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Busan Christmas trip with Soo-yeon

SOUTH KOREA | Thursday, 21 February 2008 | Views [1862]

From December 21st to 24th, My best Korean friend and I took the bullet train down to Busan. Busan is Korea's second largest city, and it has the second biggest seaport. Busan sits on the southern coast of Korea. I had been wanting to visit Busan for the longest time, so I was very happy when I was asked to visit Busan with my best Korean friend.

We have been friends since I first arrived in Korea back in September 2005. Sooyeon was my partner teacher at the hakwon I worked at. We hit it off instantly when I told her I was from Canada, as she had been there before and wanted to go back in the future.

We boarded the speed train and arrived in Busan, three quick hours later. During this time we went to see many parts of the city. Busan is famous for its beaches. We went to Haeundae beach, and we couldn't believe all the seaguls that were on the beach. Think about the movie, 'The Birds' and you'll get an idea as to how many birds were there.

Haeundae beach is really beautiful, but it was too cold to swim. I heard from others that this place gets so packed in the summer that you can barely move, and all you see is sun umbrellas, side by side on the beach.

They had this statue on the beach which represented the 'year of the rat' that was coming up in 2008. I thought it was fitting to get a picture of us together since we had spent so much time together in 2007, and hoping that 2008 would be a great year for both of us. Especially since I am a rat in Chinese astrology, I was hoping that this was a good omen.

We walked along the beach, and then at the end of the beach there was a path going up a rocky mountain and we decided to follow it. I thought it would be a nice walk along the water. We got ripped off by an Ajumma lady! How ironic was that! As we walked up the stairs and around the corner, there were two old ladies selling some nuts that are popular here. They cook them so they are soft, and then you open the shell and eat the inside. I don't find them that good, but the lady put them in my hand, and said, 'Ocheon.' She wanted five dollars for them. I didn't really want to pay so much for them, but I already had them in my hand, and felt bad for the lady. So just as I was about to give her the money, she put 'songpyeon' in my hand. Songpyeon is a rice cake, with sweet stuff inside. I really didn't want all this stuff, and sooyeon wasn't saying anything as I was saying no to the lady.  Then the lady yelled, in a rushed voice, 'Manwon!' I was thinking no way do I want to pay ten dollars for this. I felt bad because I already had them in my hand. So being the nice person that I am, I caved in and handed over the money quickly into her fast grabbing, oily hands. I looked at Sooyeon in shock. 

As we walked away, I looked at Sooyeon and said, 'I can't believe I just paid 'manwon' for this. So, let us enjoy the food. We walked around big boulders, and ended up on a path. The path led to the lighthouse that we had seen in the distance on the beach. This is where I was hoping we'd end up and not in the middle of nowhere to  where we were lost. I always felt comfortable having Sooyeon around, because she could speak Korean, and could help me out in so many ways.

Here is what we bumped into on our meanderings, and after being ripped off by ajummas. The views from the lighthouse was well worth the walk. We could look out on the south China sea, and there were mountains on one side. It was such a clear night. On the right of the lighthouse was the Gwangan bridge that was lit up in so many vivid colours. This bridge is famous here in Busan.  

The next day we decided to take a walk to see Busan tower. When we arrived, we had to walk up a lot of stairs, until we got to the top. At the top we saw Busan tower which is a lot smaller than Seoul tower, I was thinking at the time. There was a cool map of Busan as we reached the top of the stairs. 

A statue of a famous man (not sure who), and Busan tower in the background. We were heading there to go to the top and see the view of the magnificient surrounding water. Busan shipping port is the second largest second to Incheon near Seoul.

The views from the top were just awesome. It was a clear blue sky, and there was nothing like getting a bird's eye view of Busan and the shipping port. Beautiful place!

We only went to Busan for three days and two nights, and we were lucky to get to see quite a lot. We also went to the famous Busan fish market, and I took a trip to Beomosa temple.

I hope to get to Busan again sometime. Busan was smaller than Seoul, and only had a few subway lines. It was a really nice change of pace, and I wouldn't mind living in this type of place. On the KTX bullet train, you can get to Busan from Seoul in three hours. It was a nice way to spend the Christmas holidays, and spend time with one of my favourite friends.

Tags: adventures, beaches

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