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Journals from Spring and Fall, 2012 South Korea

2012-07-16 Hello from Busan

Hi Friends!

So as many of you know, I went to Busan on a three day tour that was supported by the Busan government as well as the Branding Committee. I was a fortunate student who got this free tour with 39 other amazing foreigners.

The tour started on July 2, 2012. I had to be a Seoul Station at 8:20am to catch the KTX (train) to Busan. It is about a 3 hour train ride there. After a long nap, we finally arrived in Busan where we were welcomed by KBS broadcasting and our tour guide. Our tour guide's name is Matthew. He is from Texas and has lived in Busan for 10 years. He is getting married next week and invited us to his wedding if we were going to be in town. Awesome tour guide who transtaled almost everything for us.

The first destination was lunch! Thank goodness because I was super hungry.

We went to this restaurant for our first meal. It is right off of movie street where we saw the hands of Korea (like those found in Hollywood). After getting some delicious good into our system we went to book street. There are many shops that look like the one below:

They are all used books, so of course very cheap. One of the guys on our trip bought a greek-english lexicon for his father who is a greek teacher. He got on KBS for that and was even interviews. The cameras were kind of creepy and annoying, but I got used to it after some time. After book street, we went to the Busan Tower.

It was under construction, but the view from the top was amazing! It is under construction because, Busan loves their world records so it  is trying to make the tallest structure or something like that. But year the view was uh-amazing:

Obviously a port city! Such a beautiful city! Loved it! After the Busan Tower we went to a part of Busan that had a beautiful lighthouse. They gave us a tour around the light house and told us how it workds. It was such an awesome experience. Not only that but there was a cliff right next to it that was so beautiful. I couldn't resist but to go to the edge :)

We were on a tight schedule so we had to head out and go to the fish market where they shoed us the amazing fish that we were going to eat. Basically you pick the fish you want downstairs and then go upstairs to get it cooked for you. That's what you call fresh!

Then we had the fantastic opportunity to go on the night tour. It was an amazing sight that allowed us to see Busan in 360 degrees from the top of this hill that I can't remember what it was called. Super fantastic though!

That night they took us to our hotel where they gave us beer and snacks to take to the beach if we decided to go there. Of course most of us did because we wanted to take it all in. After all we are only in Busan for 3 days. At the beach we found a guy painting a beautiful landscape.

That concluded our first day in Busan! So much fun in one day! Seriously not sure how we got that all in! It was only one day.

Now on to day two! Of course they woke us up bright and early to each breakfast at 7:30 and then head out by 9. We went to the APEC first. It has become a monument after the APEC convention in 2004 I believe. Such a nice building tha thugs the coast. It was a beautiful view. We were able to see where all the presidents were able to sit during the conference. The US I believe was sitting next to Thailand and VIetname. I thought that was interesting. Also that China and Hong Kong each had their own representative.

This platform above shoes where each representative stood during the pictures. The US was pretty close to the middle back. That was kind of entertaining as well.

Next up was BEXCO the Convention center of Busan. As you can tell it is quite ginormous. This is only a viewing of one of four parts of the convention center. Since Korea is one of the only places that has more than one convention centers in a state Busan and Seoul compete to see which one is more appealing. This one in particular also owns its own yacht. There was also an exhibit when we went so we saw tons of pop art that we couldn't take pictures of, but they were quite dramatic!

We also got to see BIFF (Busan International Film Festival). I so want to go again to watch all the films that they are showing. This building actually had a guinness world record for the longest cantilever roof. Such a wonderful building. I love the architecture. There is actually pillars that shoot up from the ground when weather conditions are too severe to protect the roof.

This is the outdoor movie theater that they have. It can seat 5000 people I think they said. We got to see one of the indoor theaters as well, it was so nice. Had an awesome orchestra pit as well as sound booth.

We went to another guinness world record at Shinsegae, the largest departnment store in the world. It has like everything you would need from a roof top garden, ice rink, clinic, art museum, and the usual department store items.

There was a wax museum on the 6th floor. In total there are 13 floors. But his is one of the many wax figures we saw while we were there.

Next was the UNMCK (United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea). This portion of the land was donated to the UN from Korea to house all the lost soldiers who fought in the Kroean War on South Korea's behalf. It was a long battle so this land is dedicated to them for all the efforts they had in stablizing North and South Korea.

The best part is coming. We went to the waterfron to find out that they had booked us a slot on the BEXCO yacht!!! Super fantastic. They literally treated us like royalty. They gave us wine, BBQ, and snacks. As well as a feet spa and time to fish and just relax on the boat. It was such an awesome time to be pampered by the crew!

Of course that time had to come to an end. After the boat we went to the only temple in Busan that is next ot the sea. Another amazing view. There were these fat pig statues that were at the temple. I am still unsure why they are there but they were definitely cute! haha.

After we had a 2 hour trip to the place where we were sleeping for the night. We stayed at a traditional housing place where we had the opportunity to play some games and get to know even further the peolpe who went on the trip.

That morning we had the choice of whether to learn to play a traditional instrument or learn about a tea ceremony and try on traditional outfits in Korea. I chose to learn about the Korean traditional drums and was able to get some beats down in the hour lesson that we had.

After we went ot this traditional town where they taught us how to make Makgeolli from scratch. The picture above shoes a molded meal round that is used to make the Makgeolli. It was an interesting process. But after seeing how it is made, I am not sure I will ever actually drink it. They let us take a jar home so we can finish the process after a week.

Lastly we went to the Busan City Hall where we were able to meet the Vice Mayor. The picture below shows the broadcasting room that the Mayor uses to braodcast events.

We even got a certificate saying that we went to visit the Mayor of Busan! How crazy is that! Sadly this was the end of our trip. But by this time I received so many gifts from the city of Busan that I am eteranllay grateful! So crazy how awesome that city really is!

I <3 Busan!

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