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Portraits of Busan

Maybe it’s because we felt more like tourists than we do in Seoul and Gwangju, but one thing I noticed when going through our photos from Busan is that we took a lot of awesome shots of the people in Busan–something we rarely feel comfortable doing closer to home. I feel these shots sum up Busan (and Korea to some extent) quite nicely–especially the difference in beach attire and the reactions to the sun. So without further ado, here is a little photo essay of the people of Busan–enjoy!

And lastly, some of the non-human inhabitants of Busan!

Which photo is your favorite?

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The Waikiki of Asia: Busan’s Haeundae Beach

To celebrate the long weekend, we hopped on a charter bus for a 5-hour jaunt to one of South Korea’s most southern cities–Busan.

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea, but there are few comparisons between this port-city and Seoul. Busan has a grittier and more laid back feeling than pristine Seoul, but the locals seemed friendlier, and the level of English was a bit higher than we’re used to in Gwangju-si–probably because of the city’s proximity to the U.S. military base. Because of its beach town feel and plethora of cheap accommodations, Western-style bars and wide range of foreign foods, Busan is popular among expats, especially English teachers. The three day weekend celebrating Buddha’s birthday sent waygooks (foreigners) flocking to Busan from all over the country.

Though we weren’t actually staying on Busan’s famed Haeundae Beach, we did end up spending most of our time there. This beach is famous because it’s beautiful, but like so many places, because it is famous, it’s also incredibly overrun with tourists (including us). So I think it’s a fair analogy to say Busan’s Haeundae Beach is the Waikiki Beach of the east!

Hanging out on the beach with our new friend Mo, a Korean police officer in a town near ours!

Brimmed with cityscape and hazy with smog, this city beach is definitely a site to see. Westerners in skimpy bikinis sit alongside older Korean women who are fully dressed and sitting under umbrellas, Korean kids play in the sand while English teachers from all over the country and U.S. military personnel party on the beach. It’s definitely a diverse place.

Walking a suspended bridge near Haeundae Beach.

7-11’s in Korea commonly have outdoor seating areas, and people treat them more like cafes than convenient stores!

Our accommodations were quite a ways away, but our friends Ashley and Justin lucked out with an amazing little hostel dually named Marubee Guest House and Mr. Egg House. This little gem had an amazing view of the beach, provided them with free homemade breakfast, and the owner could not have been any nicer. It’s a tiny place–it’s actually an apartment that’s been converted to a hostel! There are just two bedrooms and two bathrooms; one bedroom is a mixed dorm and the other is an all-girls dorm. Again, we didn’t stay here, but we spent a lot of time hanging out in the common room and I must say, this place is pretty awesome.

We have so many more amazing pictures and stories from Busan, so stay tuned!

Happy Memorial Day America!

To all my fellow American’s–happy Memorial Day!

Pearl Harbor

American flag at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

We got back from beautiful Busan late last night, so I haven’t had a chance to upload any photos or write up anything about our trip yet. But overall, we had a great time–Busan is an awesome city, and we got plenty of sun and relaxation. I hope everyone who celebrates Buddha’s birthday had a great three day weekend, and hope all the American’s celebrating Memorial Day have a great extra day off as well!

Happy Birthday Buddha!

Today is Buddha’s birthday, which is a national holiday here in Korea. We’re celebrating the founder of Buddism’s birthday by playing in Busan for the long weekend. Three days of sun and salt water is just what I’ve been needing! So, happy birthday Buddha–and thanks for the day off!

If you’re in Korea (or another country that celebrates Buddha’s birthday), how are you celebrating today?