Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Busan is to Korea as Osaka is to Japan

I say this comparison for many reasons. The main comparison is that like Osaka, Busan is the second largest city in the country. Aside from this, there's many other personal comparisons, the shadiness factor is up there, although Seoul is pretty shady itself. My favorite though, is that in Busan, it literally breaks my heart not to be able to communicate with so many nice people that always try talking to me. It's the heart and soul, and after my past few weeks in other parts of Korea, I've spent more time in Daejeon than Busan, but I still love it there. My pictures can't explain why.


This is outside the Busan train station. We arrived by boat, but found the main station for a better orientation. Busan's a little funny, because the main station for the town is nowhere near basically anything in town.
Walking around the station area, we found this shot, trying to capture the run down feel all over this part of town.
This picture is taken in the "foreigners mall" right next to the station. It's filled with Russians, and is known and definitely feels like the most dangerous part of town.

Like Japan, Korea is filled with shopping arcades, though they look much less lively and more ancient than Japanese ones. I kinda enjoy that feel though. Also like Japan, Korea underwent a pretty big growth spurt in the 80s followed by a big pop in the economy soon after, meaning that much of their major growth happened in the 80s, and nothing has happened since.

The hat that I'm wearing in this picture lives on my head forever more. In Japan they celebrate Christmas with chicken. In Korea, they celebrate it with cake and hats. (pretty awesome considering that Korea is a Christian country) So my new hat here came on discount with the cake we are eating here. It was under $10 for both the hat and the cake!

We found a Korean Manwa Cafe I guess you could say. Veeery different feel, as it's literally like a library where you can read manwa in comfy sofa type chairs. We don't know Korean, and there are no computers, so we just stopped down to take a look.


On weekends, you find *tons* of folk set up on street sides with their vegetables and handmade goods. You still find them on the weekdays, but not in such large quantity. Some folk say not to trust the fruits and such from these folk, but we've gotten kiwis and mikan from these folk with no problems.

This is what a pretty Korean park looks like.
These are pictures of a korean temple complex, I really love the colors and designs they use, it almost feels native American to me.





I'd never seen black bamboo before!




Celes, Aaron and I headed up a mountain on a tram cart, originally we were going to climb this mountain, but after going up on the cart, I was certainly glad we opted that way instead.

The mountain we would have otherwise attempted to climb.


This is the south gate of the wall along the defense in Busan. It's incredibly long.. a common hiking walk for Koreans and tourists alike is from this South gate to the East gate, and then to Beomeosa temple complex, which is further along the path.

There were plenty of houses and businesses running along this path, super high in the mountains.

We made it to east gate! Though we set out a bit late to accomplish much more. We headed down from east gate, and I didn't really feel like taking a bus, although after heading down by foot, I kinda wish we did.






I love Korea for this. We found tons of random hoolahoops through the woods on the way down from east gate. Korea is really all about hoola hoops. The kind with the ridges is a Korean type exercise hula invention called a massage hoop. I have yet to use one, but they are available in America.

After climbing out of the mountain for about an hour and a half, we randomly came into a University, where a soccer game was happening. Surreal.

Aaron had an allergic reaction, so we decided to stay in a jimjilbang this night. That translates to bathhouse. You pay about $5-6, and get a pair of PJs and take a bath, you can stay as long as you like, even if it's multiple days. It was pretty awesome sneaking Celes in, since she couldn't take a bath. Our PJs looked like jail clothes!

For Osaka diehards, here's a kappa kaiten napkin pack from Korea! I had no idea they existed in Korea too!


Another example of how broken down Busan can feel. I honestly feel like Korea feels like some strange developing nation that happens to have advanced technologies everywhere. Especially, they've got to have the most technologically advanced hobos in the world, because anyone at all has access to tons of the best computers out there for under $.50 cents an hour.

As I said, Korea is a Christian country, so here is a church we saw. Busan feels like it has many less churches than other part of Korea however.

A random arcade on the street!

I will have another picture with these guys up later. This was one of my favorite things! These super heroes ran all throughout a train back and forth for about 10-15 minutes of our train ride. They also happened to be getting off at thee same stop as us, and not only made sure we could get pictures, but batman actually grabbed me by the handed and dragged us over so that we could all get pictures together!


We went to Hyundae beach! A popular hang out for foreigners and Koreans alike. Even though it's winter, it felt pretty nice at the beach.

These are Jianggi (Chinese/Korean chess) players.




Korea loves exercise machines!

We also found a major political building, and got to see an interesting combination of Korean ancient and modern architecture combined.





Then we found go players!

And a skeleton!

It was in the aquarium, they had lots of things like this set up throughout.


Then at the end of the aquarium, they had a disco room!

Followed by a car filled with fish.

This is how awesome Korean exercise parks are.



Then we accidentally climbed a mountain!



And somewhere along the way, found the grungiest scariest looking pc bang (pc cafe) we'd ever seen.

These are Korean cooking pots that you see all over the streets.



We found an aquatic type place that we would've gone to but then didn't. Maybe we'll go again.




And that's Busan for ya!