Busan in a day part 2: afternoon, evening and heading home

Part 1: the morning
click here

A Haeundae Beach boat tour was up next after a busy morning that allowed us to cross the Busan Aquarium and Haedong Yonggungsa off the checklist. So we grabbed a latte and a snack at seutabeokseu (Starbucks) and wandered our way down the boardwalk to Mipo harbor.

Arriving a good 20 minutes before the next trip provided some time to sit, relax, and kill the coffee. In true Korean fashion, a line formed way before it was actually time to get on the vessel. At least nobody was pushing, shoving and cutting into this line for positioning. We hung back, choosing only to get in line when it started to move. And surprise surprise, we were still able to sit comfortably on the top, outdoor deck of the boat just like everyone else without having to panic.

To the left of the door outside was a stand selling bags of shrimp flavored crunchy chip like snack treats. It also featured a photo of happy Koreans feeding seagulls from the boat. As we sat down on the open air top deck I noticed that a lot of the passengers were already cracking these bags open. And then the swarm began. Handfuls of crispy snacks flew off the boat. Fingers holding treats were thrust into the air. Seagulls were swooping in and out, scoring meal as they have so many times before. The feeding frenzy continued as we pulled away from the dock, and lasted for the duration of the 1 hour tour. Sitting on the beach later that afternoon, I snapped a photo of a similar boat cruising by to capture the image from a different angle.

Annoying birds aside, the boat tour was a good time. The view from the water offers a perspective on a city that is hard to get otherwise. I also strongly recommend any Hangang tour in Seoul and the Staten Island Ferry in New York City. This particular voyage went through the Haeundae Beach area, past Dongbaekseom Island and the Nurimaru APEC House, on the other side of the Gwangan Bridge from Gwangalli Beach, and around smaller islands out in the sea before returning to Mipo harbor.

At this point in the day we were starving. It was mid afternoon and because of our go go go Busan tourism rally session, a proper meal hadn’t been eaten all day, settling instead for snacking here and there. Breeze Burn’s was the selection for our late lunch and first real meal of the day. For sure the green logo and the use of the letter Z, and the food in a less definitive way, scream Krazy Burgers. The atmosphere however does not. It’s more of a beachy hang out spot than the sometimes sterile KB.

On our table were two classic burgers and a club sandwich. Other than ignoring our requests to hold the pickles, not bringing extra napkins to soak up the messy burger drippings, and giving us what we joked were the small, “foreigner” water glasses, it was a decent dining experience. We just took matters in our own hands, grabbing napkins from the bar and harassing them until we got the same larger water glasses as everyone else, as well as the side of avocado that they seemingly didn’t want us to have. Side note, all gourmet Korean burgers are served too rare. I like my steak medium rare, but I don’t want my burger dripping through the bun, soaking it into a mushy mess. That aside, they all taste pretty delicious.

An inevitable food coma set in after lunch, so we rendezvoused back at Motel Sangria. After a quick nap, the subway got us to Sajik Stadium for the baseball game. Purchasing event tickets ahead of time is quite an ordeal in Korea. I previously documented the process of buying Korean Basketball League tickets for Valentine’s Day. This wasn’t as much of a headache, but it wasn’t easy either. I was informed that Lotte Giants fans in Busan are crazy for their team, and often weekend games sell out. Coupled with the new baseball season, it only made sense to get tickets ahead of time. The same Korean co-worker that helped me with the KBL tickets was more than happy to offer assistance for these tickets as well. Checking online for seat availability the Wednesday before the Saturday game revealed that it was already practically sold out. Having only one full day in Busan, I wasn’t willing to waste precious time camped out at the ballpark to purchase tickets right before the game. And entering the ballpark early in order to get 3 seats together in the general admission outfield section wasn’t sitting well either.

The solution was to get cheap reserved seats ahead of time. The only non-general admission section with 3 available seats together was on the visitor’s side, farthest away from home plate. With the online reservation made, my co-worker ran downstairs to transfer the money using the ATM. I gave him the cash, we printed out the confirmation and I was dialed in.

We arrived a little after game time to find Sajik Stadium slammed. It took a good 10 minutes to walk to the ballpark from Sports Complex Station, and at least another 15 to get through the line in order to acquire the already purchased tickets.

Finding our seats was a little more complicated than expected. Unlike Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, all of the seating at Sajik Stadium is listed in Korean instead of English. Once we finally located the seats, there was a family camped out in them. Rather than making a big deal out of it, we just parked it in some available seating close by. Five minutes later, someone behind us was aggressively screaming and yelling. Not sure what the issue was, he got no attention from us. But it didn’t stop. When a Korean girl with an embarrassed look on her face stood awkwardly in the row in front of us, I realized that this public display of rage was from the rightful owner of the seats we were temporarily filling. I finally turned around to find a drunken balding Korean man flipping out, sharing his disdain for foreigners with everyone in the general vicinity… except us. A simple tap on the shoulder would have worked fine, instead he created a scene. We took the high road by politely asking the family in our seats to move. A few baseball fans apologized to us for his actions as we relocated. It wouldn’t be accurate not to mention my attempt to look dude in the eye, while saying, “take it easy” a few times as we calmly made our move. As expected, the instigator gave not a glance in our direction once I stood up and he saw my size. I can’t stand the coward that acts tough to everybody except the people they have beef with.

As quick as he fired me up, I was over it, and the remainder of the game was enjoyable. Korean ballparks don’t have that much to offer visually, they are not the striking structures that you find back home. But the atmosphere is awesome. Chanting, singing, clapping… total fan interaction. We even had a foul ball land 2 rows directly behind us.

A couple of things stuck out as being unique to Lotte games. When a ball landed in the seats the crowd began chanting something in unison. Because I only noticed it when the opposing team was at bat, I assumed that the fans wanted the ball catcher to return the ball to the playing surface, like they do at Wrigley Field. But my buddy told me that instead, they are encouraging the ball to be given to the kids in the section.

The other thing that stood out was the plastic bags. The same thing happened at the Lotte vs. Doosan game I went to last year. The fans wind the bags, fill them up with air and place them upside down on their heads, wrapping the handles around their ears. It’s a strange sight.

After the game we found a Korean restaurant back in Haeundae Beach and crushed some galbi and samgyeopsal. It felt so good to call it a night and retire back at the Sangria. The previous night didn’t bring a good slumber at all. We arrived early in the morning and only got a few hours of shut eye. I never sleep well knowing that I have to be up soon, and the Haeundae Beach night life only contributed to my restlessness. But on this second night I crashed hard.

My girl and I woke early on Sunday so we could get breakfast and a beach walk in before grabbing a cab back to Busan Station. This return trip in the daylight provided an appreciated opportunity to see more of the city. Before we knew it, we were back on the KTX, admiring the Korean country side at high speeds, and arriving in Seoul early Sunday afternoon.

I’m digging on Busan. Can’t wait to go back.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com


~ by ripcitytoseoul on April 17, 2010.

One Response to “Busan in a day part 2: afternoon, evening and heading home”

  1. […] part 2: afternoon, evening and heading home click here […]

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