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Busan: The Sequel

April 23, 2009

korea-busan-busan_tower-01Picture stolen from Wiki.

[written on Thursday] Screw you guys, I’m going to Busan tomorrow.

[written on Monday] Busan was…. well, it was a lot of things. On one hand, it is a beautiful city and we were really excited to go (though not as excited as we were when we originally planned to go, wherein which the preceding week was filled with random exclamations of “BUSAN!! BUSAN!!!”). We saw lots of amazing things like the Beomosa Temple, which is on this mountaintop:

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And we overstuffed ourselves with food like with sashimi from Jagalchi Market (the small set is uh, not small) and uh, Krazy Burger. And talked to interesting people (like a rich and reviled importer of U.S. beef and his old friend, a ship engineer who ain’t afraid of no Somali pirates). I think the highlight of the trip was seeing a guy unexpectedly breathe fire at the Fuzzy Navel on Gwangalli Beach, leaving the chair in front of him still singed… but I suppose that’s something you can see anywhere (right?). That bar, I actually went to back in July and it’s still the most fun I’ve ever had sitting down.

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In the backrground, the famous Gwangalli Bridge and two drunk guys getting booze from a takeout window.

But overall, the trip seemed kind of off. I think the thing is traveling to a city like Busan needs some planning. For one thing, the subway system isn’t as awesome over there, the stops are fewer and farther than they are in Seoul. So basically, you can’t just wander around looking for one (or even looking any other amenities you might need, like maybe I don’t know, a place to stay for the night). The beach was nice, but it was the off season, and actually, here’s a Southern Californian secret for you: I hate the beach, or rather, I don’t think it’s worth the trouble a lot of the time. It was my second time there, and I was really looking forward to doing things not on the beach, like the Contemporary Art Museum (kind of “meh” and invaded by a loud children’s magic show at the time), and the super ritzy area, which does “make Apgujeong look kind of silly” because it overlooks the cliffside and has HOUSES really, actual, European/American style fancy smancy HOUSES (but then again, one can only eat so much food/drink so many tea lattes in an afternoon).

And it was raining. And nobody likes walking anywhere with squishy socks.

Maybe I’ve gotten too used to the comforts of Seoul. I don’t want to sound like a cranky middle aged person (“Oh this isn’t the way I’m used to! I don’t like it!”), it is a great city with lots of things to offer… It’s just that those things to offer were hard to find (oh Korea, why do you insist on treating addresses like treasure maps?) or in the end, disappointments to our over-hyped expectations. Maybe we’ll have better luck next time (maybe when the Busan Art Biennial comes around, maybe when it’s Film Festival time).

Next stop on our tour of Korea: Gwangju, home of Korean democratic protest and sad, sad, history.

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3 comments

  1. Hi
    Just googled Busan, cause I’m going there mid September, randomely I picked your comment – not a happy holiday story .-/ which is sad, cause I’m coming from Denmark to visit Korea / Busan for the very first time. Luckly though our trip is very well planned.


  2. Yep, Busan is one hack of a city.

    I wish I could have the time and funds to visit in 2010 🙂


  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the information. We are stopping off for a day on a cruise and your info will help us find something to do for the short time we are there!



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