Wednesday, 19 November 2014

부산 | Busan (Part 1)

Above: A beautiful sight from the Mysteron Display Team.

Towards the end of October, Nick and I went on a trip to another part of South Korea, something we haven't done so far other than visiting Gangwha and Seoul.

We went to Busan with Erin and Morgan, by way of a WINK (When IN Korea) tour, which involved catching a bus at about 9pm on a Friday straight after school and driving overnight. The map at the top is what I sent to Sammy when we were paused in Daejeon, already a few hours into our journey.

Aside from my usual travel problems (most legs suffer on a long coach ride, let alone my lanky limbs) the ride went smoothly enough. We did have a worrying moment where we were pulled over by a police car, which it turns out was for something like going a bit too fast in the bus lane. There was also the time when we pulled away from a service station and had a phone call from someone wondering where the coach was. At 2am. In the middle of nowhere. Terrifying for them, but really weird considering we saw two different people do a headcount and they'd had a seating partner! Look out for your bros, even if they are a stranger! Who knows what would have happened if she hadn't had a phone.

Anyway, we arrived unscathed at about 5am, and while some people went into a hostel to sleep for a few hours we roughed it on the beach, enjoying the fact that we could actually see STARS for the first time in about 5 months. The main bridge was all lit up and there were some interesting things going on in preparation for the big fireworks display later that evening (which is what we'd travelled down to see), so we watched that for a while and got excited for the main event.

We wandered along for a while and watched the sunrise, which was lovely. I'm a lazy person and a heavy sleeper, so sunrises are a pretty rare and special event for me. We were paused by a harbour of sorts, so we watched some fishermen appear and prepare for the day, as well as a surprisingly large number of joggers and dog walkers.

Once the sun was up, our tiredness started to kick in (me! The one who used to always go to sleep at 5am!) and we retired to a 24-hour Angel-in-Us for coffee and a nap. As in, we'll buy coffee and forget it's there because we're too busy sleeping in these chairs.

Possibly the first time I haven't actually scalded my mouth on a hot drink ;p

Erin (somehow) stayed awake and studied (?!) what I could only understand as being maths (?!?!) and told us that she shared a moment when one of the guys at the counter looked over, saw her working and us dead to the world, and just laughed. Cheers, bro.

Anyway, after an hour or so, we hauled our carcasses up and out into what was shaping up to be a really lovely day. Sunny and cloudless and just the right amount of warm.

We walked to the subway and hopped a few stations down to Haeundae beach (the most famous beach in Korea, supposedly!) and took a little walk along a sort of nature trail in Dongbaek Park.

It's a really pretty bit of coastline and kind of reminded me of my early morning walk one time in Noosa, Australia. It felt very remote but not at all, all at the same time.

There's a famous mermaid statue here, with a plaque telling her sad story. It looks like you used to be able to go a lot closer to it, but not any more.

Apparently she's a Princess from the faraway undersea land of Naranda, who married a legendary Korean king, possibly as a peacemaking gesture. She's forever immortalised in this statue, staring into the sea, weeping over her lost country that she can never return to.

There's also a sweet little lighthouse and it's where we decided to end our walk before heading back to where we came from, where we were due to have some lunch.

Lunch was at an expat bar where the burgers were huge and the staff spoke very impressive English but I'm a bit sad we didn't really go anywhere a bit more... Korean?

But anyway, it was a good time, and we followed up by checking into our hotel where we basically had showers and slept until it was time to get some food and prepare for the fireworks.

I took a lot of photos of the fireworks, so I'll confine them to another post so I don't flood you all.

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