This past weekend in Busan was so much more fun than I had originally anticipated. I didn't know how I was going to balance family time with fun time when Mark and Jamie arrived on Friday night. But the two blended well together and although I'm exhausted, I'm beyond satisfied.

I arrived in Busan on Thursday around noon. My brother John arrived a couple hours later from Daejeon--where he lives and goes to school--and together with my dad and cousin, we went out to dinner to celebrate John's birthday. The restaurant was a little out of the way but the food was so delicious. We had traditional chicken soup along with this really spicy chicken dish. I can't remember the name of it but it was so delicious. Eating chicken was a nice change to the usual pork and beef that I get when I go out to eat. For some reason, it's hard to find chicken prepared in other ways besides fried here.

After dinner, we went to a café for some espressos and chocolate. After drinking the espresso, I was obviously wired but it was 10 p.m. and my dad wanted to go home. My cousin, John and I decided to go to a karaoke room instead to burn off the caffeine. A few dozen love songs later, we were ready to head home and call it a night.

The following morning, John and I walked around Haeundae, which is the beach town of Busan, and then went to Shinsegae mall (the largest mall in the world!) to watch the new Michael Douglas/Shia LaBeouf movie "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," which I highly recommend.




[I think the marketing team should really invest in a native English speaker to do its ads...]


Once the movie was over, John and I met up with my cousin, dad and his coworker to celebrate my cousin's birthday. We had sushi and a lot of it! I'm not a big sushi fan (raw fish doesn't taste like anything to me) but it was yummy nonetheless. By the end of it, we were beyond full. We tried walking it off a little by going to E-Mart to buy some groceries for when Mark and Jamie arrived. But by the time we got home, we were still rubbing our bellies in pain and discomfort.

Jamie and Mark didn't arrive until 12:30 a.m. because some of the trains were sold out so they were a bit delayed. When they arrived, my dad drove all of us to a BBQ restaurant because they didn't have a chance to eat dinner before arriving in Busan. After our 1 a.m. dinner, Mark, Jamie, John and I went to a karaoke room (yes...again!) for, get this, 2 1/2 hours! I don't know where the time went and how we could possibly sing for that long but we managed to do it...and successfully at that.



[John trying to sleep]

The following morning, I had to wake up at 9 a.m. for an appointment at the spa that my dad's coworker made. It was relaxing but it took 3 hours. Meanwhile, Jamie and Mark got to sleep in without interruption until 1 p.m. When I was finally finished, I went back to the house to meet up with them so that we could explore the city for the rest of the day. Mark met up with an old friend he studied abroad with in Rome who is now teaching in Busan while Jamie and I went to the Busan National University area to shop and walk around.

The university was pretty far from Haeundae but we took the bus there and subway back, so we felt like we utilized their transportation system well. As expected, the university area was as crowded as ever and students swarmed the various streets and twisting alleyways. We shopped for a couple hours before making it back to Haeundae around 7 for dinner with my dad.



My dad took us to an Italian restaurant, where we enjoyed some nice wine, a beautiful view and good food. When we were seated and the bread was brought out, Mark said, "This is the first time I've seen olive oil in a month." At home, olive oil was a fundamental part of Mark's cooking and diet...here, however, the price of olive oil is absurdly high so Mark has decided to sacrifice his Italian love for it for the time being. Perhaps dinner helped hold him over for just a little while longer. ;)

After dinner, my dad took us to a couple different places that he frequents. The place we ended the night at was his friend's Italian restaurant that overlooks the ocean and bridge. Although there was some drizzle, the night sky seemed as clear as ever and the bridge's lights twinkled brightly as we sat at a table admiring its beauty and drinking cappuccinos.





On Sunday morning, we were supposed to visit Gyeongju, an area known for its numerous temples. However, because of the heavy rain, we changed our plans and visited Tongdo-sa, a temple about an hour out of the city. Tongdo-sa was built in 646 and according to legend, the location of Tongdo-sa was once a big lake where dragons lived.

[Rain makes my heart grow fonder]

[Fresh fruit waiting to be eaten for breakfast]

Although there was a light drizzle, there were still a lot of people visiting. I can see why though--the area was absolutely gorgeous. Leaves were changing colors and the streams of water were rapidly rushing down the slope. I could feel the fresh air cleansing my lungs. I know it sounds dramatic, but seriously, I never thought I'd appreciate fresh air as much as I do now. That's one thing I took for granted at home. Quick! Go run outside, breathe in a deep breath of fresh air and come back :)





[Mark drinking fresh mountain water]




After oo-ing and aw-ing at nature's beauty, we headed back to the car and drove to a nearby restaurant for an equally peaceful lunch. The room that we ate in had an open door to the restaurant's lush garden and there were 2 cats that kept hopping up to the little platform to say hi. I think they wanted our anchovies, which Jamie finally gave them as we were walking out.





We got back to the house around 5 p.m. and the three of us hailed a cab to the train station. Although we didn't really rest during our stay in Busan, we all agree that it was relaxing. We didn't overdo it...we went with the flow, eating different types of cuisines, walking slowly to enjoy the breeze, stopping when we wanted to. It was such nice change of pace.

Unfortunately, when we got to the train station, we were reminded that the relaxation and peace were only temporary and the rest of the world was going into panic and chaos overload. Every train was sold out until 9 p.m. People were yelling, sleeping on cardboard boxes, drinking soju, smelling weird...it was all bad. We bought tickets for a 9:20 train and jumped on to the 6:45 train, standing the entire way through. Although we had to pay a small fee ($7) for going on an earlier train, it was well worth it. Getting home at 9:30 p.m. as opposed to 1 a.m. after a long weekend is worth it anytime, wouldn't you agree?

I'm so thankful for how wonderful and hospitable my dad was during our mini vacation. I love blending family and friends together because it's just a huge conglomeration of love <3

I hope all of you had an equally wonderful and amazing weekend too!

Until next time, bisous xoxo!

PS- You'll notice that I changed my blog header (which was taken at Yellowstone National Park during my 6-week road trip) and format. Now, I am posting my photos via Flickr and whatever I don't post on this blog, you can view in the album here.

1 comment :

Laila said...

I'm in love with all of your photos, but especially these ones from Tongdo-sa!!