Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Busan, where I was allowed to wear sunglasses

Hey all, sorry this is a little late, it's been a hectic couple of days! 

I'm so sorry this has taken so long, I've been busy with unpacking from my trip and helping Hae In decorate her new homeroom at school, which has thankfully saved me from being completely bored while deskwarming (though, to be fair, deskwarming for me means I get to sit at my desk and watch TV and FB message my friends all day. I promise I have a real job, I swear!)

Anywho, we got up early and headed to the train station on Wednesday morning, where an ahjumma decided to circle us like a vulture and stare at us. Like this: O.O 

She even ended up across the aisle from us on the train. By chance or by choice, I'll never know. Busan is 5 hours from Seoul on the slow train, but thankfully she got off after like an hour. 

We got to Busan and headed to our hostel

the hostel had a cat. SO HAPPY
Then we decided to explore the area, which was close to Haeundae Beach, one of Korea's most popular beaches

They know how to decorate

eels. Males should eat them for their virility. Apparently.

low tourist season = space to walk in the markets!
Busan is on the south coast of Korea, so their markets are predominantly fish markets.

So yeah, there's that

This is approximately the second drive thru
I have seen in 6 months here

about 97% of this is kimchi

This is 개금 market

yeah, they eat these too
Hae In recommended a place for us to try 개금밀면, which I think means Gaegeum wheat noodles. It took us a little bit to find the place, but we happened upon it after asking a nice ajusshi for directions. We also got lots of "hi! Hello! Where are you from?" comments

it was delicious. We couldn't finish it all
We wandered around the market for a bit more and then we found more snacks. Just because.

it's crispy and filled with red bean paste

Snacktime selca!!!
We met up with a friend of Sarah's, Hyeong (his name literally means older brother if you're a guy. Like, Ted is my Oppa, but if I was a boy, he'd be my Hyeong). We headed over to Busan Tower

They ring this bell for new year's

No major Korean city is complete without
an Admiral Yee Sun Shin statue!

A war memorial

Busan is one of the few places in Korea that wasn't destroyed in the war, so it wasn't rebuilt and therefore has kept it's haphazardly planned layout. That's why it looks a bit chaotic, whereas many other cities have a bit more of a modern structure to them.

Lotte department store

Apparently decorating with cabbage is a thing in Korea
Busan also wins for cool street decorations 

and then we were hungry so we stopped for cupcakes
We headed out to 태종대 (Taejongdae park), which has a nice lighthouse and views of the ocean. We got there in the evening and so we didn't get to see as much in the light of day, but it was still pretty. Plus we got to hitch a ride on this bad boy:

This, sadly, is a statue meant to remind
people of their mother's love when they come
here to commit suicide... :(

we found the lighthouse. It was smaller than expected.
And we couldn't go inside
Our next stop was 광안리 해수욕장 (Gwangali Beach), which has a beautiful night view. The bridge, Gwangan Bridge or the Diamond Bridge

Peace signs for the win
And then we met a dog on the beach!

The next day, we checked out a temple called 해동 용궁사  (Haedong Yonggungsa) temple. It's built into the cliffs! So here's a bunch of pictures of that...

I'm the year of the ram/sheep

You rub him so he will bless you with a son

a memorial

Apparently Koreans only wear sunglasses
when they're on vacation. So Lauren and I
whipped them out whenever possible

It was beautiful and sunny and wonderful

the cool bathroom signs. 

Near the Temple, there's a nice walkway that leads to some free museums. We happened upon a special exhibit that was all about fish in art. Yeah, I didn't know there was that much either...

We headed back to the city to head to the aquarium

yes you read correctly. Jackass penguins. 

touching starfish

we saw them feed the sharks and maybe look
for shark teeth?
shark feeding show

someone is taking liberties with these translations

trapped with the clown fish


sarah was tempted as well
one of these just seems like it doesn't fit...
or is it just me?
We checked out Haeundae Beach, which is so crowded in the summer that you can barely find space

Afterwords, we headed to a Hongdae-esque part of town for some BBQ, and then we went to an arcade. Yep, it was awesome. Though the way the guys there acted indicated to me that maaaaybe girls don't wander in too often. Always amusing.

Then we decided to get more food, so we found a place where you grill clams and scallops. It was interesting (I didn't eat a lot because I'm paranoid about seafood. What I did try was delicious!)

On Saturday, we took a bus ton Gwangju, a city famous for good food. Lauren's boyfriend is from there and was there for a long weekend (he's a doctor in the military), so he showed us around and took us to some delicious places to eat.

of course we ended up at a noraebang. 

And then we slept in sunday and headed home. It still took us about 5 or so hours to get home on Sunday (damn Seoul traffic). It was a nice trip, and I'm glad I finally made it to Busan. The air is fresh and lovely there, and it's less crowded than Seoul during the off season, which was a nice change. I'd love to visit there a couple more times while I'm in Korea!

Hope all is well as we head into March!!!

Since I'm back in a Bigbang mood, here's another song that I love, Love Dust