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.


Daphne Duke said...

hey ashley! it's laura :) your blog is really nice~ i love all the pics from busan! looks like you guys had a good time. & thanks for the info you sent me about your company! i applied online and they already got back to me about a phone interview. i figure if you're happy with the placement they give you, they're worth trusting.
hope you're having fun!

cecilia said...

i want to be in this secret watermelon club. can you remotely recruit members?

miss you THIS MUCH