When it comes to fashion, I can’t help adoring yet fashion is quite a pricy love.
When it comes to food, especially cheap eat, I can’t resist. And Korea treated me so well with all their top-notch dishes. The place that I enjoyed food the most was Busan, where literally all we did was EAT thank to our lovely awesome host Sooyoung and her cool mum.
Arriving in BUsan quite late in the afternoon, the four of us were just hungry and sort of dizzy in the freezing wind of the coastal city, we led our way straight from the bus terminal to Jagalchi market, the famous fish market where you get served with the freshest seafood. Stalls selling fish, mussels, clams, seashells, octopus, eals, … and hundreds of strange things that we couldn’t name lined up the small sea-smelled street in front of the well-built main market. Far away was the tremendous stretch of hills with houses climbing up till the top. Busaners saw it a normal daily scene, we saw it amazing and breath-taking.
Soon enough, we randomly picked a cozy-looked restaurant *we always opted for coziness and honestlt, the less English the owner spoke, the more likely we were getting in*. The wonderful long-waited dinner was served by two cool ajumani, UNAGI BBQ. I loved it. We all loved it. Yes, what else would you do in Busan when you’re hungry except for some hot spicy kimchi with grilled seafood?
After the dinner, Omar said “Kate, I know exactly where we are heading off after this?”. With no doubt, I oohed aahed “Where?”. “Let’s go to Kyungsung University. University! It should be happening there.” Okay, let’s the French pave the way to the joyfulness of Busan. 12000won for 3 liters of beer!!! I was out of the drinking game that night when my back started very annoying with a bunch of rash. I ate too much and I really didn’t know what I got allergic with. So be careful with the shock of spicy food and excessive alcohol ok?
Next, we moved to Gwangan beach where we were supposed to stay at the Homers Hotel sauna which had been highly recommended by Sooyoung. It’s a 5 star hotel with the best view of Gwangan Bridge and sunrise. We all trembled at the scale of the premises and wondered ifit would be cheap for the sauna there. Well if you say 12S$ is expensive! The 3-story bath and sauna was just terrific!!! After the best bath ever, we all gathered in the fomentation room, a big common place for people to rest, where we were provided with bed-sheets, pillows, wifi, manga, video games. AS it’s too hot to sleep right away so Ollie and I played Monopoly Deal and did people-watch a.k.a be polite stalkers! I felt like the whole kids of Busan were there for a fun night as they stretched there bodies, did face masks, giggled at girly talks, etc. There is a very funny scene as Ollie spotted two girls lying on the floor in the position that their legs were stretched and leaned all the way up on the wall. How could they do that the whole night? The sauna even has a cold room. I knew it late before we left in the morning as it came to my curiosity as couple by couple of highschool kids walked out of some mysterious room BLUSHED. Wow! My fantasy was to eat boiled eggs and do face masks, just like in drama! The guys hated me anytime I said something like “Oh this is just like in Korean drama blah blah blah..”. I told you I had been watching it since I was 4. I’m obsessed!
The next day Sooyoung picked us up real early at the hotel lobby, treat us the hangover soup for breakfast and showed us around Busan the whole morning. Soo got injured in her leg and we just felt so bad that she had to take us the four annoying foreigners all around. You’re cool, right Soo? Now let’s talk a bit about Korean drinking tradition. There are 5 stages of a fun-loving night:
1.-Eat and drink;
2- Dance/sing and drink;
3. Eat more, drink more;
4. Get drunk and sleep; maybe request SNSD in a bar and drop some glasses into the toilet!
5. Eat hangover soup and yes, you can drink again =))
At which stage are you my dear friends?
Soo took us for a long walk for APEC house all around the riff to Haeundae beach, where in every Korean drama, the guy would drive a sleeping girl the whole night from Seoul there to surprise her with breathtaking sunrise and steal her first kiss. And then they’re going to play the game of running on the beach where all the seabirds will fly around them. Then he catches her and they are in each other’s arms forever. Did I miss any detail? Oh yes, Ollie got asked to take photo with a man’s three daughters. We were just super star everywhere.
In the last note, I said I loved the feeling of being a tourist, especially a foreign tourist. We went to Shinsegae, the world largest department store and got treated with free gift and vouchers. Soo was a bit jealous though.
Back to the basic, we ate. Wandang noodle soup at PIFF square and the famous fried cake with hot melted cinnamon sugar inside that made me once all covered in Myeongdong *I hear Oli, Moon and Silva got it when they got back to Seoul hahaha* . But this time they slightly cut the cake and stuffed it with lots of nuts, namely sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnut, etc. It’s worth the queue. Oh and we had sweet potato chips as well though later Busan disappointed us as they gave us that thing everywhere we went.
Soo’s mum picked us up and drove everyone to Beomeosa, a very old temple off the main road of Busan. It’s way up to the mountain where you will find yourself lost in the bamboo jungles and many scary firing pines. Soo’s mum knew everything about Buddhism and she was the coolest and funniest mum in the world, well next to my mum though. I think of doing the temple stay there the next time I go back to Busan. Noted.
Statement of the day- “Now I think my mum is cool!” – said Soo.
Dinner in Korea means a normal dinner with drinks and a post dinner with drinks and snack. Dinner menu: seafood pancake, cheese omelette and home-made makgeolli with me and Oli stole a bunch of spoons and chopsticks from the restaurant. Post dinner was such a joyful adventure for all of us as the best drink was brought out: a mixer, kiwi and SOJU. I’m talking about SOJU COCKTAIL. And the soju glasses were very nice….
We got back to Soo’s flat a it late. It’s Huyndai town with the slogan of “Internet block- Internet Family”. I remembered the most the feeling of standing in between 4 27-story blocks and looking up when I felt like my whole life would only be able to see up to such height. It’s haunted!
Soo’s mum greeted us with a green tea, mandarin from Jeju-do, Korean juicy apples, pears, fresh and dried persimmon as well. She decorated the table with flowers and let us use her favourite china collection. “She never did that!”, Soo said. And I got mochi from Shinsegae >:D<. We ended the night with Soo’s great news. She’s going to England for SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies. God job unni! Soo’s brother was so cute he let me sleep in his room yay. The guys got Soo’s room where Oli had the princess bed hahahha. Though some incident did happen there, the next day Soo’s mum still treat us with a traditional Korean breakfast – seaweed soup, rice, home-made kimchi of all kinds, stir-fried beef, pancake and spicy sour soup with fish, toufu, mussels and something “just chew a bit and swallow it”- Soo’s instruction.
The farewell was too much for us when Soo’s mum dropped us at the train station with a lot of hugs, gifts and Jeju-do mandarins.
Thanks again for your wonderful host Soo and all the best with your last semester and UK. Hugs.
P.S: I know it’s a long long note but when it comes to emotion, I can’t help. Takeaway words for Busan- EAT and SAUNA and BEACH in summer!