Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…

Under the Busan Sun

Five weeks ago I set off on my return to Busan in attempt to score a relaxing weekend amid mild weather after my toughest semester of teaching and before embarking on a 2-week trip back to the US, but it was completely severed after falling extremely ill and then spending 8 hours in the Emergency Room. Although, not all was bad. Mr Chan, the owner of Chan’s Guesthouse Hostel, had accommodated me to the hospital and stayed with me for the full eight hours, taking care of all my linguistical needs as well as giving support through my wretched ordeal. We were able to get to know each other a little more and I can essentially call him a friend. Despite this diamond in the rough, I was unable to accomplish what I had been yearning to do for quite some time: take relaxing shoreline strolls under the Busan sun.

Long story short, two years ago I met a very nice and pretty Korean girl who is currently living in Australia named Michelle at Chan’s Guesthouse in Busan, where we had spent a little time together and then kept in touch during the last few years, much much more during the last 3-4 months. She has been considering returning to South Korea, or going to work and live in the US, and while her planned visit to South Korea was in the works last month, she hinted at the idea of returning to Busan and staying at Chan’s Guesthouse again. We discussed about heading down there together, and before we knew it, the hostel was booked and train tickets were bought. In addition, when my original return to Busan was cut short, I was glad to be given the awesome opportunity to turn the corner and spend time relaxing in Busan with Michelle, whom I was also very much looking forward to see again in person.

Two days before meeting in Busan, Michelle and I met up at Craftworks in Seoul and had an enjoyable evening together, and we were both delighted to soon commence our return to Busan in hopes of good times and gracious weather.

We joyfully chatted the entire train ride to Busan and it was definitely a delight to discover we had a lot in common.

Drinking Port with Mr. Chan, Michelle, and two new friends at Chan's Guesthouse - Busan, South Korea

Drinking Port with Mr. Chan, Michelle, and two new friends at Chan’s Guesthouse – Busan, South Korea

Upon our arrival to Chan’s guesthouse at 11:40pm, we set our bags down and then began hanging out in the “social area.” Not before long, Mr. Chan and two other cheery Korean guests returned to the hostel. The first thing I did was gift Mr. Chan with a bottle of Tawny Port that I was surprisingly able to find at the “wine depot” near my home in Gimpo. During my previous visit to Busan, Mr. Chan and I were discussing wines around the world, and I asked him if he had tried Port before. He had not and was very interested in trying some. Thus, I wanted to officially thank Mr. Chan with a small gift for helping and supporting me when I was terribly ill. If it wasn’t for him, my experience at the hospital would have been frustratingly troublesome.

Without a moment to lose, Mr. Chan brought everyone cups, opened the bottle, and pour some for all of us. What a surprise! What soon followed was all of us staying up, killing the bottle, and having a good time until 5:30am. I rarely ever stay up this late, but it was so much fun chatting and hanging out with everyone there, especially Michelle. It was definitely one of the great highlights of the trip that I’ll never forget.

After getting a few hours of sleep, Michelle and I then headed out into downtown Busan with the major itineraries of the day being that we visit Busan Tower, Jagalchi Market, and getting a scrumptious burger at Farmer’s Handmade Original Hamburger; the rest of the time would be just cruising around Busan. The weather was pristine and the sky was as blue as could be; it reminded me of Los Angeles after rains and winds had blown every smidgen of pollution from the atmosphere.

Busan Tower - Busan, South Korea

Busan Tower – Busan, South Korea

View from Busan Tower - Photo 1

View from Busan Tower – Photo 1

View from Busan Tower - Photo 2

View from Busan Tower – Photo 2

Michelle in Busan Tower

Michelle in Busan Tower

It was such a beautiful day, Michelle and I definitely lucked out.

Soon we headed to get where I think serves the best burgers in South Korea and shared a “Texas Burger.” I know I couldn’t visit Busan again without getting an awesome burger. What a treat! It was so good! Michelle concurred.

Farmer's Original Handmade Hamburger - Busan, South Korea

Farmer’s Original Handmade Hamburger – Busan, South Korea

Soon we headed to Jagalchi Market and took a stroll checking out all the wonderful fish that would soon be eaten. I saw the hugest shrimp I’ve ever seen and snapped a quick photo. These reddish-brown shrimp are about twice the size of my hand and would be awesome to grill up. Maybe next time.

Biggest Shrimp I've ever seen at Jagalchi Market - Busan, South Korea

Biggest Shrimp I’ve ever seen at Jagalchi Market – Busan, South Korea

The rest of day we spent cruising around Busan in addition to resting and chatting at a super large cafe near Busan Tower called “CoffeeSmith.”

Coffeesmith - Busan, South Korea

Coffeesmith – Busan, South Korea

There was practically no one inside the entire time we were there; it felt like we owned the place. I really don’t know how long we actually stayed there, it must have been more than a few hours, but it pleasantly didn’t feel like it. Both Michelle and I were engaged in deep, personal conversation about our lives, yearnings, and past experiences. We felt very comfortable talking to one another about such things, which is rare for me, and from what I know, rare for her as well. Amid our stay chatting at Coffeesmith, I realized how much I really liked her, more than I can say. From what I gather now, she liked me as well, as later that evening we would soon be looking deeply into each others’ eyes. Something good had started.

The following morning we attempted to go ice-skating, and as we were putting on our ice skates and walking around, the skates, which were the biggest the ice rink had for me, were still quite small and severely cutting into tendons around my ankles. I was in extreme pain just standing there and could hardly bear it, however, I was willing to hold on to my pride and go out and skate with the risk of seriously injuring myself. We had already paid for ice-skating and I didn’t want to look like a weakling by not going out on the ice, but Michelle saw and heard that I was in pain and insisted that we not go skating. To hear her express this to me was a huge relief, and the fact that she was not at all disappointed was also a tremendous blessing. With sizable bruises around my ankles we walked out of there with our arms around each other. What a very special, gracious, and understanding girl, I thought.

We would then wander along the Haeundae Beach shoreline enjoying every moment together under the Busan sun. It was very pleasant sharing this time in Busan with her, and I’ll never forget it.

Haeundae , Gwanan Bridge - Busan, South Korea

Haeundae , Gwanan Bridge – Busan, South Korea

APEC and Gwangan Bridge - Busan, South Korea

APEC and Gwangan Bridge – Busan, South Korea

Haeundae Beach - Busan, South Korea

Haeundae Beach – Busan, South Korea

Once we left Busan and before arriving back in Seoul, we had spent more time chatting on the train. I vividly recall laughing a lot together amid each others fresh jokes as we definitely ascertained that our sense of humor is quite similar.

After dining at California Pizza Kitchen in downtown Seoul, we were on our way back to our homes, and I sat on the subway already earnestly desiring to see her again.

I’m excited as we both wish to know each other more, and with some dates set, who knows what the future holds…

2 comments on “Under the Busan Sun

  1. Carey
    January 29, 2013

    Great pictures. The last few weeks have had scattered rains. So we have had the clear after rain skies alot. Glad you spent some time with a female you connected with.

  2. francho foto
    July 6, 2013

    Ni Paul, nice ti met you, i let my travel’s blog…
    And my website
    Espero que te vaya bien en tu aventura coreana.
    See you, hasta luego…

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“Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.”

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