Sunday, August 31, 2008

YEsssssss! Japan!

My school recently granted us an extra day off over Chuseok (like Korean Thanksgiving). Now with a four day weekend, instead of 3, we are headed to Japan! We are going to take the high speed hydrafoil ferry from Busan, land in Fukuoka, and then head to Kyoto! I'm psyched because I didn't think we'd be able to get ferry tickets on such short notice because, like Thanksgiving at home, its the busiest travel time of the year. Sweet!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Korea Cribs

I know you have all been wondering what my pad looks like, just waiting to see what kind of design scheme I could manage in a foreign country. Well here it is. This weekend we put a few more things on the wall and cleaned so I figured I better do this now before the week comes and we get messy again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A little trip to Imjado

Last weekend, there was a Korean National holiday and therefore- a three day weekend. Matt's school still had to work like suckers, but the rest of us headed to a little island called Imja-do. We were the only foreigners on this lovely, little, uncrowded island. Six of us went and stayed in a minbak. A minbak is a really cheap place to stay. When split with others it's usually about $10-20 a night. It's a big empty room with blankets for sleeping on the floor. It also has a kitchen, so you can cook for yourself if you want. We cooked all of our meals while we were there and were pretty proud of our meals with little resources. Below, you can see us enjoying sandwiches outside of our minbak. 

The beach was beautiful and incredibly tidal. Depending on the time of day the beach could be anywhere from 15-300 yards wide. We were often picking up our things and moving back because the tide snuck  up on us. 
These are some babes. 

There were these little crabs that made these little sand balls around their holes. Upon further inspection, I concluded that they are eating tiny things in the sand and pushing the sand up through their mouth thing and when the ball fills up their mouth thing they spit it out and eat more sand. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The first weekend of this month was a long weekend for us. We had planned to go to Jeju Island, but due to our naivety of what Korea’s tourist season really means, we were unable to get a flight or a ferry to the island. We went to Busan instead and still had a great time. Busan is Korea’s 2nd largest city and the world’s 4th largest shipping port. It’s a pretty sweet city. I really like
Gwangju, but I think I could have been happy in Busan despite its huge size.
We arrived late on Wednesday night and got a cheap room (all of our rooms were pretty cheap- that’s just how we do it!) in this neighborhood. This is clearly the going out at night district- restaurants, bars, norebangs for blocks and blocks. We went to a place called “Chicken and Beer” and it provided.

On Thursday, we headed to Haeundae Beach, which is the most popular beach in Korean and holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most crowded beach. It was nuts! It may not be our or your idea of the perfect beach, but it was definitely an experience. People sit under umbrellas and float on yellow rental tubes for as far as you can see. This beach may have provided some of the best people watching I’ve ever had. We refused to rent an umbrella and sat in the sun like the crazy miguks (Korean for “American”) we are. Some Koreans go to extreme lengths to stay out of the sun.


Sweet hat- 2,000 won. Matt’s face- free.

The umbrella ceiling.

Thursday evening we went to the Busan Aquarium. It got pretty good reviews from many of Matt’s students, but they have clearly never been to the Baltimore Aquarium. It was pretty good though.

Maybe these are the cutest jellyfish in the world.

The Busan Aquarium also has a pretttttty sweet shark tank!

We spent our evenings in Busan wondering around, looking at people, eating delicious seafood, and drinking beer on the beach.

Delicious sashimi dinner with a fried fish, green onion egg pancake, kimchi, and other Korean essentials. It was the most sashimi I’ve ever eaten in one sitting and so good.

Korea does a pretty decent fireworks show and they don’t even restrain awesome fireworks to one day a year. I’ve seen two huge displays this summer, which, I guess makes up for missing the 4th of July.

On Saturday, Haeundae was getting even more crowded, our hotel room rate tripled and there were rumors that Guinness Book of World Records was coming again that day to see if they were going to maintain their record. We were a little sun burnt and decided it was time to see what the downtown part of Busan had to offer.

This is our galbi (beef) grilled lunch. These places are everywhere in Korea and really awesome. Who doesn’t love grilling their meat on their table and putting it in little lettuce packets with garlic, kimchi, and delicious sauces. It’s also really cheap- I think this meal was about 9,000 won or $9.

We headed to Jagalchi Market, a very large fish market, after lunch. You want something that comes out of the ocean- you can get it here. This market is about 6 big jumps from the harbor. Here are boxes and boxes of anchovies sorted by size.
These are fugu- supposedly very delicious, but deadly is if the chef cuts it wrong.

Then we took a trip up to the Busan Tower, which offered some pretty sweet views of the city. Here you are looking at the harbor with all its shipping containers.

After coming down from Busan Tower, we stumbled upon a hip hop poppin’ and lockin’ dance –off! It was full of all these crazy Korean kids dancing their asses off. We drank some beers and watched it for more than an hour. Apparently, this was only one installment of a larger Busan hip-off dance off. These events happen every couple days in different places. This bumblebee had some crazy moves. The girl in the green vest is the reigning champion.

On Sunday, on our way to the bus station to head back to Gwangju we went to Beomeosa Temple. It’s on a mountain on the north side of Busan.

Proof: I did some cultural things while in Korea and didn’t just drink my face off.
These little guys live in this little crevice in a very large boulder next to one of the main temples. After I took this photo, an ajumma beckoned me from behind the temple and gave me a piece of watermelon. I don’t know why she picked me to have the watermelon. She motioned for me to stand behind the building so no one would see. She then motioned another white guy over because I think she thought he was my boyfriend and if he wasn’t, all miguks probably know one another. I may now be a member of the Very Secret Watermelon Behind the Buddhist Temple Club. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve probably already been kicked out for missing too many meetings.

All in all- I like Busan.

Monday, August 11, 2008

No Internet!

The internet has been down in our apartment for about a week now. Sorry for the lull in postings, but ho0pefully I'll be back posting soon.

Sneak preview of postings to come:
-Our trip to Busan early this month.
-Upcoming trip this weekend to a tiny beach
-Maybe a video tour of our apartment