Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 01 2012

Korea, part two

The free breakfast at the Toyoko Inn in Busan consists of toast and various…things, Korean things I assume. Not bad, either.

We walked out into the clear, bright cold and took the metro to what Chenbl had assumed would be a bustling market, except that it wasn’t as it was a Sunday, we were told by a coffee shop waitress when we stopped in to ask. We walked the length of the empty street, and then decided to hit the countryside for some hot cherry blossom action.

We caught a bus at a a very new-looking station, and I spent the next two hours trying to look at the view, which was obstructed by poor window design, of brown fields and blue rooftops. The Koreans really, really like the color blue, which is one of my favorites as well, so no issues there.

We arrived at the town of Jinhae, known for its cherry blossoms and the Naval Academy, but there were no blossoms to be seen. We walked down the main street, which was lined with various stalls, to the main square, where a show was going on with people wearing traditional Korean regalia and waving swords in a cool fashion. There were also people jumping up and down on seesaws. I’m pretty sure part of that had something to do with the country’s history, but don’t quote me on that. We were approached several times by young people in white shirts wanting “just a little time in the tent over yonder”, which we declined less politely each time it was repeated. Some local military/police types were laying with a large, remote-control zeppelin.

With no cherry blossoms, we decided to tour the Naval academy grounds, as it was open to the public in celebration of its anniversary. After using the restrooms in the visitor’s center, I noted that one of the recruits was feasting on a very nice selection of Krispy Kreme, so there must be a store in Busan somewhere.

We took a bus inside the grounds and toured a replica of the “turtle boat”, which was built in the 16th century, was covered in spiked and had a wooden anchor that left me wondering how they ever stopped. There were also people in various costumes, including historical figures and animals that may or may not be historical.

One of the ships was open for touring, and it happened to be the same type of ship that Chenbl served on when was in the navy in Taiwan. We waited in line for a bit before boarding; it was interesting to walk around inside and out, including the bridge with its captain’s chair and everything. Parking that thing must be a nightmare. While were on board we observed a pretty neat bit of gun-throwing by a group on the dock.

Lunch was a delicious combination of some kind of corn patties and some kind of meat wrapped in carrot leaves at a small stand downtown. A group  soju salesmen were handing out free samples, so that went down the hatch as well. Delicious.

The trip back was much the same, except with less ventilation and more sunlight. We visited another really-not-happening market before taking a series of escalators up to the Busan Tower, where we watched the city slipping into its nighttime garb. As I took pictures with my lens up against the glass to ward off the glaring reflections that were the result of the ill-advided lighting up there, I was approached by a group of Russians. “Hello, friend, are you also Russian?” one of them asked me.

It has been a long time since I spoke in Russian, and about all I coud answer was, “Sorry,  I only speak a little Russian.” Meanwhile, one woman was having great difficulties shooting thrugh the windows with her flash and couldn’t seem to figure out what was wrong. The view was gorgeous despite the overdone lighting, and it was good to get a sense of the city’s layout. It’s a proper harbor city, and it knows it. While the first floors may resemble parts of Taiwan, the main difference is that things don’t deteriorate so quickly above the first floor.

Dinner was consumed sitting cross-legged, no mean feat for Chenbl, at a barbeque place downtown. This was also delicious, and I was again mistaken for a Russian. There are a lot of Russians here, after all.

Sorry this is so rough, but the Asus transformer pad m trying to type this on is just horrible and won’t let me look at what I’m typing, much less let me change it, so I’m afraid this will last until I get back. Tomorrow we’re going to go somewhere and possibly do something. I’ll let you know when I can.

posted by Poagao at 11:37 pm  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment