Tag Archive: busan


Hue

Got on a bus from Hoi An for 4 (turned 3) hours to Hue stopping at a lookout point called Thua Thien Hue but didn’t get enough time to go to the top (so I didn’t see the point in stopping at all). Yes, nice views, but if there is a hike why not give us time to do it? The sells were very pushy and touched me twice L we also saw a truck full of dogs three times which smelt terrible. The last time we saw them they were getting sprayed down.

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Upon arriving in Hue, we went to lunch at Ushi where I got vegetable soup that ended up being just morning glory in water…only 15,000 though. Walked to central market (went over Truong Tien Bridge which is an ugly color and has construction) which was a lot like Goje market in Busan with souvenirs because it had vegetables and cooking things and housework items. We then walked through a park next to Perfume river and I told a guy I was Korean just for him to go away. On to the Imperial Citadel (palace) which cost 105,000 (which is much more than 55,000 as advertised in lonely planet). It’s pretty much the only thing to see in the city.

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It was mostly construction and trash which makes me question Vietnamese people–why not take care of your history? This was not the first thing we had seen like this. We’re not even sure what we saw because there were no signs. Their map and the lonely planet map didn’t add up either.

The pagoda/rest area-gondola was really nice as were the bushes made like turtles which were both inside the Purple Forbidden City. There was a nice dragon statue just beyond the main gate too, but we could not get over the trash. Closed at 5:30 and one in our group was very concerned we would not get out. Just then, matt found the temples and Hien Lam Pavilion which all looked beautiful. We then walked back to the Ngo Mon gate to find it was closed…so we went around to the next gate (Hien Hhom) to leave. I tried to go in that one at first but it is only an exit. The palace is a lot smaller than it seems. Back to the hotel for 6:30 for dinner at 7:30.

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Dinner at Le’s was good food with good drinks (but really standard drink deals) but the staff were too ‘helpful’. I don’t need someone behind me the whole time or chatting to me about my water bottle and such. They gave us jenga after dinner and asked if we were too tired because we didn’t want to play. Weird. 39,000 for fried rice with vegetables but really good. They were very on top of clearing plates too. Walked to Brown Eyes for free shots after but I went home because I was tired.

In the morning, some of us decided to go to Thin Mu. It was supposed to be 3km from a bridge that was 1 km away but it turned out to be 6.4km total so someone messed up on the map.

The walk was interesting because there was no sidewalk and lots of rundown temples and trash. Another sign of the Vietnamese not taking care of their country and history. Eventually found the pagoda at 11:40 meaning we had to go straight back so 4 of the group could check out and we all could eat. Got some good pics and saw the car a monk rode in before he burned himself because of abuses the government took on monks.

Haggled from 40,000 each to 22,000 each for a boat and then she dropped us at a different spot than she said she would (1 bridge early) because of police (?)

Back to the hotel to find a good restaurant and it turned out DMZ was supposed to be good, based on Trip Advisor. Service had no idea what was going on and food was okay. #5 on trip advisor? Not anymore…Our server could hardly take our orders but she understood when I said their ranking was about to go down. Most got pizza or pasta to bulk up for a 14 hour train ride.

Gyeongju

I went to Gyeongju over the past weekend, which is well known for being a historic city. It has more UNESCO sites than the rest of Korea combined. Most of them are burial mounds. Some were excavated by Sweden, but I’m not sure why. If there are two close to one another they are King and Queen.

You’re allowed to go inside one of them as well, however you have to pay for that. It’s 1,500 for adult entry, but also allows you into a beautiful park as well. It’s difficult to get pictures inside the mound, as it is dark and everything that was inside is behind glass. You’re also not allowed to take pictures, which I saw on the way out, but there was no one there to stop me anyway.

After this we went to Cheomseongdae which was built between 632-647 and is the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia. It was filled with dirt up to the 12th layer of exterior stones (which are quite large) and people could observe from there up to the 15th layer.

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There is a bug bus that goes around this area as well, which is super cute! This park includes a few mounds, places to keep ice, the tower above, rapeseed fields, old buildings, and at the time, a concert area.

Gyeongju 052From there we went to Anapji Pond, which is very beautiful, manicured, and mostly reconstructed.

Gyeongju 076 Gyeongju 096Nearby is the National Museum, which I didn’t find too interesting. Most is reconstructions of things you will see around the town. Also, the main part is closed right now. Good thing it’s free.

Stayed at Potato Motel which gave us a 10,000 discount from 70,000 to 60,000 when I made a face. Dinner at Han’s Deli was pretty good, but mine was too spicy. If we weren’t too tired, we probably would have sat there for longer so I could eat, but I was going to fall asleep from walking around in 90% humidity and 30C weather.

The next day we went to Bulguksa Temple which is accessible via the 10 or 11 bus which cost 1,500 won each (fitting, as the bus ride takes about half an hour). Be sure to get off at the stop next to the parking lot, not another with a similar name that is surrounded by shops. From the bus stop, go up the right walkway as it goes though a park where people are selling food, drinks and standard Korean souvenirs (the left is for cars but has a sidewalk as well).

At the top you have to pay an entrance fee of 4,000.

Once inside you walk quite a bit more. All of the stonework is original, as that was not effected when Japan burned them down (of course it wasn’t effected, and of course Japan burned it down–like everything in Korea at some point…). However, this was burned down far before the 1911 invasion.

There is still reconstruction going on. Behind the main temple and the largest stairs photoed below you can see a building which ruins the photo. We had to go around and up to see that that is where the reconstruction is going on, and the building is to protect the pieces. Current reconstruction is of a pagoda which had a crack on the 3rd level.

Gyeongju 150We had just missed the bus to go to Seokguram (they leave every hour on the hour) and it was too hot to walk the 30-50 minutes so we headed back.

Buses to Busan leave every hour on the hour, except around 6:00 when they leave at 6:00, 6:40, and then 7:40, 8:40….etc.

Buses there from Busan leave every 30 minutes.

This weekend I did a hike from Jangsan subway to Songjeong Beach to Haedong Yonggungsa Water Temple.

We started to follow these directions to Songjeong and these to Haedong Yonggungsa Water Temple but the Koreans with us kept asking people along the way and then changed course multiple times….so below is what we actually did.

From exit 1of Jangsan, turn right for a bit (past what I think was a school because it had tons of kids toys out front) and then left at the big intersection and follow that until you are at the top of a hill. This will all be though apartment complexes.

From the top of the hill turn left and go uphill on the wooden path next to the road. We got to the top of that and were told we had to go back because it is ‘too dangerous’ to go down the way I wanted. This was from Koreans, and most of us agreed that it probably was not dangerous at all (in a country where you’re not allowed to go in the ocean more than 20 feet and have to wear a life vest at water parks, something being ‘dangerous’ could be exaggerated) but some people were wearing flip-flops and the Koreans with us didn’t want to go that way.

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Here we went back to the start of the wooden path and went down some steps and followed the road, veering left and following the road past some seafood restaurants until it ended and we climbed over some rocks to get to a railroad we had to walk next to for a bit. A train came which was pretty scary (and hot) and we saw a sign later saying there is a 10,000,000 won fine for walking there (although at the place we started it was obvious that many people did this and the sign there just said ‘danger, keep a look out and don’t walk on the tracks’).

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When we could, we stopped walking next to the tracks and followed another road along the coast until we got to Songjeong Beach.

HIke to Temple 026We hung out here for a bit and listened to funny announcements, such as ones telling us that this beach is for relaxing, and no ball playing is allowed or another one saying that if you take your pet into the water it will confuse other people so don’t do it.

From the other end of the beach walk left (if you go right you will go around a little island) and walk along the street until you get to a CU. We went behind it and downhill to another fishing village and kept going as straight as we could. At one point the paved road ends and becomes a dirt road, then there are some pipes we thought were for sewage which you have to jump over and walk along a very dirty beach. After that you go into a wooded area which has the trail. I wanted to keep going past the CU and turn in when the wooded area started, so if you want to skip the fishing villages and jumping over a sewage line you can try that.

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From here we went around the coast and saw a few military buildings and a look out point.

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To get to the temple we had to wiggle under a gate. I’m sure there was a way to not have to do this as we saw some people coming from that way and signs inside saying to go a different way than the one we came, but oh well.

Temple Stay

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The monthly event at Hongbeopsa Temple for July was a temple stay. As opposed to being free, like all their other events are, this one was 20,000 won, compared to 40,000-50,000 for other temple stays.

At 3pm we arrived, checked in, went to our rooms and changed. Next, we had orientation and met a monk from Texas. She came to Korea in 2001 as a teacher and in 2004 became an ordained monk. She had to travel 5 hours to be with us for the temple stay. I am very grateful that she came because she was able to better explain everything we were doing, why we did it as well as what our Western perceptions were as opposed to what is real.

There are two main ways to hold your hands. One is pushed together, so no light gets though, with your arms flat. The other is to hold your right hand in your left hand, because the right does the bad things, and place them just below your belly button. This is where our energy comes from, and where breathing comes from when we are younger–if you look at a baby, their stomach moves when they breath, not their chest. It is also important to have good posture, to make breathing easier.

Then, we did the Heart Sutra which is the ‘heart’ of Buddhism. Overall, it is about emptiness, which is not negative, but rather just a different state.

After we had a break and then silent dinner, which was not too silent because the head monk kept giving us directions on how to lay out our bowls, how to receive the food, how to eat, and how to clean. It lasted an hour and a half but was only silent for about 20 minutes.

You are given 4 bowls that are wrapped in a cloth, with a place mat folded underneath, napkin on top, and chopsticks and a spoon on top of that.

Everything must be taken apart in a special way. Untied, folded in half, the napkin and utensils placed on your left knee, and then the tie is folded in half again. The lid is then removed from the bowls and the tie is placed on top. Then, the  place mat is unfolded in a the bowls are placed in the left bottom square–this one is for rice. The 2nd largest goes in the right bottom square–this one is for soup. The 3rd largest goes in the right top square–this is for water. The 4th largest (smallest) goes in the left top square–this one is for ‘side dishes’–vegetables and tofu as well as a yellow squash to clean the bowls after.  The utensils are placed in the water bowl and the napkin on top of tie.

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The water is then poured into the largest bowl, swirled around, poured right, swirled around, poured diagonal, swirled around, poured right. Next rice is served and we place it to our foreheads to say thanks. Next, soup is served, then the side dishes are passed.

When you eat, you must hold your bowl up to your face so no one sees your eating face. This just made us look around the room a lot–I kept finding my eyes were wandering.

To clean warm rice water was poured into the rice bowl and you had to use the yellow squash to clean it by pressing the squash against the bowl with chopsticks. This was poured right, and diagonal. After, we drank the hot rice water so there was no waste. We were also supposed to eat the yellow squash which I find disgusting so I did not eat it. A bunch of ladies in training tried to force me but the head monk made them stop. The hot rice water was not bad to drink, it was just chunky and pulpy which I also find disgusting–I always buy no pulp. Finally the water was poured around the bowls again and then poured into large buckets. Finally, we put the bowls back together with the lid on and place them in a crate and the napkin and other cloth items in another crate with the utensils.

Next we had another recess followed by meditation. First we did chanting, which was done in Korean so only the Koreans and the Texas monk chanted–everyone else just followed their actions of bowing. Next was sitting silent meditation for 30 minutes, followed by silent walking for 10, then silent sitting again for 20. During the sitting, we had our hands in another position: making a circle with our fingers overlapping on the bottom and the thumbs just touching on the top. They should not be pushing but just enough together to hold a piece of paper up.

A good way to clear your mind and not zone out is to count to 10 or to chant something in your head that you want to change.  Meditation should not be something where you are repressing other thoughts; my favorite metaphor she used for this was that a rock does not stop grass growing forever–when you pick up the rock, the grass will grow again.

Next we had fruit and went to our rooms at 10. Some people sounded like they were throwing a party which was frustrating since we had to be outside at 4:00. At 10:30 the noise stopped completely though.

At 4am we went outside and did walking meditation around the grounds and then into the temple. We then did 30 minutes of silent sitting meditation followed by the 108 bows which seemed to go by quickly. I was not counting, but it took about 10 for me to get into a rhythm and at about 70 I was just falling to my knees, not going down slowly; however for the last 10 I was back into a rhythm. After, we did walking meditation next to a river which was beautiful. By the time we started walking the sun had come up and rose beautifully behind the Buddha statue atop the temple.

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Next was a little break followed by picking up leaves, as monks need to be self sufficient and this was our lesson in that.

After was breakfast which was rice, vegetables, tofu, and bean sprout soup. Again, we cleaned our own bowls but this time we were able to use sinks.

Next we made bracelets which was frustrating. We put beads onto string, which was then tied in a certain way that I never saw because it was taken from me, then given back assuming I knew what she did when her hands were covering anything I was supposed to see. It reminded me of kite making where we were supposed to do the work but everyone came over and did everything for us. Not what I signed up for. I figured out how to continue doing the loop she had done and finished but she laughed at it because it was a spiral and not straight. Oh well, it worked. Many others had the same problem and had a monk make theirs for them. After we finished the drawstring part we added on beads at the ends of the drawstrings and did a different loop there. We were all given one large bead and told not to use it. I then had to give it back to the person leading us. Strange. There were also bracelets made by monks that were supposed to be given by the best 3–and none were given to anyone. Stranger.

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We ended up leaving at 10:30 instead of 10:00 so it was impossible for me to make the hike that was going on on Sunday. I should have known better because these events always end late.

The coy fish were acting strange. Kissy kissy!

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Second time going to this park, thought I’d end up at the same entrance as before, but nope! Not sure how the bus schedule works out here, but we took the same bus and ended up at at the Naejangsan National Park Office and not the Naejangsan National Park Southern Office.

We left Sunday morning on the first bus (8:15) from Gwangju, getting in around 9:15. From the town we walked to the Park Office and paid 3,000 to go in. From there, to the Information Center, past Woohwaejeong Lake, the Cable Car and then the Wooden gate, or Iljmun. From there we went to the Temple of Naejangsa, and up to Wonjeokam and up further to Bulchulbong which is 622 meters. Next was up to Manghaebong (679 meters), down to Yeonjibong (670 meters), up to Kkachibong (717 meters) and then down though Geumseong Valley back to Naejangsa. See below for the map, we followed the purple line.

Hiking Course 2The buses leave from near the National Park Office (10 minutes away) at 9:40, 12:00, and 4:15.

From the Park to the Naejangsa you will be walking under trees like below and past Woohwajeong Lake which has a pagoda.

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The Wooden Gate, or Iljumun, is below and is 10 minutes before Naejangsa temple.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 209Naejangsa Temple has a 3 story pagoda and many lanternsSome food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 228 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 231 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 234The next temple, Wonjeokam, was up quite high and had a view, half golden painted Buddha, and a dog!

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 243 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 247From there, it took 30 minutes to go .8 kilometers, which should give you a hint as to how difficult it was! Basically stairs the whole way.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 252 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 254 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 257 The next peaks were 678 meters and 670 meters. Finally, the highest was 717.

Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 280 Some food, Gwangju, Naesangjan, and more food 281The way back was mostly following a river.

Natural Dyeing

This month, the event at the Buddhist temple that I went to twice before.

The handout they gave us had this written on it:

Origins of Natural Dye

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources – roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood – and organic sources such as fungi and lichens.

Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects have been traced back more than 5,000 years. The essential process of dyeing changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water and then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, which is heated and stirred until the color is transferred. Textile fiber may be dyed before spinning (dyed in the wool), but most textiles are yarn-dyed or piece-dyed after weaving. Many natural dyes require the use of chemicals called mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibers; tannin from oak galls, salt, natural alum, vinegar, and ammonia from stale urine were used by early dyers. Many mordants, and some dyes themselves, produce strong odors, and large-scale dyeworks were often isolated in their own districts.

A variety of plants produce red dyes, including a number of lichens, henna, alkanet or dyer’s bugloss, asafoetida and madder. Madder and related plants of the Rubia family are native to many temperate zones around the world, and have been used as a source of good red dye since prehistory.

Process of Natural Dye

The essential process of dyeing requires soaking the material containing the dye (the dyestuff) in water, adding the textile to be dyed to the resulting solution (the dyebath), and bringing the solution to a simmer for an extended period, often measured in days or even weeks, stirring occasionally until the color has evenly transferred to the textiles.

Some dyestuffs, such as indigo and lichens, will give good color when used alone; these dyes are called direct dyes or substantive dyes. The majority of plant dyes, however, also require the use of a mordant, a chemical used to “fix” the color in the textile fibers. These days are called adjective dyes. By using different mordants, dyers can often obtain a variety of colors and shares from the same dye. Fibers or cloth may be pretreated with mordants, or the mordant may be incorporated in the dyebath. In traditional dyeing, the common mordants are vinegar, tannin from oak bark, sumac, or oak galls, ammonia from stale urine, and wood-ash liquor or potash (potassium carbonate) made by leaching wood ashes and evaporating the solution. (Above is from Wikipedia.)

 

I was a bit disappointed to see ‘taken from Wikipedia’ but still.

They gave us an explanation as well, saying that the green dye had plants (mud something…it looked like seaweed) and the red dye had flowers. I can’t remember what the brown dye had in it. I guess another time they had bright blue and yellow as well.

We started with a pot of dye that we had to bring to a near boil and throw all of our rags in.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 217We had to push the handkerchiefs/bandannas around in the dye, wearing two pairs of gloves. The little kids did most of this part.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 229It was then transferred to another bowl and the dye master helped us!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 233It was then put back into the pot to boil, and the second bowl had water and a binding powder added to it. It was rinsed back and forth between the dye and the binding water. After it was rinsed in cold water.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 242The final product!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 241 Baseball and Natural Dyeing 262

My first baseball game!

I went to my first Korean baseball game on Saturday! Of course I went to go see the Lotte Giants.

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Baseball in Korea (and Japan) is very different from baseball in the US–everyone is chanting nearly the whole time, you can bring food and drinks inside and even those inside are not expensive, and the games go a lot faster than in the US. Also, there are no assigned seats, and the prices go from 7,000 won to 25,000 won! So cheap! I could never get Red Sox tickets at that price. Here’s a layout of the seating area. There aren’t that many colors in the seats, but I guess this is more price breakdown. There are blue, orange and green. Green have trays and less fun (so I’m told).

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The stadium is between Sports Complex and Sajik and Korea was playing Hanwha which we knew would be an interesting game, due to racist comments one of their players made against the African-American player for Busan. Everyone boo’d  Kim Tae-kyun (the Korean who made racist comments) whenever he went up to bat which was really moving. He was stuck-out on Friday by Shane Youman (the African-American player), but on Saturday he got some hits and helped others score. Oh well. Busan lost in the end.

As per standard Korea, there were Soju mascots. These are not team mascots, Busans mascot is the Seagull.

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There is a cheer-master who helps out with the crowd at the start of the game. He also goes to the Fireworks show. This is the same stage that the cheerleaders go on as well.

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Here’s Busan scoring!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 026And Busan getting an out.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 067Two twins battling!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 071A hit by the other team!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 102Oh, and Busan fans put trash bags on their heads at the end to show support. Either a balloon like thing or Minny Mouse ears like mine.

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Fringe, Sandcastles, and Planes

A busy weekend in Haeundae!

Fringe Festival

A arts festival with music, water fights (not sure how that’s artistic) and a parade. Something’s up with my camera so I couldn’t get video of any of the music. And I missed most of watching rugby later at night.

The water fight was interesting because there were two sides but people just seemed to be shooting anyone, including one person who was standing outside the barrier shooting in–cheating! There were sprinklers attached to trees as well and they were spraying outside as well!

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 004Later, after the air show, I saw a parade from the Lovin Hut “vegan” restaurant–they sell steak and my pasta had ham in it but maybe it was fake–so it was a great view as it was on the second floor.

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Doko signs held by kids dressed to the tops in their Tae-Kwan-Do finest. Above was my favorite sign because it seemed to show a transformers battle.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 183 Superheros Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 188

A bandFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 190

Not sure what this is other than intense costumes. The theme was Hollywood (for this and the sandcastles) so that explains some of the costumes….Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 192

…but not the triple head ones–why do they have two heads on top of their heads???Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 194

Fancy dressesFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 196

Chinese DragonFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 199And zombies. Because why not?

Sandcastle Festival

Westerners wouldn’t really call these sandcastles, as the professional ones are more carving than anything else. The theme was Hollywood so they were all film based, other than on of Psy, of course. I wondered why he was there other than being a Korean hero. I can’t stand him anymore.

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PSY, Superman, Spiderman, Batman and the Hulk. These were all a bit too kiddie and animated for me (when did Superman wear braces?) for me, but they were the only ones in color.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 014

King Kong, Star Wars, and more SupermanFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 016

CarsFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 018

Titanic and James Bond….don’t think they were going for this look

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Charlie Chaplin

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Marilyn MonroeFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 031

and Shrek

The non professional ones were more like sandcastles, not all though. There were some really good ones! People were going around and watering them as well to make sure they didn’t fall apart, which seems like a huge time commitment. It was set up for kids but it was all parents doing it.

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a pretty good houseFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 039

snakeFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 041

The flying penguin who I never remember the name ofFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 044

Hello KittyFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 045

Lobster

Air Show

Not much to say here, other than they are new to doing shows in Busan and called the Blue Eagles. They made a heart and the middle of the Korean flag.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 056 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 057 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 058 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 072 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 106 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 137 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 150 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 170

Global Gathering, Take 2

This past weekend was the Global Gathering. The last one was in October or November, and it was such a big hit that they had another one earlier in the year. As last time, it was not well promoted.

Global Gathering 001Some ambassadors even showed up! At least that’s who we thought they were. Chinese guys in suits surrounded by cameras shaking hands with everyone at the Chinese stands. The Chinese stand was selling beet for 1,000W too!

Some places were not really selling cultural food, as one stand was selling Peach Ice Tea from Lipton containers and many were selling kebabs and Turkish Ice Cream. I did get some spring rolls, potato pattys, and fritters as well as a Brazilian drink (that should have some sort of rum but instead had vodka) and Mango Lassi.

There were some interesting cooking methods on display as well, such as solar and biking.

Global Gathering 050 Global Gathering 054

For dancing and music, there was….

Global Gathering 027traditonal Korean–I’ve seen this plenty of times but it’s great to watch the hat dancers!Global Gathering 072

Brazilian martial arts–started slow but got interesting with this next pictureGlobal Gathering 079

Brazilian martial arts–hand stands!Global Gathering 097

Japanese–pretty slow but great costumesGlobal Gathering 101

Japanese–I was really impressed with this guy, that flag would weight a ton!Global Gathering 123

And this guy was really into the Japanese musicGlobal Gathering 143

Kenyan–looked like me drunk dancingGlobal Gathering 176

Ta-Kwan-do Global Gathering 188
Ta-Kwan-do Global Gathering 209

Ta-Kwan-do

And finally, Ta-Kwan-do dancing and Break Dancing. I wish I could post the videos but I can’t figure it out (someone let me know how to!). The whole time my friends and I were talking about how amazing they are. Slow-motion kicks above their heads? I’d fall over. Back flips from standing on a hard floor? I’d be too scared to start and just land on my back. We also came to the conclusion that the reason Korea are the best at break dancing is because a lot of kids are raised doing Ta-Kwan-do.

There were also tons of photographs from the 1960s and 1970s vs today which showed how quickly Busan has developed.

Global Gathering 042 Global Gathering 043 Global Gathering 044 Global Gathering 046And, of course, plenty of cute things to take pictures with…or punch in the face.

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Caribbean Bay

Caribbean Bay + DMZ + Seoul 003

Long weekend for Buddha’s Birthday so a friend and I went up to Everland’s water park–Caribbean Bay! You can take a bus via Pusan Tours to Everland and swap the ticket for a Caribbean Bay ticket (but you need your guide with the ticket receipt). Once they start selling more tickets for Caribbean Bay I’m sure you’ll be able to buy them from Pusan Tours too.

The inside part of Caribbean Bay opens at 9:30 and is open year round but the outside part (which opened when I went–MAY 17th!) opens at 11. Not all the rides were open, some open June 1st, but I’m not sure if we would have had time for all that!

Overall, you have to take off all jewelry (or anything that can fall off) and earrings–for your safety which I call b.s. because they just don’t want to have to find your necklace at the bottom of a pool. Many people wear life vests, but have them not buckled, so its competently a fashion statement. 90% of the water is not deep enough for adults to drown in (I could stand everywhere and I’m only 5’3″).

You can put money onto a wrist band to pay for things, but I don’t suggest doing that because the line for a refund is HUGE around the time people start leaving (and you don’t wanna spend half a day there, right?). What we did was take some money and put it in a mini locker with shoes, jewelry and shorts so we could access it easier than going back to the big lockers.

We started heading for the Wild River area right away but got detoured in Fortress by the Surfing Ride! Some people are basically professionals (at the ride–I don’t think they’d be good at a real beach). They brought their own bogy boards, wetsuits (yep wetsuits at a water park), hats, sunglasses, Roxy gear, Volcom gear, etc. and were in the line almost the whole time. We went for our first ride and last and saw the same people. There are many ways to fail at this ride. You can go left or right and get Lazy River’d–aka fall into another ride called Lazy River which goes around Fortress–or you can do what I did every time and get pushed over a bump and into a pool. I guess I was too light because the same thing happened to the little kids. Still fun.

Next we went to Wild Blaster which is a two person raft ride which was tons of fun! Lots of tubes to go though and splashing water.

Next we tried for Aqua Loop but if you have any jewelry you can go…so I couldn’t. My friend went and said it was basically water up your nose and a wedgie.

Next we tried to find food…but all the lines and restaurants were super packed and not veggie friendly. Lots of meat on a stick. I did get something similar to a snow cone though, with real fruit! Well, syrup and real fruit. They had churros which were dry and seemed like something new that year.

Next was Tower Boomerang Go and Tower Raft. They are right next to one another and Boomerang will probably have the longer line as it is just a massive drop. I felt my but in the air on this ride. While in line you can watch people and that is half the fun. Looks of fear and screaming…from grown men while their children laugh is always good. Raft had lots of turns and no big drops  but I went more than 50% up the curved walls which was terrifying. Screamed like a little girl (and not little girls on rides because they just laugh).

Next we went to the Wave Pool, where there is a green part where no one is allowed to stand EVER. If you don’t have a life vest you can’t be on the far side, even though with waves you just go up and down….the green part is the crash area which is the only ‘danger’. I still had fun. My friend who was on a swim club in school was pretty pissed though. There are a few pirate ships in the area and I got yelled up for going up it but then when the lifeguard saw my face he let me go…very strange.

We then went inside and did the Quick Ride which wasn’t that quick compared to the other rides. Maybe it’s quick because of the wait if you want a raft. For going without a raft there is a huge wait, but waiting for a solo or double raft was not too long and the wait at the top was not too long either. Fun ride, beautiful inside just because of the run shining though the tube. That’s on the 5th floor. The floors inside are pretty confusing. It’s all about 1/2 stair cases.

The 3rd floor is the best way to get on the Lazy River (depending on time, I’m sure). Lots of empty rafts are there and being collected so you can grab one and jump on going outside and back in. I’d say do two rounds and ignore the kids splashing and be lazyyyyy. It’s hard. But at some point you’ve gotta give up and stop saying ‘don’t push me!’

Their spa is pretty nice with 2 hot rooms and a hot pool.