Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
The first half of Christmas Day was spent with Michelle and her amazing family in the Namyangju countryside, and everything was jolly until I came up with the bright idea for Michelle and I to head into Seoul for a scrumptious burger or top-notch Mexican food. Michelle was game, but adamantly warned me of how busy it would be. Thus, with starry-eyed daydreams of tranquil empty roads and vacant shopping centers back in America on Christmas Day, I chuckled in disbelief and stubbornly brushed her concerns aside as we set off toward Seoul with hungry stomachs.
By the time we reached the nearest metro station, our bus was completely packed, and sadly the metro was severely stuffed as well. Every metro we then used to get to where we were going was loaded with people, most supposedly headed to go shopping with shiny new gift-cards in their pockets and one-day Christmas sales to look forward to use them on. To my utter demise, I learned the hard way that mostly everything is open on Christmas Day, and that folks do not take a shopping day-off and spend it at home with their families and friends. Instead, like most other holidays besides Chuseok, shopping and eating out is the thing do. I ascertained that everyone seemed to have the same idea as me. In my defense, this was my first Christmas in Seoul, but I was greatly shocked and almost became fed-up on how packed it was as the last thing I wanted to do was fight crowds on Christmas. My starry-eyed daydreams of cruising along placid streets were dashed in contempt, and it almost ruined my afternoon, but Michelle was a good sport and made a reservation for the restaurant we planned to dine at. Good thing she did, there were over 10 couples waiting when we arrived.
Amid our dinner and later at Cafe Ethiopia, we expounded our ideas for the trip to Busan and Yeosu that we were about to begin the following day. We were very excited and grateful to have a clear opportunity to leave the craziness of Seoul-world for several days, and be together in the town where we first met, and a town that honestly reminds me of home.
We went from this…
Located on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, Busan weather is always very pleasant. When it’s snowing and frigid in Seoul, Busan is only somewhat chilly and never tough to bear. The sun was shinning and it felt like paradise. We’ve realized that visiting Busan in winter is such a delight, as there are no crowds, no packed restaurants or sidewalks, and the weather is quite decent for taking seaside strolls. Busan became our much-needed modest getaway to tune-out the world and enjoy each others’ company for a few days.
With no real huge plans, except to visit a large sauna in Songjeong Beach and perhaps hang out around Dalmaji-gil, we spent most of the time cruising around Busan and visiting restaurants we enjoyed once before and also trying some new ones that primarily focus on preparing Busan delicacies. We ate octopus dishes, pork & vegetable soups, busan-style Chinese food, as well as a western-inspired sandwich at one of my favorite restaurants in Busan.
We then spent a joyful afternoon at a large, sumptuous sauna (jimjilbang) located at Songjeong Beach, which is 10-minute taxi ride up the coast from Haeundae Beach. My initial hunch was that it would not be that busy at all as it’s quite away from everything, and I was right – we practically owned the place and had a delightful time resting in a variety of large sauna rooms all to ourselves. This was our first sauna experience together and it certainly will not be our last.
Not long after relaxing at the sauna, we hailed a taxi and began the short trip back to where we were staying in Haeundae Beach. Amid the return back on the mountain ridge road called Dalmaji-gil, which grants a great view of Busan, Haeundae Beach, and the beautiful horizon; a sunset was about to occur. I kindly demanded that the taxi stop in order to let us out to enjoy the sunset. While watching the sunset I soon ascertained something about Michelle that was a great surprise to me.
The sunset was spectacular and serene. It was such a wonderful moment together. What made it even more special was that this was our first time watching the sunset together, and even more surprisingly so was that this was Michelle’s first time ever watching one.
I was in awe.
“Really? Your first sunset? You serious?” I questioned in surprise.
She looked at me and said, “Yes.”
Again, I was in awe.
Wow. I was dumbfounded by her firm remark. A part of me honestly felt sad for her for having missed out on watching at least one sunset during her youth and years in Australia, but I felt extremely grateful in being together while watching her first sunset in her home country and the city in which we met for the first time. I will never forget this moment.
Sunsets have always been a fascination of mine. They are very special and quite bizarre, and I’ve always enjoyed watching them ever since I was child and wherever I am in the world. It’s so bizarre that something so big can just disappear only to reappear the following day. I admire the array of transcendent colors that gradually transform as time passes, especially when some clouds are present along the horizon. In addition, there are always those few moments during a sunset when multitudinous colors are blended together so beautifully that it looks like one of Renoir’s oil paintings, yet much more ethereal. Our Busan sunset definitely tops the list of all the sunsets I’ve seen, not solely because of how beautiful it was, but because of being able to share it with the woman of my dreams – a first for me.
Busan will always be a special place for Michelle and I. We greatly enjoyed our time there and it was very hard to leave. However, we were soon to have good times in Yeosu…