October 4, 2010

Busan Part 2

Again, my Chuseok trip to Busan exceeded all of my expectations. I loved the city and all it had to offer me. I guess I will pick up my story at my day spent at Haeundae Beach. This is the most popular beach in Busan and some people even consider it to be Korea's best beach. Our trip was the last warm weekend before fall hit, so the beach was fairly empty (which we enjoyed). Haeundae had a beautiful vibe to it; a mix of sky crapping city buildings and then rock cliffs covered in colorful houses. Something very unique to the area.

The only people lounging in their two pieces on the sand were foreigners; however, we were told during the peak summer weekends the entire beach is packed. Check out the image I found of Haeundae during the summer!

The other popular beach in Busan is called Gwangallli Beach. This beach is known for its cafes, restaurants and night clubs; which is why is draws the younger crowd. Gwangalli sits in a cove surrounded by the Gwangan Bridge. At night the bridge lights up and gives the Gwangalli beach front an impressive view. Our group spent an evening wondering the beach front cafes and bars admiring the sky line.

That night we ventured out into the Busan nightlife and yet again we were pleasantly surprised. Tons of fun bars and clubs with crowded and vibrant streets full of young people, Busan was a blast. On our way to a 3 story club called Foxy, we stumbled across a familiar street game: hit the nail into the wood block with a hammer. A game frequented by many UW students at Bulls or as some people call it Rams Head (I refused to call it anything but Bulls). Since we all considered ourselves veterans, we decided to give it a try for only 1,000 won. Lets just say the Korean version was near impossible and the idea of 10 foreigners playing the game drew a crowd of at least 40 Koreans.

The next morning a crew of us ventured to the largest fish market in Korea: Jagalchi Fish Market. Jagalchi was right on the harbor, filling a three story warehouse building with every sea creature you could imagine eating, surrounded by alleys full of fish vendors.

Here is a video of a man skinning eels by putting a nail into their heads and peeling their body out of their skin. Once he places the skinned body into the bowl the eels keep squirming. Lets just say it was interesting to watch happen.

As we wondered through the market eyeing shellfish and tanks fill of un-named animals, we wondered what lunch had in-store for us. We then passed an area of the market that seemed to be some sort of a restaurant. As we passed different fish tanks men would pull fish out of the tank and start yelling numbers at us. We soon realized that they were trying to sell us sashimi. We found the right fish at the right price and decided sashimi would be lunch. The man grabbed the fish, cut its neck and held it up screaming "SASHIMI!!!", while fresh blood was dripping on the ground. He scaled it, took out the organs and the fish was cut and ready to be consumed within 5 minutes of its death. This was the freshest fish I have ever eaten, and it was delicious.

A few blocks away from sashimi heaven, was the "Can" Market or the Ggangtong Market. This market was tucked back into a couple dark alleys and had everything under the sun. We sifted through sweaters, leather jackets, vintage Prada purses, Obama socks and BB guns. Also in the middle of one of the alleys we found a make shift market restaurant. 30 or 40 women were sitting on stools in the middle of the alley surrounded by kimpop (type of Korean sushi), rice, noodles and other typical Korean street food. We obviously stopped for a meal on the tiny stools. I love street food!

My Chuseok vacation to Busan was perfect to say the least. I can't wait for my next opportunity to explore Korea. Thanks for reading!

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