19 December 2010

I always thought my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean would be in California

Well technically I only saw the Korea Strait, but I'm counting it as close enough to the Pacific.  I traveled to Busan on Saturday to check out South Korea's largest coastal city.  As per usual, I didn't have too much of an idea about where I was headed when I got there, but I still got to see some beautiful sights and a couple of the iconic areas.

So my day started at 5:30 in the morning.  I caught the train out of Waegwan at 6:30 and arrived in Busan around 8:30.  And upon my arrival I was greeted with the soothing sounds of Let It Be on the gayageum ( 가야금 ).  Now I know I talked about this on facebook, but I liked it so much that I figured I would put it on my blog too.  Apparently KORAIL always plays that song at the last stop on the trip.  The gayageum is a Korean instrument with 12 strings that was originally thought to have been invented around around the 6th century in the Gaya Confederacy by King Gasil.  However, recent excavations in the southwest area of the Korean peninsula have revealed that it actually dates to the 1st century BC.  In addition, while traditional gayageums had 12 strings, modern versions generally have more than 12.

Gayageum - a 12 string zither
So I finally got out into the streets of Busan around 8:45 and wandered down to PIFF Square.  PIFF stands for Pusan International Film Festival (The original romanization of the city was Pusan, but it has now been changed to Busan).

There was some film memorabilia and a lot of people cramming into movie theaters at 9:30 in the morning. The Square was transformed into its current state in 1996 in preparation for the first Pusan International Film Festival.  The film festival is held in October of each year and is one of the largest film festivals in Asia.

From PIFF Square I headed down to Jagalchi Fish Market, which is the largest seafood market in Korea.  After getting over the stench of the place, I walked around and found pretty much every sea creature for sale by the various venders.  As was the case with Seomun Market in Daegu, I was really amazed by the gigantic size of the market.

Jagalchi Market Building - I love how the roof is shaped like seagulls

Some venders outside of the building

I was then on my way across Yeongdo Bridge to Yeong Island for a stroll along the coastline.  I didn't really see any famous sights along this walk, but I got some beautiful pictures.

And then I got completely lost.  I thought I was heading down to an area of the island called Taejongdae, but I somehow managed to end up at the Korea Maritime University.  I didn't even realize I was on a campus until I saw that about half the people were wearing Naval uniforms.  Nevertheless, I made the best of it and took some more pictures along the coastline.

I then had to catch a bus back to Busan Station to catch my 2:20 train so I could get back to Daegu to head out on the town with a couple people.  I went to dinner with one of my coworkers and had probably the spiciest meal I have ever had in my life.  Let me just say that Mexican food doesn't have anything on Korean food when it comes to spice.  We then headed to a place to pregame a little bit before heading out to a bar called Thursday Party.  It was a pretty nice bar with lots of foreigners.  I'm not really sure when bars in Korea actually close, but I left at like 3:45 in the morning and they were still going pretty strong.  I might end up staying out that late pretty often on the weekends because rather than take the last train to Waegwan at 12:30, why not just take the first one at 4:05?  I finally got back to my place around 4:45 and got to sleep around 5:15.  So all in all, I was awake for almost 24 hours straight and got to see the second and third largest cities in the same day.

That pot contains liquid fire, or as some people call it "fire water"

And some random photos that I though were amusing...

I really hope they know Guns N' Roses and have made Welcome to the Jungle this district's official song

Probably the best sign I've seen in Korea so far

I've found my hangout spot for the next year

I love Korea


  1. Fire water aaaahaha that is awesome. Maybe that's where that chick got it from.

  2. Awesome post...looks like you're having great time... thats the first pic i've seen you post of food... i'm curious what you've been eating over there and your thoughts on korean food so far (other than spicy)... not to make requests or anything, but when you get a chance maybe do a post on the food with some more pics

  3. That's a pretty good idea man. The only problem is that half the time I don't even really know what I'm eating, but I'll see if I can bring my camera out to dinner with me a little more often.