Ruby Ramblings


The last train to Busan…
August 1, 2010, 5:51 am
Filed under: Buddhism, Korea, Travel

Since I have exactly four weeks of teaching left in Korea, it seemed fitting to take the rare few days off work to travel in the country. I weathered the heat, a little redder and sore, and took a whirlwind tour of Busan, on the southern coast and Gyeongju, one of the historical capitol cities. Sometimes it’s better to travel alone as no one in their right mind would have tried to stuff in all I wanted to see in this kind of heat.

It was pouring rain when I rolled off a five hour bus ride in Busan. In the scheme of life, it’s funny how quickly something can go from disappointing to wanting it back. Although I had to change my plans, for the rest of the weekend, I would have done a rain dance in the street to get a break from the heat and unbearable sun. Winter in Korea is pretty bad. Summer is much, much worse.

Since I was only a few subway stops away, I checked in at Heosimcheong Spa in the Nogshim Hotel (Oncheonjang station exit 1). It claims to be the largest hotspring sauna in Asia. Although it was big, I wouldn’t consider it much more special that most jimjillbangs I’ve been to. It did have a nice outdoor rooftop hottub where you could get steamed, and on this day, rained on at the same time. I got a scrub-down complete with cucumber face treatment.

There were a ton of different pools, some quite large, but I really liked a side room all done in stone that had pools of different medicinal scents. I spent a while in the “philosopher’s pool” with pine and a giant stone carving of an old bearded white man’s face spitting water into the pool.

The rain took a reprieve and I headed to Haeundae Beach, which was gorgeously uncrowded and had huge waves from the storm.

A little jaunt into the aquarium. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been to one. It was worth it, especially the underwater tunnel.

I swear this guy was modeling for me. Notice the teeth.

There’s a gorgeous walking trail along the ocean off the western side of the beach.

The fabulous view from my fabulous friend Val's house.

There is a great train system in Busan. The subway is great, but I had no idea how much I liked trains. For all of 2,500W I took the train from Bukjeon station to Songjeong beach. From there you could take the 181 bus, but, me being the adventurous type, decided it didn’t look too far and walked. The ocean view was great, and then turned into a Korean construction view, and then a, wow, the hill to the temple is steep, why-did-I-decide-to-walk view. It is the only temple in Korea that I know of that is on the ocean, and is stunningly gorgeous and a little crowded and touristy, but well worth it.

Haedong Yonggungsa – Great Seawater Goddess of Mercy – Temple

And that is just the beginning. I’m having a borderline panic attack about how little time I have left, and how much stuff is in the air. I’m considering moving everything into suitcases and living out of them to remind myself how to do it, and also so I know how much stuff I have to get rid of since I need to pare everything down to one suitcase and a guitar once again.

Oh yea, and I also have to read the first third of Watership Down, which I’m not entirely looking forward to. Live of Pi was a challenge for my ESL students, I’m not sure what they’re going to do with this one.

Advertisements

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow. i just can’t seem to get enough of your photos Shanna. You better keep blogging wherever you go next, and have fun on the rest of your excursion.
K.

Comment by k. crane

Hi.

Love your site. I just found it from a link on a forum about the Songdo City post you had from Incheon.

Too bad you’re leaving soon. I was in Korea for two years and loved it so much by the end. I still think of it all the time and kind of want to go back.

Anyways. Thanks for sharing all your great pictures.

I was upset to learn you thought the UN cemetary in Busan looked haggard. I had been there a few times while I was in Korea (one of my grandmother’s brothers is buried there) and I remembered it being quite nice and orderly, at least up the hill where the bodies were located.

Comment by Tim




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: