After taking a few weekends to stay put in Jeomchon, it was time to take a trip again this weekend. The destination for the weekend was Korea's second largest city, Busan. Busan is located on the southern part of the country, and it typically a very popular summer destination on account of it's beautiful beaches. Of course, it's also an awesome place to visit in the winter because it's much warmer than other parts of the country (especially areas like Mungyeong, which are in the mountains!) When it came time to plan where one of my friends was going to celebrate his 30th birthday, he chose Busan, and needless to say I was pumped to visit this city that I have been hearing and reading so much about essentially since I first started researching Korea.
I originally had planned to head down Friday after school, but last week was quite hectic and exhausting at school, and I elected to change my plans and head down with another group of Jeomchoners on Saturday morning. We took a train directly from Jeomchon, and it took a little over 3 hours to finally get to Busan. Although the ride was somewhat long, I was in good company, so it wasn't unbearable.
After getting on the subway and dropping off our stuff at the motel, it was probably close to 4:30. I definitely didn't anticipate it taking us that long to finally get to our destination, and I readily admitted that I should have just made the trip Friday night. Oh well, You live and you learn!
We met up with the rest of our friends at a place right along the beach. By that point the sun was beginning to set, and it was beautiful. My hometown is only an hour away from the beach, and the town that I went to college in was right on the seacoast. I love the beach, and I have to admit, although I love Mungyeong's central location, I was hoping for a placement in a town closer to the coast. I love Jeomchon, but I'm a tad jealous of people on the coastal cities.
Anywho, given it was a birthday celebration, we spent the night bar hopping. It was a lot of fun to spend time with everyone. Although I didn't see a lot of Busan, what I did see I really enjoyed. Although it is a big city, it didn't feel quite as crowed as Seoul. Overall, I really hope to go back to Busan sooner rather than later so I can spend more time exploring other parts of the city.
Sunday we slept in for a bit, then one group of people headed back to Jeomchon, and I headed to Daegu with three of my friends. We decided that we should take advantage of being near major cities and seize the opportunity to see the new Hunger Games movie. Unfortunately, Jeomchon does not have a movie theater so anytime we want to see a movie it requires a trip to one of the larger cities.
The ride to Daegu from Busan was only about an hour by the train, and got dropped off what I'm assuming is the downtown area. Deagu is the third largest city in Korea, and although it's only an hour away from Jeomchon, for some reason I hadn't been there yet.
We made our way to the movie theater just in time to get tickets and get settled in before the movie. Of course, this wasn't just a regular movie, we were going to see the film in 4-D. Yes, not 3-D, 4-D. What is a 4-D movie you ask? It's reminiscent of those rides your go on at Disney World--your seat moves, you get air blown on your neck, water is splashed on you, and scents fill the theater. I thought we would be wearing the 3-D glasses as well, but it wasn't so. I guess you have to go to a 3-D/4-D movie for that. Ummmm what? When did seeing movies become so complex? Remember when a movie was just a movie?
Anyway, we all enjoyed the movie, and we finished just in time to make it to the bus station and get on a bus back to Jeomchon. All in all, we were back home around 8:15. Not too bad.
Overall, it was another great weekend with great people. I know I say this frequently, but I am extremely thankful for all the people I have met over the past few months.
This weekend was also a reminder that I still have so much to see. I love the Korea has so many cool places that so accessible via public transportation. At home I am only an hour away from Boston, but besides Boston the next closest major city is New York, which is quite a distance. In Korea, there are about 10 cities with populations of 1 million people or more. Some of these are satellites of other major cities, but regardless, there are so many places to go and they're all only a few hours away and inexpensive to get to through public transportation.
Although the cold weather had already been pulling me into hermit mode, my short glimpses of Daegu and Busan reawakened my curiosity for Korea. So much to do still, and so much to learn.