Tuesday, January 14, 2014

winter in summer.

 So, there was this one time in the middle of summer, when Tasmania (and even South Hobart) was starting to think about weather over 25C for the first time in a year, and Kate and I thought we'd go and visit Emily in South Korea. Where it is goddam freezing. Luckily though, Emily's pretty ok, and y'know there's heating and shit, so this far it's sort of gone the way of super-awesome-party-time...

We arrived mid-afternoon after catching the red-eye from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur and then a morning flight from KL to Busan, which is where Emily is living in South Korea. Emily met us at the airport, and there was a general bout of girly squealing and hugs, then we caught a cab to Em's apartment where we'll be staying for most of our visit. So basically day 1 involved airplanes, diazapam and freaking out(for me and my hate/hate relationship with flying), the realisation that we were not in Kansas anymore so thermal underwear was 'go', our first Korean meal (so hungry they could have fed us rice cakes and I'd have been stoked) and sleep. So much sleep.

Our first full day we began by visiting a cultural village. Em said something about it being a slum, and instead of knocking it down they developed into an artists and tourist area. Lots of small art installations, walking along a path through small dilapidated houses and for some reason fish and squid hanging out to dry out the front of people's houses. The bus from the subway wound around tiny corners as we went uphill, trying to hold and stay standing as it was pretty full. There were quite a few other tourists around that we kept running into at different points along the trail. And there was some local food, which was really just a dagwood dog.

For the afternoon we visited the fish markets down at the docks. Some of the market was outside and some under cover in a big shed. It was so cold, and the piles of ice they were laying the fish out on made it even colder. It seemed like there was every type of fish, crustacean, shell fish or seaweed available there for people to buy. Ladies were wearing big plastic aprons and selling every sort of seafood you can imagine to the locals who were there to buy. Out the back of the market you could see men unloading fish straight from the boat in crates onto the docks.

Day 3 we visited a local temple in Busan in the morning, Haedong Yonggung. It's a Buddhist temple right on the water on the outskirts of the city, but seemed to have a strong Chinese bent as at the entrance there was a walkway with statues of the characters from the Chinese Zodiac (Rabbit, Snake, Dragon etc). The main temple complex was literally right next to the water, built on and into the rocks. Very beautiful and an amazing location.

In the afternoon we went for a walk just outside the city to the bottom of Jangsan Mountain. Hiking is big in Korea (along with K-pop and Starbucks) and there were locals everywhere kitted out in the latest outdoor gear looking like they were climbing Everest. Then for dinner we travelled to a restaurant for Korean Barbeque with some of Emily's friends that she has met whilst living here. It was pretty amazing, there's a sort of grill in the middle of the table and they bring out all sort of vegetables and meat (pork) for you to cook on the grill yourself.

Today we are flying the Jeju Island which I think is off to the south west, where we will be for 5 nights. More news after that I guess. Love love x

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