Pusan/Busan… I dunno which spelling!

9 10 2008

Pusan is a fun, fun place, especially during PIFF. PIFF is the Pusan International Film Festival, and actually the largest film festival in all of Asia, so it’s actually a pretty big deal. But back to Pusan proper.

So I was in Pusan last weekend and we went down Friday morning. We stayed at the Gwangjang Tourist Hotel, across the street from the train station. It was a decent place that could fit seven to a room so it worked. Around the hotel is an… interesting place. A few streets down is ‘Texas Street’, which is where all the Russian and American sailors go to hang out… yea… We walked through there during the day without really realizing it and it was interesting. Lots of Russian ladies waiting outside buildings and such. There were also Filipinos ladies inviting us into their restaurants for cheeseburgers, in English. It was pretty weird and sketchy, but colorful I suppose.

After our adventure through Texas Street we moved onto Gwangan Beach, which is literally in the middle of the city. By the time we got there it was about 6PM, but that didn’t stop us from going for a quick swim. Despite the fact that it was late and October the water was actually really nice. We then went and got some really expensive sashimi stuff, which is cool in Korea as they eat it with chili paste instead of soy sauce like Japan, but I wouldn’t say it was worth as much as we paid. We then walked along the main drag which is parallel to a bridge that has basically a light show, see the pictures below, and it was a nice evening, even though I was sick by then. We finished the night with the cab going super fast through the streets of Pusan… like 100km/h… through a big city.

The next day (Saturday) a small group of us got up and went to the Jalgachi Fish Market, which is supposed to be the biggest one in Pusan (there are many others). It was a pretty cool open air fish market, that actually barely smelled of fish, so you know it was good. We walked around and saw all the many fish to eat, even a few sharks for sale… there was also alot of blood there… After that we stopped at one of the many eateries along the way and got ourselves our very own octopus to eat, killed especially for us! This made it expensive too! It was pretty good though, sadly it wasn’t the raw, living octopus we were after, but it was good none the less, once again with chili paste.

After the sea we went into the mountains, literally. We went across town and hiked up a mountain in search of what we heard was a really cool hidden Buddhist temple. It took a good two hours to get there from when we started hiking, but it was sooo worth it. We met some random 60 year old guy up there who showed us the way and provided us with gimbap (rolls of rice with veggies, like sushi but without fish) and soju (alcohol!). This moment made me realize why Korean people love hiking so much, it gives them an excuse to drink in a really nice location. Once we got to the temple I was also once again really impressed, there were carvings in the rock wall and it was pretty cool to see that sort of thing in person. We then got to hike all the way down and go to another temple, Beomeosa, which is big and commercialized and not as cool, but they were having a concert there and these Korean girls were singing “It’s Raining Men” and “Dancing Queen”… it was a bit weird.

After the temple runs we went back to the ocean to Haeundae Beach, which is the big popular one. There we had a boat tour of Pusan which was cool and colorful since it was by then night time. After that we just sat on the beach, drank, and played games. We did have a piggyback-ride race and I was champion so I am happy with that. Given I was the biggest and carrying one of the smallest girls. It was a fun night.

On Sunday we went to go see a PIFF movie which was interesting. The movie we say was ‘Decade of Love’ and was a Hong Kong movie. It wasn’t the best movie, but it was interesting. I don’t feel like explaining it so I won’t… maybe try google? After that we walked to this park next to Haeundae beach (yes, we were there again) which was really cool, and it almost seemed like a fantasy land or something. I didn’t quite feel like it was a real place… I don’t know. After that we had the wonderful experience of taking the KTX (Korean Express Train) back to Seoul where I was sad to be away from the ocean.

Overall, it was a really fun weekend and I hope to go back to Pusan sometime, and I recommend that you go to Pusan as well. Here are some pictures:

Gwangan Beach at day/dusk

Gwangan Bridge at night

Jalgachi Fish Market

The hidden temple with some of the stone carvings, there were many more

Some of Haeundae Beach with Pusan in the background





Seoul FC Game

28 09 2008

So today I went to an FC Seoul Game at the World Cup Stadium, which is literally down the street from my apartment. They were playing the Chunnam Dragons, which I was told are supposed to be a pretty good team, but they did lose 3-0 so who knows. Either way it was pretty fun to go see a game. The goals were all pretty well done so I can’t complain. The cheering was enthusiastic, but were not ridiculous like they were at Yon-Ko Jeon. I was actually able to sit down the entire game, which was nice. I also had a really good sausage from a microwave which was amusing. The accompanying beer (Hite) was bad as usual.

After the game we went to the shopping mall in the stadium… yes there is a full shopping mall inside the stadium, not just next to it. Had some dinner, Kimchi Tonkassu, and all was well. On the way out some of my friends got jackets and then we got a soccer ball to play around with outside. Good ol’ fun in Seoul as always.





So Jet Lagging Sucks

27 08 2008

As the titles says, being jet lagged sucks. I have felt really bad all day, maybe due to the fact I only got about six hours of sleep, and had a very strange waking up experience that took about one second, which was odd. Normally my waking up is a very protracted process. I am definitely tired out right now though. It was another fun day, but it was also exhausting. I am definitely going to take tonight easy and rest up for tomorrow, which will probably end with something (probably drinking).

I do have a picture to show off though! We went onto one of the guys’ brother’s roof and it has a great view of Seoul and Sinchon. So here it is:

The view over the river

A big street in Sinchon





Packing up

23 08 2008

So I am currently packing up stuff… I’m not going to be overly dramatic and say I am packing up my life, because I am not doing that. I am just packing clothes and such. That’s not what I wanted to say though, what I wanted to say is that I hate packing. I am writing this post to delay the packing effort a little, also my laundry hasn’t been finished so I am waiting on that. Luckily my friends are coming over in about 20 minutes to have a little goodbye dinner thing and to generally hang out.

That is another good thing to delay my packing. The only concern I have with this packing up of stuff is whether or not I can confine everything to duffel bags. I hate wheely bags when travelling countries. I feel so stupid rolling them and they get in the way if public transport is in the works. Luckily, I do enjoy traveling by myself though, as I can do whatever I want and don’t have to wait or do what others would prefer. It makes my mind happy as I can focus on nothing really.

I don’t really feel like I am going to South Korea tomorrow. I think I should be feeling a bit more anxious or nervous about going to a new country where I do not speak the language or know much, but I am not so whatever. I didn’t even really do much for last things before I go. Overall, this pre-departure experience has been pretty easy and not all that nervous making, which I am a fan of.

So I guess tomorrow is the big day, when this blog will actually begin to explain things about my travels to Korea. So far it hasn’t had too much to do with Korea, so it should be a good change of pace. So probably the next time you hear from me I will be in a new place, across the world, where I know nothing. Then you will get a better understanding of what happens in Seoul.





Korean Movie Review: Sex is Zero & Flying Boys

2 08 2008

So I decided that maybe doing something constructive in this blog… like movie reviews would be a good idea, so here is my first movie review, which is a double feature. Tonight I will be talking about the Korean movies ‘Sex is Zero’ and ‘Flying Boys’. I don’t really know what I am doing so please… cut me some slack.

Sex is Zero

Sex is Zero Cover

So what I read about this movie before I saw it was that it was a kind of Korean ‘American Pie’, which to an extent is true, but saying it is like ‘American Pie’ is not doing it justice. This movie is far better. The basic plot is that our protagonist, Eunsik, is basically the unluckiest/ most bumbling guy ever and is in love with a girl on the aerobics team (which I think is more like a gymnastics team… but only on the floor) and she, of course, likes the popular, good-looking bastard. Eunsik is also in a crazy club where they seem to just cause as much pain to themselves as possible, basically on the same level of weirdness as the aerobics club being called aerobics… Anyways the movie is quite funny and made me laugh quite often, it is supposed to be a comedy. NEW PARAGRAPH!

I would say there are several rather disgusting moments in the beginning, especially for guys, but I don’t want to spoil anything as seeing them for the first time adds a good amount to the shock value. A very surprising thing in this movie comes about 2/3 of the way through when the movie starts to have a more serious, endearing tone for a bit. This is not a bad thing, in fact, I would say it legitimizes the movie, it is just pretty unexpected in this type of movie. Overall, I would say this movie is quite good for the person that wants to be entertained, but not someone that wants to see a cinematic wonder. Its good, but I would not recommend it to everyone as a must see.

Score: 7.5/10

 

Flying Boys

Flying Boys Cover

This movie I went into fairly blind. It is a story about growing up and finding your way after high school. The main character, Min-Jae, was raised by an absent father, who is a commercial airline pilot, and his life is just in general not working out for him, nor for any of his friends. He is tired of the way things are going and wants to break away from the rut of his life. Luckily he is just about done with high school, in his senior year, and taking his college exams. After exams are done him and his friends decide to go have a bit of a drink and drive around in his dad’s car, both of which are illegal for them to do. He is then caught by a ballet teacher who blackmails him and his friends to take her class.

The girl that lives down the hall from Min-Jae, who he also has a crush on, is forced to take the same class as him. That is the basic premise of the movie. There is alot more to it, but I cannot just go and ruin the rest of the story for you. This movie is funny, with a few serious moments, though in the context of everything it works pretty well. I thought it was an interesting story about how people that finish high school can feel like they are stuck in a kind of limbo, and how expectations for life can be shattered. Overall I would say that this would be a great movie for anyone that has felt lost in life, which is probably quite a few people.

Score: 8.5/10

 

So this is my first movie review, ever. So if it sucks please be friendly and don’t hate me for it. I do not claim to know much about Korean culture yet so if I sound ignorant… it is because I am. Maybe after going to Korea I will re-watch these movies and see how they are after that. Anyways 4 AM for me so time to go to sleep