It was right around this time 2010 that we were in Busan for a long weekend, and I really wished that I was there today. So in memory, I posted a few previously unpublished photos from our day of following a trail of two cities: from the Haeundae (해운대) resort area, and around the bend through a marina to the beautiful (and bustling) Gwangalli Beach (광안리). Probably would have been quicker to just take a cab. Ahhhhh, the good times. May they last forever.
Tagged: Pictures of South Korea
Nature Photography from places all over South Korea likeJeju-do, Seorak-san, Mudeung-san, Busan, & Boseong using both my Canon A590 and EOS D60 digital cameras
Namsan Tower, more commonly known as Seoul tower, is one of the most blatant over the top rip-offs I’ve found in Korea. We went there on a Saturday night. It was balls hot, so we took the cable car up to the tower entrance in Namsan Park; 7000 KRW for a two-way ticket. It seemed half the city had the same inclination, so we had to sweat it out in line for about 20 minutes. The other half of the city, it seemed, was waiting in line to ride the elevator up 200 meters to the tower observatory. We took our place at the back of the line, which cost an additional 8000 KRW. Waiting in line for another 30 minutes or so, we finally got to the top of the tower, and the view was hazy. BUT, it was an interesting experience nevertheless. Getting back down from the observatory was a kick to the mettle if there ever was one. The line for the down elevator stretched completely around the observatory deck… twice. We were lucky to make it back down in time for the last cable car. Had we missed that, sparks really would have flown. Bottom line, approach this hot spot of tourism with caution.
Forget about BeeBimBap and Bulgogi. There is a wide world of Korean cuisine out there just waiting to be explored by the Western palate. Some of it is really quite delicious, and some of it, well… let’s just say that you’ll want to be sure and keep the toilet paper fully stocked. Koreans eat a lot of raw and uncooked foods, such as fish, beef, and kimchi. You can read more about my experiences with raw Korean food on Tripwolf. Below you’ll find pictures of one glorious shit pile after another; our greatest hits and misses. Some of our favorite culinary conquests over the past year include…..
Sam Gyop Sal: A Korean Barbecue dish. Pork belly cooked on the spot and served with garlic, lettuce wraps, sesame leaves, and super hot gohchoo peppers.
Meat Shabu Shabu: Shredded beef boiled on the spot in a spicy garlic broth with garden variety weeds and mushrooms.
Seng Go Gee: Sliced raw beef slabs, served straight up with Soju. Hell mother effin yeah!
Chawm Chee Hwey: Sliced raw tuna slabs, served straight up with Soju.
Dak Bal: Chicken feet sauteed with onions in hell sauce. Best served from an orange tent in a dark alley sometime after midnight.
Neng Myawn: A spicy (or non spicy if you prefer) Summer soup dish comprised of noodles, boiled egg, cucumber, and shaved ice.
Seyoo Bohk Um Bap: A carefully sauteed blend of rice and shrimp
Fifty minutes on a bus from the U-Square Terminal in Gwangju will bring you to the epicenter of Korean bamboo, Damyang. We finally went there a few weeks ago after months of, “Hey, we should go do this.” The main bamboo park, located just across the river and only a block or two away from Damyang’s landmark Metasequoia Avenue, was much smaller than expected. Like every other formalized attraction in Korea, it was way overcrowded with families, many of whom were utterly fascinated by the sight of non-Koreans in public. I lost count of how many times someone pointed out that I was a weygookin (foreigner) or meegook saram (american person). Can you imagine saying Asian every time you saw one walk by on the street? Really fucking rude, I think… but since Korean society is so homogeneous, they don’t see it that way. Eleven months deep and I’m still not sure what they find so particularly interesting about us to gawk over. I am quite sure that there are other bamboo forests in the area which are much larger, less crowded, and allow visitors to roam freely. From here, we walked along the river to Metasequoia Avenue. Also very crowded, but we saw a little boy erratically operating his Power Wheel go and crash into one of the massive trees.
Nearly all Korean hagwon teachers get 6 days off for Summer vacation during July. We spent ours in (or on) Jeju-do. For the second time, I stayed at the Tae Gong Gak located above the Seogwipo Harbor. One of the owners even remembered me from when I went to Jeju for the Chuseok holiday last October. “Hey, I know your face. You were here with a girl last time. Where is she?” She stayed in the Hyatt Hotel in the Jungmun Resort area, which is a 30 minute ride away on the number 600 Bus.
After a day or two of drinking Chivas Regal and chatting it up with fellow vacationers by the pool at the Hyatt Hotel, we woke up early for a hike to the summit of Halla mountain in Hallasan National Park. Although this is the tallest mountain in South Korea, the incline is gradual and substantially easier to summit than the #2 mountain in Korea, Jiri-san, or the #3, Seorak-san — both of which I hiked earlier this year. Of the several routes to take, we chose the Yeongshil trail for it’s epic scenery. Unfortunately, the weather was anything but fabulous; Yeongshil ended up being a cloud maze and we couldn’t see shit. We came down through the Orimok valley which was a kilometer longer, had more stairs, and was less interesting to maneuver.
Moon’s Guide to South Korea recommended hiking the small peak of Songak-san, located on a small peninsula at Jeju’s West end and supposedly offering some of the most splendid views of Halla-san and the adjacent mound of rock called Sanbang-san. I set out the next day in search of glory and got lost in a bumfuck beach town called Moseulpo, but soon found my way to Songak-san Park via taxi for 5000 KRW. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a small black sand beach and several sea caves dug into the massive cliffs. During World War II, the Japanese forced Jeju residents to build these caves for use in suicide attacks against the Allied forces. It was a creepy area to explore. Having to worry about the collapsing hillside and look out for scurrying centipedes, crabs, and spiders, I did not dare venture into any of the caves. Probably not worth the risk anyways. As was the situation the previous day, the weather affording no magnificent view atop Songak-san. Bummer, dude.
In celebration of making my 18th million, we went back to Busan this past weekend for some major shopping. To my surprise, the Gukje Market in Busan’s Nampo-dong had almost as many bootlegs as we saw at the “well known place for slaughter of foreigner dollars,” better known as the Silk Street Market in Beijing, China. Being that Busan is the largest port city in South Korea, I suspect containers of counterfeit goods arrive on a weekly (if not daily) basis. Naturally items were more expensive here: Swiss movement Breitling or Rolex Submariner for approx $90 (in China $45), Dolce & Gabanna / Diesel / Armani Jeans for approx $65 US (in China $15). Quality forgeries though. Perhaps one day I’ll afford a real pair of D & G’s and confirm there is no difference — not one that justifies spending an extra $100, anyway.
Before spending all of our money, we paid 4000KRW to ride the elevator up to the Busan Tower observatory and snapped some dreary pics of the city. It really does look bland (have a look for yourself), but the night life is definitely great. We stayed at some fucking cum dumpster of a motel about 100 feet from the Jagalchi fish market, Korea’s largest and most famous marketplace for marine products. I walked into the room and turned on the television hoping to find the World Cup soccer game and instead got a screen full of hanging titties. For $13 a night, I hope they at least washed the sheets. Later that evening when coming back from a bar which served dry roasted skate with $5 bottles of Leffe Blonde, someone had taped the largest hooker cards I’ve ever seen to the flower pot at the motel entrance. One side read massage event, while the other simply said sex. Have I mentioned before that prostitution is absolutely rampant in the country? Stumbling out early the next morning, all the cards been taken or thrown away and I wobbled down the alley into the Jagalchi fish market. A woman mercilessly tore the ink sack from an octopus. Black ink spewed everywhere. She then tossed the creature into a plastic bag before happily tossing that into the corner. This next to another women furiously chopping the heads from live fish curiously sparked my appetite. So I went to McDonald’s.
Harnessing the power of the internet, I stumbled across these old Seoul Korea pictures from pre World War II that provide a visual history of South Korea. They were taken in the Seoul area circa early 1930’s. I thought they were interesting and figured it was worth sharing the history.