On Wednesday we left for Busan. The train from Suwon to Busan takes about 4h15 but it’s a super comfortable ride. The seats are wide and far appart and the temperature is warm. It’s the opposite to what I’m used to in Canada (VIA Rail, I’m looking at you). So we got to Busan at around 4:30 and we started walking around fairly aimlessly. I’ve never been and I don’t know anyone there, so I wasn’t a very good guide here. Luckily, my guide book suggested a place called Haeundae, 30 minutes from Busan Station by metro. After walking around a bit in the area near the station, we took the metro over to this promised land of beaches and markets. Busan near the station isn’t much to write home about. It’s the same thing as any other city in Korea. High office towers, sorta dirty, loud, lots of Koreans and many stores impossibly crammed in buildings. Haeundae is different. It’s the beach part of Busan and it’s got a more relaxed maritime feel to it. Granted it was 6degrees out, but you could still imagine how it would be during summer. I found us a cheap motel for 25000won, we went for supper and packed it in for the night so we could get an early start on the day Thursday.
Thursday rolled around as beautiful as every other day this week. We walked on the kilometer-ish long beach and then we went walking in an adjoining park. After this, we decided to take the Busan city bus tour; something I’d recommend if you’re in Busan for a limited time. We took it in the Taejongdae direction and got off at Taejongdae park for some quick exploration. I really dig Korean roughed rock facades and this place had them in spades. Beautiful spot. After the tour, we were done with Busan. We hopped on a train back to Suwon and called it a day. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with Busan when we first got there. It seemed like Seoul’s underachieving beach-bum little brother. The bus tour and Hyundae changed my perception a little bit, but I’d still like to check it out more. I think it’s the kind of place that would grow on you. I’d like to point out that Pusan and Busan are the same place. Because the Korean spelling starts with a letter that sounds like a cross between B and P, both ways are accepted, though I think Busan is the dominating spelling.
Today, we went to the War Museum in Yongin and we checked out Myongdong at night with a Korean friend of mine. I highly recommend the War Museum if you haven’t been. It’s an impressive structure with so much about the Korean people’s bloody war-laced history. It also makes you realise the hardships and tragedy the Korean war brought to the Korean people. My only qualm about the museum is its awkward layout. I wasn’t ever sure what way to go due to conflicting “this way” arrows. Lastly, Myongdong at night. It’s a beautiful place. Lots of lights and action. Myongdong (a shopping area) is usually fun to be around, but in winter it lights up so beautifully.
That’s it for now, I think tomorrow we’re going to the National Art Museum in Seoul and on Sunday I’m attending my first Korean wedding (a coworker).