible and hope it works out. If it doesn’t, so be it. Jen and I had quite ambitious plans for the weekend, including hiking in the nearby Sobaeksan National Park, but it’s usually better if we see the game as well rather than stare through the gates of an empty stadium.

The intention was to use Danyang as a base, visit the Gosu Caves on the Saturday and then hike the following day, after nipping in and out of Chungju for the match via the ferry that chugs up and down the lake between the two towns. Easy really.

At eight o’clock on Saturday morning we caught the bus from Dong Seoul to Danyang. It took a bit longer than it should have done, but it’s the holiday season and that’s how it works. Three hours later we were in Danyang and wandering around looking for a hotel.

It was ridiculously hot and after deciding  that I’d better buy myself a hat to try to cut down the chances of getting sunstroke we headed into an indoor market. Whilst most of the stalls sold the usual mix of tat, tat and more tat, one aisle sold nothing but garlic. I could probably describe it more thoroughly, but that’s what photos are for.

Garlic Street.

We found a barber’s shop that sold hats, which I suppose doesn‘t reflect all that well on their confidence in their haircutting abilities. Still, I was due a trim and so we went in. There was nobody around and just as it looked like I’d have to leave without a haircut or a hat, a woman came scurrying up from a shop a few doors along.

Sometimes I think it’s useful that I can‘t understand Korean and that was probably the case on this occasion. Jen told me afterwards that it wasn‘t the woman’s shop but after a brief shouted conversation with someone further along the street, she had volunteered to cut my hair anyway. Wonderful.

I knew none of this as I settled into the chair and after I’d mimed having my head shaved, she got to work. Usually I’ll be asked which guard should go on the clippers and I’ll generally go for the 3mm one. This time though, the fake barberess just got stuck straight in with the unguarded clippers. Once you’ve got that first strip of baldness then you just have to go with it. I bought a hat on the way out, as I imagine most of her customers do.

Afterwards she washed and polished my head.

We eventually found a hotel that didn‘t mind us checking in at lunchtime, but abandoned our plan to visit the Gosu caves as it was just too hot to be walking around. We did visit them the next day and they were crap. Nowhere near as cold as you want caves to be in the summer and despite going early in the morning we slowly shuffled along in lines like people filing past the Queen Mother’s coffin.

Gosu Caves

The next part of the plan was to get the ferry to Chungju and it sort of went ok. We spent twenty minutes in a taxi getting to the ferry terminal and then just before we arrived we spotted a road sign stating that Chungju was a further 52km away. It had only been about an inch on the map. A map that I now recognise as having a scale of about 70km to the inch.

Someone else’s boat.

The boat trip was worth doing though despite us being behind glass. It took an hour and twenty minutes to get to Chungju and we passed through some spectacular scenery. I think most of the people on the boat had probably arrived at the ferry terminal in their own cars and were doing a round trip that didn’t necessarily involve visiting either Danyang or Chungju.

Some passengers caught up on their sleep.

On arrival at Chungju Ferry Terminal we shared a taxi into town with an elderly Korean couple. The meter fare came to 16,000 won and the robber of a taxi driver took 13,000 won from both them and us.

Chungju Ferry Terminal

All of the changes to the plans meant that we arrived at the stadium a couple of hours before kick-off. No problem, we had a couple of bottles of wine with us and there is a park next door to Chungju’s ground that I’d drank in last time I’d been there. Or at least I’d thought it was a park. Jen helpfully pointed out that it was actually a school for ten to fourteen year old girls and maybe not the best place to sit slugging back cabernet sauvignon.  You’ve got to be somewhere though and with it having benches it was worth the risk of arrest.

As kick-off approached we headed into the stadium. Chungju were wearing Jeonbuk strips and Changwon were near enough AC Milan. The pretend Jeonbuk even had a number twenty, Lee Gon Hue, playing up front for them.

“Tonight Matthew, we are going to be Lee Dong Gook and Paulo Maldini”

There were about two hundred fans watching. There are nearly always two hundred fans. Perhaps it’s a National League rule. I saw some that might have been from Changwon but then again they might just have wandered in for a sit-down and a fag.

Some people at the match.

Changwon looked the better side early on but as we reached half-time it was still goalless. Jen went for more drink and some fried chicken and came back with a selection of things on sticks, most of which the local kids seemed happy to take off our hands.

They ate more than we did.

There was more good defending in the second half and the game finished goalless. As we were far too late for a return ferry journey or a bus, we took an hour long taxi ride back to our hotel in Danyang. On reflection, I think that if you are going to watch a game in Chungju then it’s probably best to stay slightly closer than seventy kilometres away.

LG Twins v Hanwha Eagles, Tuesday 31st July 2012, 6.30pm

August 14, 2012

I’m conscious that when I write about a baseball game at Jamsil these days there is very little new that I can say. In fact, when I googled one of the starting pitchers in this fixture it took me to my own blog and I discovered that I’d watched him three months earlier in a game at this stadium and between the two same teams. I’d even sat in the same area of the stand.

However, I like the idea of writing about every single sporting event that I’ve attended in Korea and even if the blog is getting more and more like Groundhog Day, so be it.

As usual, Jen and I got there at about seven o’clock and just like all the other times there was no need to rush. It wasn’t too busy outside and there wasn’t much of a queue at either of the ticket offices.

Sometimes it’s a bit more hectic.

There was a threat of rain in the air so we got tickets for Section 331, which is in the covered main stand and to the left of the plate. Hanwha had brought quite a few fans with them but there was still plenty of space around us.

Kim Hyuk Min was the starting pitcher for Hanwha. All that I can tell you about him I’m afraid is that he isn’t famous enough to have his own Wikipedia page.

Kim Hyuk Min – Hanwha Eagles

Kim Kwang Sam was chucking them down for LG. He doesn’t have a Wiki page either and a photo of him from this blog is about as much as a Google search turns up. He’ll have two photos now, bless him.

Kim Kwang Sam – LG Twins

Looking around the crowd, the highlight was probably the section in the outfield seats that was full of office workers on some sort of team-building outing. They enthusiastically cheered LG on and waved their inflatable sticks but when I zoomed in on their faces more than the odd one looked like they would rather be somewhere else. At home with their families would be my best guess, although if they had to spend the evening team-building then I suspect that most of the fellas would rather be in a room salon having a splash of Coke added to their eighteen year old Chivas Regal by a fawning girl not much older than their drink.

Hooray for LG and unpaid overtime.

As we tend to do these days, Jen and I didn’t bother with fried chicken but had our usual baseball picnic of some Spanish sheep cheese and chorizo with a baguette. In a rare addition to the menu we had some Wensleydale that I must have inadvertently dropped into my suitcase on my last trip to the UK. Once again, we washed it down with a couple of bottles of screw-top Merlot.

If we’d fancied a bit of a change we could have bought crisps or dried squid from one of the ladies who wanders around the crowd with a box of food on her head.

You won’t go hungry even if you don’t bring your own cheese.

And the game? Well, it didn’t really matter. Hanwha are bottom of the table with LG Twins one place above them and that’s where they’ll finish. By the time we left in the eighth it was three each. I stuck the telly on when we got home to see who won but it had already finished. I didn’t care enough to look online. The  teams will play each other again at Jamsil before long anyway, so I can watch it all another time.

Sangmu v Nexen Heroes, Sunday 29th July 2012, 11am

August 14, 2012

One of my grand plans for this season had been to get to a few games featuring the Futures League teams in baseball’s second tier. It’s worked out reasonably well so far with me seeing Samsung Lions at Gyeongsan Ball Park, Lotte Giants at their Sangdong complex, LG at Champions Park and the independent team, Goyang Wonders, at the National Team Training Stadium.

This time, it was the turn of the Army team (Sangmu) and their game with Nexen Heroes at the Sangmu Stadium within the Army base near Bokjeong.

In a rare lesson learned I checked the starting time in advance and, sure enough, it had been shifted forward from one o’clock to eleven o’clock. Jen had worked out where I needed to be on Google Maps and it all seemed very simple. I had to take the subway to Bokjeong station on the Bundang line, leave at either of exits one or two and walk along the road between the exits for a couple of hundred yards. At that point I just had to bear left and four hundred yards or so later I’d be there.

Did it work like that? Of course not. The first bit did, I suppose, and I was able to leave Bokjeong subway as planned but my attempt to walk two hundred yards in the direction I wanted was thwarted by a combination of roadworks and a construction site.

No problem, I thought. I’ll just do it the other way around and walk four hundred yards away from the station before turning right and doing the necessary two hundred yards that way. Well, that started off ok too, but I made the error of crossing one road too many and I ended up trapped behind a forty foot high wall shielding a dual carriage way. Once again I retraced my steps. It was beginning to feel like I was in one of those computer games where you walk down corridors, nothing happens and so you walk down even more corridors until eventually some pixie appears with a magic key or something.

After a couple more false dawns I’d just about walked along every route in the area that I could have done. Finally I found the base gate where rather than a pixie with a magic key I was confronted by a soldier with a gun.

“Halt, who goes there?”

The guard’s English was better than my Korean but I was still reduced to miming a particularly crap baseball swing. If he’d given me a scythe and put me on gardening duty I couldn’t really have complained. The realisation that I was there to watch second tier baseball gave him sufficient cause for concern to warrant the checking of my details on his database of people who need keeping an eye on.

Once I’d been classified as ‘Sad but harmless’ the guard was happy to exchange my Alien Registration Card for a military base pass and then direct me towards the baseball park.

My Licence to Kill. Or to watch baseball if I sat quietly.

As a result of my arseing about trying to find the place I’d missed the first fifteen minutes. Still, it’s better than turning up at 1pm for a game that’s already two hours old, as I’ve done twice so far this season. They were into the second innings and there was no score.

Sangmu Baseball Park.

I’ve no idea really if there were any stars turning out for the Army whilst undertaking their military service, nor if Nexen had any big names working their way back to fitness, I was happy just to sit there, wait for the big hits and eat cold pizza from the night before. There were probably about another thirty people watching and as usual most of them will have been friends or family of someone taking part.

The main (and only) stand.

The first score came in the sixth innings with a two run homer by a fella on the Army team. The ball landed in the nettles near me and I was able to point out the general area to a couple who were quite content to be stung in return for being able to retrieve it and take it home. Sangmu added a third run later in that innings but that was it and it finished up 3-0.

Proof that sometimes I don’t make it all up as I go along.

I traded my base pass for my Alien Registration Card on the way out and made my way home. As I’m a decent bloke and I’ve written less than I thought I would I’ll give you the directions that you need to get you there. 

You come out of exit one of Bokjeong station. Follow the road for a couple of hundred yards until you reach a petrol station. Turn right without crossing the road and keep walking. After another couple of hundred yards or so you can see a baseball park behind the razor wire. Keep on for a bit further and you’ll reach a manned security point. When challenged by the guard, mime chopping down some long grass and you’ll be fine.

Suwon City v Ansan H, Saturday 28th July 2012, 7pm

August 13, 2012

Suwon City against Ansan H was the second National League game of the day for Jen and I. The problem though, was getting there. We’d watched Yongin City take on Busan Transportation earlier in the afternoon and had an hour between the games to get from the Yongin Football Centre to Suwon’s Civil Stadium.

We’d arrived at the Yongin Football Centre by taxi but the downside to watching games out in the countryside at a venue surrounded by not much more than fields is that it’s not quite so easy to find a taxi when you want to leave.

We’d stood at the roadside for a few minutes without seeing a taxi when I decided that I might as well stick my thumb out and try to hitch us a ride. As a kid I used to do it all the time, hitching to Boro games, up and down to London, across to The Lakes and in the summer that I left school, around France.

`Vers Avranches, si vous plait’

Hitching had worked for me in Korea a couple of years ago when I’d been stuck at a National Park with a potentially lengthy wait for a bus back into town. On that occasion the first car to approach screeched to a halt and a Korean couple eagerly took the opportunity to practise their English on me.

It was a similar situation this time and a car stopped for us within a minute or two. The couple were elderly and and spoke little English but they very generously went out of their way to drop us at the Yongin Bus Terminal. They did suggest to us that if we were intending to make a habit of watching lower league football in remote locations then we might want to give some thought to buying a car. Fair point, I suppose.

With kick-off nearing we took a taxi rather than a bus from Yongin and half an hour later we were at Suwon Civil Stadium. Jen and I had turned up there for a game earlier in the season but the ground was still being refurbished at that time and we ended up watching Suwon City play their match in the Big Bird Stadium of their K-League neighbours instead.

The place certainly looked as if it had been smartened up. The seats were new and seemed larger than usual, the running track had been relaid and there was enough fresh paint about the place to suggest that a Royal visit was imminent.

I was pleased to see that the old floodlights had been kept.

In a nice touch a tower similar to those in the Suwon Fortress wall had been included behind the goal to our right. It looked completely pointless, which makes it even better in my eyes. I did wonder as to whether they had knocked one of the originals down to provide the building materials. Next time we visit I’ll try and have a closer look.

Just in case the Japanese decide to invade again.

There were probably about three hundred fans in the stadium, most of them in the main stand where Jen and I were sat, with maybe fifty or so Suwon fans singing behind the goal to our left. There were a lot of young girls amongst them and at times they seemed more like a baseball crowd than a football one.

Suwon City fans beneath the scoreboard.

Ansan had brought seven fans with them. Despite their low number they put the effort in and supplemented by two drums and one of those metal things that the Buddhists bang the seven of them kept the noise levels up.

“Give us an H”

Suwon were in their usual red and blue stripes with Ansan in yellow shirts and blue shorts. Imagine Crystal Palace playing Sweden and you wouldn’t be too far away. Every time the visitors put a cross into the box I was half expecting Henrik Larsson to get on the end of it.

Palace defend a Sweden attack.

It had still been nil-nil when we had arrived ten minutes into the first half. Suwon had most of the play but it was Ansan who had the ball in the net on the half hour. Unfortunately for them the linesman had his flag up for something or other and it didn’t count.

Ten minutes later Suwon opened the scoring with a diving header from Park Jong Chan. They doubled their lead in the second half when a shot from the edge of the box squirmed under the Ansan keeper’s body. A couple of Suwon fellas chased it over the line to make sure with Yoo Soo Hyun getting the credit for the goal.

Second half action with the floodlights on.

Whilst there were plenty of chances in the remainder of the second half there were no more goals and Suwon took the three points.

Yongin City v Busan Transportation, Saturday 28th July 2012, 4pm

August 12, 2012

Yongin is a hopeless place to get to if you live anywhere else in Korea but Yongin. Or at least the Yongin Football Centre is. There is some sort of folk village theme park in Yongin and it’s easy enough to get a bus straight to there from Seoul but their National League football team, Yongin City, play quite some distance out of town and it takes a lot more effort.

Jen and I took the 5000-1 bus from Gangnam, then changed to the 5005. The next step would have been to catch the 94-1 bus and then walk about half a mile through the countryside. When we got out of the second bus though, the chances of finding the third looked slim. We didn’t fancy standing in the blazing sunshine by the side of a road in the middle of nowhere and so flagged down a taxi instead.

Twenty minutes and fifteen thousand won later we arrived at Yongin Football Centre. There are five pitches in the complex and Yongin were taking on Busan Transportation on the one with the full length stand. It was late afternoon by this time and the only seats in the shade were in the back row. To make matters worse there wasn’t a single seat with an unobstructed view of the pitch.

The main problem was a VIP section in the centre of the stand that jutted further out than the sections either side of it. The view was then further reduced by the stand being so close to the touchline that you’d have to stand at the front railing and lean over if you wanted to see what was going on directly below.

View from the back row.

Busan were in an all-white Adidas kit that had the old school three stripe numbers. I’m of the age where I shouldn’t really notice things like that, never mind think how good it looks. Yongin were in all blue with much less noteworthy numbers on their backs.

Another view from the back row.

Fifteen minutes in and the heat was too much. We moved out of the sun and walked around behind the goal to sit in the shade near to the corner flag on the other side. A few people followed us, some sitting inside the fence, others peering through it. Whilst sitting on the shaded grass made the heat that much more bearable, we did have to put up with ants running over our feet and legs. You can’t have everything though.

Busan probably had more of the first half possession, they certainly had more of the territory and hit the bar just before the break. Mind you, Yongin went straight down the other end and should have scored themselves.

We watched the rest of the game from here.

At half-time it was still goalless and in addition to the ants we got a swarm of dragonflies. They were a couple of inches long and, if dragonflies do that sort of thing, could probably have given us a nasty bite. It’s possible that the dragonflies and the ants were attracted by my lunch of sausages left over from breakfast served with roasted vegetables left over from the day before. Four cans of Cass washed it down.

Much better than dried squid.

As the second half drifted on lanky striker Cha Chul Ho emerged as the main threat for Busan but they still couldn’t take their chances. There was a strange incident after an hour where it wasn’t clear whether the ref had booked Busan’s Park Seung Min. He had the yellow card in his hand but seemed to be daring the player to say one more word, after which he would no doubt have waved it with a flourish. To the disappointment of the crowd and the ref, the player stayed tight lipped and it looked like the card went back into the ref’s pocket unused.

Goalmouth action.

I estimated a peak of around a hundred fans, although by the end it was probably down to thirty. I didn’t notice any supporters from Busan although maybe the heat, ants and dragonflies were keeping them quiet. The official attendance was announced as one hundred and two and as I’d probably not counted Jen and myself in my estimate, perhaps I’d got it just about bang on for once.

Don’t know if these were players, fans, coaches or passers-by.

Fifteen minutes from time Lee Young Woong squeezed a header in at the back post for Busan to give them the lead. It was no more than they deserved although I’d had my doubts as to whether they would ever manage to make the breakthrough.

Lee Young Woong celebrates with his team mates.

In injury time Busan keeper Yeo Myung Yong pulled off a good save fron Yongin sub Kim Yeon Gun to ensure the three points for the visitors and keep them in a play-off position.

Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma v Jeonbuk Motors, Wednesday 25th July 2012, 7.30pm

August 7, 2012

Seongnam is the easiest K-League team for Jen and I to get to from Yeoksam and with their Tancheon Stadium being only a ten minute walk from Yatap subway we were there a good ten minutes before kick-off.

As the teams lined up for the National Anthem I noticed that Lee Dong Gook wasn’t starting despite having scored the winner against Gangwon three days earlier. He was on the bench though, his place having been taken by Jeong Seong Hoon. I’m not much of a fan of Mr. Jeong, to me he just seems like a fairly static target man with not much of a first touch. Still, with the K-League teams currently playing twice a week, I suppose you’ve got to make changes now and again.

All stand for the National Anthem.

We’d decided to sit in the East Stand mainly because it meant we didn’t have to walk as far to get into it as we would have if we’d chosen the larger West Stand opposite. It was busy by Seongnam standards with a few hundred people in it and we had to walk most of the length of it to find the quietest section.

View from the East Stand towards the Jeonbuk fans behind the goal.

Jeonbuk had a new right back that I hadn’t seen before, Ma Chul Jun. He hadn’t been getting a game at his previous club Jeju and had been brought in to replace Choi Chul Soon who has recently cleared off to do his military service. Ma looks a bit of a character. I can’t work out if he has an odd shaped head or whether it’s just a particularly dodgy haircut. Nevertheless, he made a good impression, both defensively and in getting forward to support the attack.

Ma Chul Soon chases back.

Jeonbuk had brought a couple of hundred fans with them, whilst Seongnam had their usual hardcore of thirty or so behind the goal to our right. They also had a couple of dozen fans over in the West Stand. These fellas had a few banners but didn’t seem to get too involved in the singing. When you’ve as few fans as Seongnam has it strikes me as a bit counter-productive to split them up.

The ‘other’ Seongnam fans.

Seongnam are in the bottom half of the table but managed to take the game to league leaders Jeonbuk. They carved out the better of the opening forty-five minutes but didn’t really give the veteran visiting keeper Choi Eun Seong anything overly strenuous to do.

The half-time entertainment consisted of about fifty people milling about and taking part in something that I couldn’t fathom. With Seongnam being owned by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church I was hoping we might be in for a mass Moonie wedding. If they did all manage to get married before the teams came back out again then they did it with a minimum of fuss and even less confetti.

Moonie Wedding.

After an hour Jeonbuk made the change that I’d been waiting for and replaced Jeong Big Spud with Lee Dong Gook. The ex-Middlesbrough man contributed more to the general play, but opponents Seongnam still looked the better side. In the absence of any goals to report I’ll pad this out with a photo of the sun going down.

I used a fancy setting on my camera.

Now normally I’ll raise the excitement levels by mentioning what I had for my tea. Not this time though. But I can let you know that the lads in front of us were eating dried squid. It wasn’t the usual rubbery stuff that you heat up on a portable gas stove and could re-sole your shoes with, it was more of a wafer. As they look nothing like squid I’m a little dubious about what goes into them and suspect that, as with sausages, it’s probably the eye lids, lips and hooves that form the basis of the ingredients.

Mmmm, reconstituted squid.

Seongnam couldn’t make their superiority count and the game finished goalless. Jeonbuk stayed top of the table whilst Seongnam continued to potter around below halfway.

Doosan Bears v LG Twins, Tuesday 24th July 2012, 6.30pm

August 6, 2012

It had been about seven weeks since I’d been to a game at Jamsil, so I thought I’d pop along to the ‘derby’ between the Bears and the Twins. There’s usually a decent crowd when these two rivals play each other and so Jen went down early to pick us up some tickets.

Too early as it happened. After a wasted hour spent queueing in the afternoon only for the ticket office to remain closed, she ended up returning half an hour before the start so that she could save us a couple of seats in the outfield. By the time I arrived half an hour into the game, it was apparent that Jen’s efforts had been for nothing as there were whole blocks of empty seats. Whilst there was a reasonable turnout from the ‘home’ team, Doosan, the Twins fans must have thought that their poor showing this season was enough of a reason not to turn up.

Plenty of space near us.

LG have been slipping further and further down the table lately and it’s just a question of whether they will finish seventh or last. Doosan though, were in fourth position and part of a close scrap for a play-off place.

It was still 0-0 when I arrived, with Radhames Liz pitching for LG. He’s played Major League for Baltimore Orioles and is in his second season with the Twins.

Radhames Liz pitching to Jung Soo Bin

The starter for Doosan was Im Tae Hoon. I don’t know too much about this fella other than he’s twenty three and he won a gold medal for Korea at the 2010 Asian games. Usually a medal at an event like that is sufficient to gain a waiver from Military Service, but in an eight team competition that included those baseball giants Thailand, Pakistan and Mongolia, avoiding almost two years of guard duty and marching up and down seems like a reward way out of line with the achievement.

Im Tae Hoon – Doosan Bears

Anyway, the poor attendance just meant that we had a bit more space to ourselves. We’d brought some leftover pasta and mushrooms in pesto sauce and followed that up with the usual Spanish sheep cheese and chorizo. I’d carefully decanted a couple of bottles of Merlot into an empty plastic litre and a half water bottle in the way that the wine experts recommend and we had a lazy couple of hours as darkness fell.

Doosan fans waving inflatable sticks

It was 5-2 to LG in the fifth by the time the wine had all gone and that, as usual, was our signal to clear off. When you don’t care which team wins you don’t need to stay until one of them does.

Someone celebrating something or other.

Mind you, we missed a fair bit of action. Doosan rattled home seven runs in their fifth innings and added another four by the end of the seventh. That was too many for LG to pull back and despite adding another six runs themselves, they went down by thirteen runs to eleven.

Jeju United v Chunnam Dragons, Saturday 21st July 2012, 7pm

August 2, 2012

Jen and I had turned up at Seogwipo World Cup Stadium last September only to discover that the match had been relocated to Jeju Civil Stadium, some forty kilometres down the road. Whilst it seemed a bit of an inconvenience at the time it did mean that we got to see a game somewhere that rarely hosts one these days and it gave us another reason to return to Jeju.

Ten months later we were on the early morning Air Busan flight from Gimpo. I suppose it probably qualifies as a budget airline with return fares of about eighty quid, but with allocated seats and complimentary drinks it doesn’t seem like one. The flight takes about an hour, but the airport is on the other side of the island so we had close on another hour in a taxi before we reached the start of Section Six of the Olle Trail at Soesokkak.

The fifteen kilometre or so section follows a mainly coastal route to Oedolgae, particularly in the early stages. I read afterwards that there is a sewage disposal plant not too far from the start, but we didn’t see or smell it.  There was a brief detour inland that I suspect was to stop scruffily dressed hikers from wandering across the front lawn of the posh-looking KAL Hotel. We passed a waterfall soon afterwards and then stopped for lunch on the wrong side of a barrier with a danger sign. We didn’t seem to be at much risk of falling into the sea, but there were a few dodgy looking bugs scurrying around at our feet.

Just us and the bugs.

A little later we stumbled across some targets and eventually realised that they were set up to allow tourists to shoot arrows across a bay. I know that Korea does pretty well at archery in competitions like the Olympics, but I felt that it was pushing it a bit to expect tourists to be able to hit a target a hundred metres or more away whilst contending with the coastal breezes. The Olle Trail path isn’t too far away from the targets and it wouldn’t surprise me if every now and again some hiker ends up having his eye out.

I doubt many arrows are used twice.

As we approached Seogwipo Harbour it didn’t look like we had far to go and, as the crow flies, we probably didn’t. What we hadn’t factored in though was the desire to ensure that the route passed every point of interest, restaurant and gift shop in town. At one point we detoured through a park for half an hour only to emerge thirty yards from where we’d gone in.  It did mean that we got to see some golf though as a Korean  LPGA Tour event was taking place in Seogwipo that weekend.

Michelle Wie drives off from the fourth tee.

After a final detour up a hill, Sammae-bong, for some views that weren’t worth the effort we finished up at Oedolgae and then took the much more direct two kilometre route back into town. There are plenty of places to stay around the harbour and we checked into the Milano hotel. It came complete with a sea-view, decent air conditioning and half a dozen mosquitos.

The football wasn’t due to kick-off until seven o’clock and so after taking a taxi to the stadium we had time to get something to eat. For those of you that take an interest in my diet, we had something called Jjimdak. It’s made up of lumps of chicken and potato in a spicy sauce. There was some other stuff in there too, carrots, onions and peppers probably. I took a photo of it but by that stage we’d already eaten a lot of the good bits. We were also given a couple of complimentary fried eggs and some fake Pringles.

There was more potato in it five minutes earlier.

I like the design of the Jeju World Cup Stadium. It only has a roof on one side, but it curls around and is apparently based upon a seashell. I think as interesting designs go, it isn’t quite as good as the Big Bird Stadium at Suwon, but it runs it close.

I took this one last year.

We bought eight thousand won tickets for the east stand, although it looked as if you could use them for the north and south stands too if you wanted.  There were a few hundred Jeju fans to our right and ten Chunnam fans behind the opposite goal. Most people watched, like us, from the east stand.

Jeju were in orange, whilst Chunnam dressed up as Newcastle. That was sufficient to get me rooting for the home side, although taking the generous odds of 8/13 against a Jeju win had already given me an allegiance for the evening.

I was disappointed to see veteran keeper Lee Won Jae had been dropped to the bench for Chunnam, possibly because they had conceded a lot of goals lately. His young replacement seemed quite nervous, although  the way his defence played in front of him it was easy to see why.

Random action shot.

By half-time Jeju were four goals up and it was all over as a contest. Chunnam tried to make a game of the second half and created some decent chances, but Jeju were never really under pressure. Seo Dong Hyeon added another two goals for the home side to give himself a hat-trick and Jeju a 6-0 victory.

Seo Dong Hyeon makes it six.

The win didn’t alter the league tables with Jeju remaining in fifth position and Chunnam in eleventh Whilst I doubt that Jeju will be challenging for the title, it wouldn’t surprise me if Chunnam were to be relegated.