Getting off the subway and making our way toward Haeundae Beach in Busan was like enlarging Belfast and plopping it on the other side of the planet, like Emeril – “bam!” and we were home-ish for about 30 hours. We settled into Busan very quickly, just fell in love. Maybe it was the sun, the warm day, the beach, the ocean, the fish market … I don’t know. Whatever it was, we felt refreshed and rejuvinated after only a short stay.
It sounds silly to declare the obvious, but we don’t have a lot of experience with subway systems. They’re quite simple, however large, and inexpensive and convenient. But gosh, 24 stops takes a long time! We had to completely skip our planned trip to the Aquarium to meet friends and go get some lunch and do some fun Christmas shopping. We had to skip the movie we promised the kids to do the same. It isn’t like crossing the bridge at home to run an errand. Things take time. And the time you’re waiting in line, riding a subway, navigating directions to a location…there can be a lot of it. It’s good to be with people you like and can chat away with so it seems faster. It’s a good thing we like each other in this family.
I learned some things that day: one, seaside cities and towns move at a slightly slower and more friendly pace. (There’s nothing wrong with Daegu and Seoul, but Busan — that’s the pace for us.) Two, there is no shortage of ocean bounty in Korea. (We saw in tanks, dozens of types of fish, eel, muscles, clams, octopi and numerous other ocean creatures, including a baby shark, in enormous bulk. It is hard to imagine it all gets sold in the amount of time necessary to keep it alive and fresh.) Three, if you think you’re going to cross the city in less than an hour, you’re wrong. It’s best to just enjoy the journey, and hey, if you reach your destination, that’s great, too. Talk to people, let them chatter with your children and practice their English. It’s quite delightful, really.
Destinations we reached: one, a burger joint for lunch. Happy kids. Imported beer. Good times. Two, the aforementioned fish market. Three, a wonderful outdoor market where we found, among lots of Korean-made goodies, t-shirts for gifts. This sounds mundane, but unlike at home, t-shirts are not sold on every corner celebrating a place, commemorating a festival or the like. This was the first we had seen them, so we picked up quite a few. Lastly, a buffet dinner at Party ‘n Play – food choices from around the world and a kid-heaven for when they’re finished eating and you want to have a cup of coffee with other adults. It was perfect. Add our comfortable hotel suite with a beautiful view, a breakfast in the morning and I’d call that a superb day and a half. We will be revisiting Busan in the spring, when we can explore the lighthouse walkway and enjoy the waves at the beach. An awesome trip!