Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busan Beach

Notice that NO ONE is wearing a swimsuit.

Umbrellas a plenty.

It was like you were in a cave when sitting under the umbrellas.

Once again, everyone is fully clothed.

Heidi is in the middle.

Me and Heidi in our room before heading to the beach.

Teddy and Samantha at a burger place we found near the beach.

All three girls in a Taxi on our way back to the hotel after singing our hearts out at Korean Karaoke!

Last week I had Thursday and Friday off of work so me and three friends went to the beach at Busan which is a city on the southeastern coast of Korea. We took the slow train from Seoul to Busan and it took a little over 4 hours. It was a nice ride and I got to see a lot of the country. When we got to the hotel we checked in on the 3rd floor and then went to our room on the 10th floor. We decided to venture out and find some food. We wandered around a little and had dinner then went to the beach in the evening. It was funny because it was so crowded. There were people everywhere and it was pretty late. At one point we were in the bathroom at a hotel and I came out of the stall and said to my friend Samantha, "Hey look, there is hand sanitizer!" Then I proceeded to stick my hand under the dispenser and press the button. To my surprise a green liquid squirted into my hand. Just as I began to smell it's minty odor Samantha said, "Um, Kristin, I think that's mouthwash." We both busted out laughing because it was indeed mouthwash and there were little cups beside the dispenser that I hadn't noticed until it was too late. So I washed my hands and we were on our way. When we went back to the hotel we hit the button for the 10th floor to go straight to our rooms. We were perplexed when we were the only ones in the elevator and we still stopped on the 3rd floor. We quickly noticed that no matter if we were going up or down, the elevator would always stop on the 3rd floor so it became the running joke that we should think of reasons to stop on the 3rd floor when leaving or returning to the hotel.

The next day we went to Haeundae Beach. It's the most popular beach in Busan and today was no different. Once we got there all we could see was a sea of blue, white and orange umbrellas. Koreans typically don't like their skin to be exposed to the sun and so they had umbrellas as far as the eye could see in both directions that you could rent for about $5. They also offered yellow tubes to rent for $3 to float on in the ocean. I came prepared with my own tube, so I inflated it and we were on our way. At this point in the trip Teddy, his wife Samantha and I were the only ones there, Heidi joined us late that evening. Teddy opted to read and so Samantha and I went for a swim. We couldn't see the coastline until we got past all the rows of umbrellas. When we finally saw the water we were quite shocked at what we found. There were lifeguards in the water and they had sectioned off the places where people were allowed to swim. You were only allowed to swim between where the lifeguards stood and you couldn't go out very deep. There was never a point that I couldn't stand flat-footed. It was kind of silly. I never did figure out why there were restrictions on where we could swim, but I just figured because the surf was rough they wanted to be able to keep everyone in a sectioned area so it would be easier to watch them. Well being the expert swimmer that I am I wanted to go out deep past the breaking point of the waves and just float on the raft, well I learned very quickly that this was not permitted. Let's just say the lifeguards had whistles and weren't afraid to use them.

The next day we decided to go to a less crowded beach. It also had the sea of umbrellas and familiar yellow tubes. The three girls braved the freezing cold water and set out to relax on our tubes. This beach was in a cove and had a bridge going across the two sides of the cove that the beach looked out over. Because of this the waves were much more mild and there were no lifeguards telling us where to swim. However there were men on jet skis and boats that prevented us from swimming out too far. So we lazily let the current drift us down the coast and then we would swim back. During one of our treks back up the beach after floating down some boys greeted us in English. They wanted to practice their English and we were obliged to chat with them. One boy asked my name and I asked his. Then I asked how old he was and he said 18 which is American age 16 and I told him that I'm Korean age 28. We chatted with them for a little while why they showed off by wrestling around and splashing each other. It was pretty funny.

The next couple days were pretty uneventful. Teddy and Samantha left Sunday morning but Heidi and I wanted to hang out at the beach a little longer so we planned on leaving Sunday evening. After hanging at the beach and going to see a movie we made our way to the train station. Heidi is off the rest of this week so she agreed to come hang out with me in Daejeon on Monday. We go to the ticket kiosks and attempt to purchase tickets on the train. As we were checking prices for the fast train verses the slow train we discovered that the fast train was completely sold out for the rest of the night and that the slow train offered standing room only. Because I had to work on Monday and it was now around 9pm on Sunday, we had no choice but to take the 11pm train to Daejeon for standing room only. It ended up being a 3 and a half hour train ride. We decided to go straight to the dining car when we got on because they often have stools you can sit on. Well not surprisingly everyone without a seat had the same idea. So we ended up sitting on the floor for the entire ride while people were constantly walking passed us, tripping over us, and crowding around us. To make matters worse there were karaoke rooms behind us that people rented so that they could have a seat and they sang loudly in their typical Korean vibrato. By the time we got home around 3am we were ready to crash.

Overall the trip was amazing. And I for one would love to visit Busan again.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I remember Teddy and Samantha! I used to go to Bible Study with them. I miss them a lot!