Busan (Pusan) Weekend Trip!!
I recently (without Jill’s consent) decided that we must take advantage of the opportunities we have to travel in Korea (especially because it is so easy to get around a small country with great public transportation). So coupled with this decision and that fact that our two-year anniversary was coming up (now passed: June 21), I did some research on the fancy thing they call the Internet, and booked the Westin Chosun Hotel on Haeundae-gu Beach in Busan (sometimes spelled Pusan). Busan is on the southern tip of Korea and it boast its own natural beauty (sounds like a sales pitch, but it’s true). So this is a short story of our adventure. Please enjoy 🙂
Once upon a time on a Saturday morning, Jill and Andy awoke at 6:00 am (which is brutally early for a Saturday), so that they could catch the 7:09 subway at Ssangyong Station towards Singchang. Their destination was Asan station where they would catch the mysterious KTX bullet train to Busan. Andy and Jill were a little nervous about their train ride considering it was their first bullet train experience. Would death be instant, in the case of a wreck, in a vehicle which can wisk people to their destinations at magical speeds of 305+kilometers per hour (190 mph for you Americans out there)? Morbid, I know, but these are survival thoughts that every one (if they were being honest) has.
Asan station was just a short jaunt from Ssangyong (one stop away), and upon arrival, Jill whipped out the reservation number at the KTX ticket booth to pick up the tickets that Andy (in his romantic plannings) had reserved for them. After picking up the tickets, the excited couple plopped down on a bench to wait for their train. Meanwhile, Andy took out his electronic paint brush (aka camera) and painted a beautiful picture of his exotic bride basking in the glory of Asan station:
The train to Hogwarts (scratch that). The train to Busan finally arrived (right on time) and the couple boarded their romance vehicle (filled with Koreans). 7C and 7D were their seat numbers. “Huh,” thought Andy, “7 is a symbol of perfection in the Bible, this must be a sign from God that Busan is our destiny.” Well, it was at least, their destination.
Jill was swift and stole the window seat, while Andy humbly took the non-next-to-the-window-seat, all the while thinking, “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Andy was comforted by the fact that he had passively defeated Jill in her quest for the window. “One day,” he thought, “I shall be the first for the window seat, and Jill, well, hopefully Jesus will forgive her.”
Not surprisingly, Jill fell asleep (AND THEREFORE DIDN’T LOOK OUT THE WINDOW), while Andy strained his neck to the right to look out the window, in an attempt to be grateful for the Korean landscapes.
(By the way, parts of this story are not being told, while others are being exaggerated).
A blink of an eye later (2 hours and 20 minutes), the young couple arrived at Busan station, got some coffee at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and then made their way towards the metro. The historical recorder of the couple’s journey made them stop outside the station for an impromptu photo:
Since becoming city-dwellers in Korea, Jill and Andy had by now, learned the underground ways of travel. They hopped on the orange line towards Nopo-dong, then transferred at Seomyeon to the green line towards Jangsan. Then FINALLY, in utter excitement, the happy couple broke forth from the underground tunnels at the Dongbaek stop.
What, you may ask, awaited Andy and Jill when they climbed to the light of day??!! Cats and Dogs. Yes, cats and dogs were falling from the sky in the form of water. Disoriented by the downpour of H2O, and unfamiliar with their surroundings, the undeterred couple searched for their hotel on the horizon…but alas, it was to no avail. “What should we do?” thought the still motivated pair. “We shall find a taxi,” said the fearless leader (that’s Andy if you may be wondering). So they set out to find a taxi stop. The rain did not faze them, for they had come prepared with tools for the journey: two shields (in the forms of an umbrella -ella-ella-ella, and a rain coat).
After walking in the onslaught of cats and dogs for three thousand miles, the soaked Jill and Andy finally found a taxi stop. It turns out that they weren’t far from their hotel because after a 2,400 won taxi drive (it’s 2,200 won from the start), or about two minutes, the couple had arrived at their destination: the Westin Chosun Hotel.
They entered the lobby and were pleasantly greeted by bi-lingual Korean Westin employees who checked them in and made Jill and Andy feel right at home. When Andy reserved the room for their celebratory weekend, there were only two rooms left in the hotel. Unbeknownst to the happy couple their room had two beds! This fact was a really fortunate one because Andy and Jill live by “Leave it to Beaver” moral codes, and therefore do not touch or sleep in the same bed (or so they say; but we all know they’re probably not telling the truth) 😉
Hungry from their journey, Jill and Andy sought to fill their stomaches. They discovered that there were like a million restaurants in the Westin, but they decided on the one that seemed closest to their European/American appetite: an Irish Pub named O’ Kim’s. After looking over the menu, the couple decided on a meal that best juxtaposed their oxymoronic situation: fajitas and quesadillas. Yes, Jill and Andy, while in Busan, Korea, ate at an Irish pub, and had Mexican food.
As they sat at their table, eating Mexican food, and overlooking their view of Haeundae Beach, the couple was at last eternally happy…except that it was raining. But that didn’t bother Jill and Andy too much…because everyone knows what happens between a married couple on an anniversary get-away….
….they hold hands and skip along the beach while in the background a heavenly stereo plays Marvin Gaye’s classic “let’s get it on.” What Gaye means by “it” is up for debate, but as for the couple, they just assumed “it” meant “skipping” on the beach.
After lunch, it stopped raining for about three seconds, during which Andy and Jill stopped “skipping” inside the hotel and decided to explore the beach. They took a few pictures that are worth “awwing” over:
As the narrator, I’ll take some editorial liberties at this point and sum up the rest of Jill and Andy’s day by saying: they spent some “quality time” together. And for dinner, they went to TGI Fridays. TGI Fridays was a bit of a disappointment as the food was sub-par, but again, they enjoyed each other’s company.
The next day, to the couples happy surprise, it had ceased raining! “Yea,” they thought, “we can spend the day exploring Haeundae Beach!” They supplied their needed morning calorie intake at Tom N Tom’s Coffee Shop with some breakfast food and delicious sweet peach tea, then set off to do some exploring.
Though the rain had ceased, it was still a bit cloudy to really enjoy chillin on the beach, so Andy and Jill decided to take a mild hike along the cliffs next to their hotel. They really enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Something about looking out onto the ocean during their hike reminded them of how small they were in the world, and yet how grateful they were to have each other for this life’s journey. To remind in them in the future of their time together, they took some narly (to use some beach slang) pics:
…and it was pretty sweet, so they gave each other high-fives.
After lunch, Jill and Andy traveled back home to Cheonan, and thought about how strange it is that they call Korea home. Then they hugged…and high-fived again.