The journey down to Busan from South Korea, gave a great insight to Korean landscape and made me realise that the entire country kind of looks exactly the same, fields of lush greenery, staggering mountains and expansive lakes contrasted with vast concrete jungles all sharing the same rather ugly network of cabling that runs through out. Mixed up inbetween are the remnants of past architecture, of buddhist temples and monuments dotted up mountains and in the middle of cities, the similarity i imagine is something to do with what happened when the majority of the country got flattened by the Korean war. Five and a half hours led to alot of people watching (I love people watching) and staring out the window, it also led to a rather random conversation with a Korean man who started to telling me about his job as a professor at Berkeley university in America and how he has hundreds of relatives all over Korea but was on his way to visit a few in Busan, he was utterly charming. Due to the mad dash in the morning to the station I had failed to eat breakfast or bring anything with me apart from christmas haribo (thanks Sarah!) so an inevitable trip to the buffet car became essential. Unfortunately the offerings revolved around dodgy sandwiches and alot of Kimchi (i went for the sandwich, which had kimchi in it!) but the most exciting thing about the buffet car was that it featured booths. Booths with noreabangs in and booths with computer games in, so yes you can sing kareoke and blast people with (fake) guns even when on a train.
On arrival in Busan we were in search of some accommodation so we headed to Busan Train Station tourist information and spoke to a very helpful lady who told us that due to the holiday season everything was booked and offered no other help apart from a vague snigger (something Korean’s tend when in awkward or embarasing situations. She was lying, something we discovered as we headed to Seomyeon (both Rough Guide and Lonely Planet said good things about the area, it was central and we didn’t have any better ideas). We found a hotel in about forty minutes, refreshed, unloaded some of the heavy stuff from our ‘cringe’ rucksacks and went to find some food. Eating in Korea is always an experience because about 99% of the time you have no idea what it is you have ordered, however we struck foodie gold by heading to a typical Korean place near to our hotel that was crammed with people all eating, all with happy faces. What we ended up getting was the same as everyone else, a kind of rice based, spicey mix of veg and chicken, cooked on a hotplate at our table, and some Korean Pizza – which resembles a savoury pancake and is pretty amazing.
After munching the food we went for a wander around Busan, just wandering, by this time it was early evening, and we were feeling rather tired… so as our hotel was right hear a cinema we decided that it would be fun to go and watch a film so we purchased four tickets to Sherlock Holmes before heading to Baskin Robbins to eat icecream – a very cultural experience… the film, like all western films was in English with Korean subs, so we had no issues with understanding it and i enjoyed seeing London and particularly enjoyed the reference to Chichester my hometown. After the cinema we headed to a bar had some drinks and then headed to bed. All wholly relieved we had managed to actually escape Paju!