Busan

Yesterday we road-tripped to Busan, on the southern tip of the peninsula. It was roughly a 4-hour drive, with a couple of rest stations on the way—in heavier traffic it can take up to as much as 6 or 7 hours, but from Seoul to Busan is literally the longest drive you can take in South Korea, since its only neighbor to the north doesn’t take kindly to trespassers, and the rest is water (South Korea is pretty small, by the way—about 60% the size of Washington State, for reference).

The scenery was beautiful, all craggy green mountains and hills. That is, until you come across some neatly spaced apartment towers of gargantuan proportions, rising out of the landscape like some futuristic human production facility (it didn’t help that one of them was named ‘Humanium Towers).

Busan itself is the only city to have escaped most of the Korean War’s back-and-forth fighting back in the 50’s, so its architecture is a bit different. It gleams a bit less than Seoul, and is certainly more touristy, but definitely lovely in its own way, with lots of white-washed towers and sparkling oceans.

We played on the beach for a couple of hours when we first arrived and got whistled at by the beach police for breaking mysterious Beach Rules several times. Koreans always wear t-shirts and shorts over their bathing suits, and few of them actually venture into the waves.

That night we went for fresh seafood. And I mean very fresh seafood–there are tanks with writhing eels, fish, crabs, and shrimp everywhere you look. Apparently you can get puffer fish here, but I might not be that brave. We did have one thing that kind of looked like a horny dinosaur foot, and one by one spit it out after wearing down our teeth on it. Was it meant to be eaten? Was there a trick? Were we just not manly enough for horny dinosaur foot? I may never find out. The rest was delicious though, and the cityscape from the beach at night was so fabulous I wanted to cry.

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