Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Korea is a strange and wonderful place. Part 2 (Adventure).

When you get off the KTX at Busan Station, you are right next to a very interesting part of Busan that apparently gets a little sketchy and red-lighty at night. It's called Texas Street and has a big sign in several languages identifying it as a "Foreign Shopping Area." Most of the foreigners here, besides us of course, seemed to be Russian or Chinese, so it is sometimes called the Russian District.

The Russian District--complete with Russian signage everywhere

A week or so ago a friend teased Samantha about eating delicious pierogies in this area of Busan, so we went off in search of the restaurant that would give us 감자 만두 (kamja mandoo, or potato dumplings). Samantha was on a serious mission, here. We had some trouble locating it off of the directions from the Daegu friend who was trying to help us, so we asked some friendly Russian gentlemen if they spoke English or Korean so we could find pierogies (if only Shelly or Jane or even Se Jin whose Russian is about like my Korean had been there...). One of them spoke English ok, but he couldn't understand our butchered pronunciation of pierogies until I said it 5 or 6 different ways and hit on one that he understood. Then he sent us off in some direction...

And we found them--YUMMY!

After our adventures downtown, we hopped the subway out to Haeundae beach. I enjoyed the practice reading/listening to travel related Korean that I just studied last week on the long subway ride. However, I did not enjoy the creepy man obsessed with my hair I was terrified might follow us all day so I told him I didn't know where we were going. But we made it down to the beach with little incident and the need for only one cup of hot cocoa at Dunkin Donuts after the journey.

The weather was actually quite lovely (albeit a little cold) for a beach day--in the middle of December.

The seagulls and pigeons roved in gangs on the beach and tried to kill us.

Yes, I am standing in the ocean with a winter coat on. Don't ask.

Anyhow, our real mission was the Busan Aquarium, which is an almost entirely underground facility. It was quite impressive, and this is from a girl growing up spoiled by the incredible wonders of the Baltimore Aquarium. I did appreciate the ability to take pictures inside, even if the lighting made conditions less than favorable. However, it was still very Korean fashion--meaning that most of the displays were more cutesy and cheesy than natural. Oh well.

I got to touch starfish... although it kind of felt like I was bordering on cruelty to animals

Zebra Eels are beautiful creatures

There was also a tank of (I kid you not) Jackass Penguins and a shark so malformed Samantha and I nicknamed him Gimpy you can see in my full album, as advertised on yesterday's blog.

Finally, we emerged from the underwater paradise and the sun was setting, but since Rebecca had gone off to find her friend and take her through the aquarium I was bound and determined to find the mermaid of Busan I remembered from reading Jane's adventure in Busan. We did find her and travelled on the sketchy rock stairs to take pictures.

The mermaid looks out over the beach

Being near water is very relaxing. I think I need to live near a beach someday. I miss sailing.

Later, we rejoined Rebecca and her friend Shelia and ate dinner at an overpriced Turkish restaurant before hopping a train home. It was a fantastic day and has me thinking a lot about what I want to do if I stay in Korea for a second year. I really like my life here, but I need to evaluate what I would want out of a second year if I did it. I will probably get all reflective about this later this week/month/whatever. For now, I must prepare for teaching and stop listening to Timbaland.

1 comment:

  1. the sign says "Shopping center for foreigners in the Choryan Region" - although I suspect you gathered that from the fact that it says that in English on the other half of the sign :-)



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