After a perfectly exhausting day in Gyeongju we finally made it to the train station to head to Busan. The train was exactly 11 minutes late and my friend had started threatening to sue. That should tell you a little something about how efficient the transportation usually is here.
But it did arrive, and roughly an hour later we got off in Busan. We called a taxi, the first and only taxi I’ve used in Korea yes I’m very proud of myself, and headed to our hotel.
After the most deserved shower of my entire life we walked over to 7-11, bought what I suppose qualified as dinner, then came back and watched TV for a while. You know how sometimes you’re so tired that absolutely everything you see or hear is funny? Well Korean television is already a phenomenon in and of itself so add the extreme exhaustion and you can imagine how that went.
Eventually I fell asleep to the sound of rapid fire Korean and a laugh track and I slept like a rock.
The next morning we took our time waking up and grabbed 삼각김밥 samgak kimbap for breakfast. I may end up writing an entire post about how much I love samgak kimbap. It has been the light of my life while I’ve been here. It’s basically a triangle of rice filled with something in the middle like beef or chicken or tuna and wrapped up in seaweed. It’s the perfect self contained little meal. It costs less than 1 dollar and I don’t need to use and Korean to buy it like I might in a restaurant.
In short, I love samgak kimbap,
Anyway, after that we headed to a department store because my friend needed to buy something to wear when we went swimming. We wandered around there for a while and I tried to soak in as much of the beautifully awkward english thats often printed on t-shirts here. Exhibit A.
It’s not that it’s wrong per say. But have I ever heard anyone say, “Yes, pure it’s real time” ever in my life. No not once.
Then we headed to Haeundae beach.
Let me preface this by saying that Haeundae beach has a reputation of being a little bit crazy. Almost every one of my Korean friends who I told that I was going to Busan said, “oh Haeundae is too crowded, it’s not like the beach in Florida, you won’t like it.” Or something to that effect.
But when we arrived I guess it was still early enough in the day, around 11am, that it looked nothing like the horrifyingly crowded photos I’d been shown. There were certainly a lot of people but we had no trouble finding a place to put our stuff.
Towards the water there are rows and rows of umbrellas that you can rent if you want, but we decided to just plop our stuff down close to the water where I could keep an eye on it. I say “I” because anytime I’ve expressed concern about leaving my stuff out in the open, which is a valid and legitimate concern in America, all of my Korean friends have laughed it off saying, “Ohhh but this is Korea, no one ever steals anything!”
And while that’s certainly comforting I did look back at the beach to see if our things were still there about every 5 seconds while we were swimming.
The water was surprisingly warm and the waves were the perfect height to be fun without being too pushy.
My friends were right in one way, the beach here is nothing like the beaches in Florida. In Florida everything is flat and the beach is just the beach. Here though, we could see mountains and the city skyline and rows of houses that seemed to go on forever. It was amazing.
We didn’t have too much time to spend in Busan unfortunately, as our train left at 3:20pm. But after swimming we went to eat lunch another classic Korean style lunch. It was delicious as usual.
We took the subway to the bus terminal where we stopped once more for coffee then got back on the bus to head home to Seoul.
The whole drive home was gorgeous.
I’m so glad that I got to see Busan even if only for a short while.
If you’re considering visiting Haeundae I would say don’t let the crowds scare you. We went on a Sunday in the summer time which I imagine is prime beach time for most people, and it was completely bearable. Just try to get there early in the day and you should be fine.
As I’m writing this today is my last full day in Korea. I don’t want to think about leaving and having to wait 6 months to come back. But this trip has been amazing and I have been thankful for every second that I got to spend here.
Thanks for reading!