Busan, South Korea! (1 of 2)

Now, time for my first international trip while living in Japan! I went to South Korea with my friend Justin for a week to visit my friend Dawn! :D
Dawn is doing a Fulbright in South Korea and is finishing up her second year there.  She and I went to the same university and were involved in a few of the same student groups at Douglass Residential College. :) Dawn was one of the keys to my surviving all the ups and downs that came with first, leaving home, and then, coming out here.  She kept me somewhat grounded while I was in emotional spirals and was able to relate so well! Dawn was also the first friend from home that I would be seeing since I moved out here, so I was SO excited to visit her!

We flew with Peach Airlines, a budget airline that flies out of Osaka. It took us a good 3-4 hours to get to Osaka, vs the 2 hours it would have taken us to get to Nagoya, so we were a bit tired… but we took our time and got there with no problem!

Peach is not meant for people with long legs! This was with me with my back to the seat! D: Justin was fine but I was glad to get off as soon as we landed.

Our first stop was Busan, which is a city in the south of South Korea. Dawn lives in Seoul, so we were going to meet her down here to celebrate the New Year, and then head up north with her. Busan is a city on the ocean, which always makes me excited because I feel like that tends to give cities a more laid-back vibe (except for places like New York!).  However, we were visiting in the dead of winter, which meant that the beaches and parks were going going to be a bit less enjoyable than they would have been in the summer. We tried to prepare for this by stocking up on winter gear like snow boots, winter coats, scarves, heat tech clothing, etc.  Funnily enough, it didn’t snow while we were there, but it was definitely much colder than where we are in Japan!

Anyway! When we got to Busan, we had to take the light rail, which had these cute little blue chips instead of tickets! You could either use them once or reload them. They had a little chip inside that you could swipe at turnstiles for the subway. After we got on the subway, we made our way to our first place of lodging. Some of our first views of Busan and South Korea are below:

We got to the place where we were staying, and found a heating blanket on the mattress, which was nice to sleep on since it was so cold! We were in the Jung District, which according to Google is the central district of Busan! We were close to the fish market, a lot of shopping, but the best part of this place was the space heater, which had three settings. Off, Hot, and Danger… :’)

First night we just kinda settled in, but the next day we decided to go to the Jagalchi Market! It’s a huge seafood market inside and outside a large building at the port. We walked around outside and checked out all the interesting looking fresh seafood laid out in vats of ice.
Early morning crowd at the market. In the background, you can see the Gamcheon Culture Village, which I will talk about in a later post.
An octopus trying to escape!
After the market, we walked to BIFF (Busan International Film Festival) Square, where we had a lot of street food! :)
We THOUGHT this was the BIFF gate, but I think it is just another random gate in the area…
We had this clear jelly thing that you mix with the sesame seed and other powder to create a paste! It was interesting! I had seen something similar online so I thought we should try it!
We stumbled upon this one food cart with such a long line that we thought it must be something delicious. So we got on line and took pictures as the line wrapped around the cart! :) The men making these little treats were so well practiced, they were so fast!!
We later found out this is were called Ssiat Hotteok (sweet pancake with seed). These pancakes were SO GOOD, that we had them almost every day. They are an original Busan street food, according to Google. :) They were also very nice and warm in the cold winter temperatures.
After eating a lot of other street food, we went on to find Bosu-dong Book Street, which was a winding street full of book stores!
Some men playing a game on the side of the street.
Me in the book alley!
Books on books on books, many of which were teetering! It was like walking into a bookstore from Harry Potter!
Next, we just wandered around, going down random streets!
Lights starting to turn on in little street stalls.
Loved this stone foundation!
Street art!
We stumbled upon a staircase to the Busan tower in Yongdusan Park! So we decided to climb up!
At the top, there were love locks and the fences were creaking with the weight of hundreds of little plastic hearts locked to the bridge with lovers and friends names on them!
The view from here was beautiful!!
When we were done, we walked back down to our little area and just walked through the streets along there. First though, we stopped for dessert at this adorable little cafe. I had hot wine to warm up, which was nice! :)
When we came back to the area we were staying in, there was some kind of performance going on in the square!

We continued on to an alley with a bunch of street art nearby, and finished our night off with some dinner!

I believe this was dak galbi, but I’m not sure! Basically it was pieces of chicken, rice cakes, cabbage, and other food! We opted for the cheese topping which was different!

And that was our first day-ish in Busan! :) More to come in the next post, when we met up with Dawn and saw some of my favorite parts of Busan!

A

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