Sunday, September 9, 2007

Trip to Song Jeong Beach in Busan, Korea

I live in Daegu, which is the third largest city in Korea (depending how you count); Busan is the second largest city in Korea on the south-westernmost tip of the country with several beaches along the coast of the East Sea (known outside of Korea as the Sea of Japan). A teacher in Jeonju whose online handle is Alyallen on Dave's ESL Cafe posted information about an International Surfing Festival in Busan this weekend, so I had decided to go, pending the weather. Well, the weather turned out fantastically awesome (though it was overcast so my pictures aren't as beautiful as the day was wonderful, but they're alright)--so I will recount the tale of our delightful voyage to the south.

Though Gwen was unable to go because of her family's preparations for Chuseok (a Korean harvest festival coming up in a couple weeks), a Korean English teacher from Oedae, Se Jin (her English teacher name is Jiny), accepted my invitation to join Shelly (an English teacher in Daegu originally from New York, who I met at Thunderbird) and I for the day. So the three of us meandered over to the express bus terminal next to the Dongdaegu subway stop at around 10:30 a.m. to hop on the bus to Busan at 11. I love that the bus ride, which was just a little over an hour drive through the countryside, cost about $6.

We arrived at the very end of Busan's subway, so had to transfer all the way down to the last stop on line 2, past the very popular Haeundae Beach. Korean subways are very clean and weird. Like the stop for Haeundae Beach plays a noise like seagulls, to indicate the beach, which confused Shelly and I immensely when it happened the first time.

Song Jeong beach is a bit far to walk from the last subway stop out, so we caught a cab down to the beach. Many people had been skeptical about the surf-ability of Korean beaches, but there were people surfing at the festival (mind you the waves were nothing like the ones at South Beach on MV that gave me the banner photo for the blog, but they were respectable):



I met Alyson briefly, but it seemed like the surfing competition was over and people were just sort of hanging out and doing their own thing. There were a whole lot of foreigners at the festival--there seemed to be more of them in Busan in general than in Daegu. Or maybe they were just more visible there. A Korean guy was flying the coolest kite ever made:



The water was nice, so Shelly and I changed into swimsuits and sallied forth into the very salty water. Se Jin hung out on the beach and watched our stuff and took photos of us frolicking in the waves. It was a nice little swim and the area was very scenic, so when we got out, I suggested that we hike up to the little pavilion and tuft of forest you see behind me posing like a dork in this picture:



I'm glad we did, because the scenery was lovely out near the pagoda thing. Here you can see all three of us lovely ladies with the gazebo a little closer in the background:



And another of me looking all profound with an awesome rock formation in the background:



Apparently Koreans can't be more than a few yards from workout equipment in public parks; although this particular piece of equipment looks more like a medieval torture device to me:



We got hungry and Busan is known for their seafood, so we hopped back on the subway and headed for downtown to look for a good place to get some tasty food. Downtown Busan reminded me of Asian San Francisco for some reason (though I do credit Shelly for suggesting this photo first):



It was cool that Se Jin is Korean and can speak the language because she got an awesome recommendation from a nice young man on the street for a place called The Steampot. The restaurant derives its title from the fact that besides the sizable buffet of sushi and prepared seafood, they have a pot of boiling water/fish stock at each table where you put whatever raw seafood in that you want to cook for your dinner. The restaurant was on the 14th floor, which was a little dizzying from below:



The view from the top was cool, but the restaurant itself was much cooler:



The food was amazing and they gave us coupons for a return visit. For Korea, it was on the pricey end of things (weekend dinner was ~$25/person), but this place was totally worth it. With the coupon, and on a weekday, it would be the best deal ever.

We made it back to the bus terminal in time to catch the 7 p.m. ride home to Daegu, but almost missed it by stupidly getting on the wrong bus that had the same departure time. We ran through the terminal as the Korean workers shouted at us to stop running, but found out our bus had been delayed about 5 minutes, so we were perfectly fine getting home. We were tired at that point and thought the whole situation was very silly.

Shelly and Se Jin are really awesome people and the day was memorable and fun. I took a lot more pictures and you can look at them on my Picasa album:

Song Jeong Beach (Busan, Korea)


For now I must crash because I have my first TKD lesson in the morning. Good night to all!

3 comments:

  1. Hey cool! That looks like a fun day. I've been to the same restaurant in my city -- it's a shabu-shabu restaurant, right? They're fun!
    Good luck with your Taekwondo lesson tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. You look so thin.

    Good luck with the taekwondo. I took classes in middle school at Kim's Karate, but I suspect your lessons will be far superior. You'll hurt though. I remember hurting.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jelly,

    Yeah, they are a chain, but darn if it wasn't awesome anyhow! I think there is one in Daegu--that's probably where I will be using that coupon!

    Janet,

    I fully expect to hurt badly for the next week or so... And you are far too kind. Miss you tons!

    ReplyDelete

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