Sunday, February 06, 2011

Trip to Busan Continued

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and it shows. The city is a thriving Metropolis of hillsides covered in neon lights, speckled with high rise apartments. From a tall building it looks like a sea of rust with tall spires poking through. A few hillsides have been left bear giving the city a "natural" touch that somehow feels manufactured and the only thing holding the chaos from flowing out over the water are a few sandy beaches. I could easily see this place being the site of some post-apocalyptic urban nightmare film but for now, it does retain a since of beauty that is hard to describe.

For me, all big cities hold a feeling of strangely mixed atmospheres. There's an odd since of security that comes from knowing that all your basic needs are covered in a city. But walking through streets of neon signs and cafes that all start to look the same, there's an oppressing since of insignificance that lingers in the back of my mind. Busan however has a vibe very different from Seoul. People often refer to Busan as the San Francisco of S.K. while Seoul is N.Y. I would completely agree with the NYC comparison, but having never been to San Francisco I can only speculate. Busan is coastal for one thing and all coastal cities seem to have a more relaxed attitude. But Busan is also a giant port for international shipping, the 10th largest in fact and it's insanely crowded. In the port districts cranes and docks hide any land they are built on and there's an overwhelming since of the city being one giant machine. But it's the other parts of the city that give it it's reputation as being the "cool city" in Korea.
Like any thriving coastal city it has a huge fish market where people from all over the world gather to see the calloused old fish mongers at work.

But the boorish manner of the fishers doesn't really capture the vibe of Busan. The city is fast paced, like any other South Korean metropolis but there's parts of the city where time seems to slow down and the yin balances the yang.

And while downtown Busan retains it's busy pace, the outskirts offer some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Korea.

We stayed in what is called a "love motel" (so called for the young people who otherwise don't have privacy from living with their parents until they are married)

So cute.  This little girl is dressed in a hanbok , the traditional dress in Korea, for lunar new years.

We accidentally visited this memorial for the soldiers who died in the Korean war, but it was quite lovely and moving.

our friends.  We were surprised to see how many countries were involved in the war.

I wanted to capture the flags' reflections.  Can you see them?

A rocky beach which was lovely.

the lighthouse we visited on the our boat ride.

the boat was cold.

a fake humpback whale. You gotta love korea.

At the fish market there many types of seafood.  Some we didn't recognize....

Yep, octopus. 

It makes your mouth water right?
Busan is a must see for anyone visiting South Korea in my opinion. While I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly about the 2nd largest city that makes it so different and special, the vibe is there for anyone willing to slow down and look for it.

1 comment:

123 neon signs said...

Sounds like you guys had lots of fun. Makes me feel like going on a vacation!