The Busan Diaries: Day I

Day I: Thursday. Arrival time 6pm.

I had never imagined standing up for an hour and a half was going to be this difficult. Holiday season in Korea often forces travelers to ride trains without seats and here I was doing the same. I won’t deny that I didn’t have several half chances to grab a seat for my sorry ass but there were passengers from 1930’s who hadn’t had a seat too and since I seem to have some level of humanity in me, I didn’t bother. My leg issues weren’t as big as theirs.

The city I was heading to was Busan, a port city at the south east side of South Korea. It is perhaps most famous for its bikini clanged beaches, sexy accent and most importantly, food. I had longed to be there and empty my wallet but unfortunately, just managed to make a four hour short trip of the city last summer where I literally got to see nothing. Besides the beach of course. You can’t miss that.

This time though, I had about a day and a half to spend (have work on Saturdays too) and had made some vague plans to do this and that, however, had no clue where I was going to spend the two odd nights in. Motels and hostels were all packed, homestays had a big “FULL” sign on their websites but I didn’t bother. Brilliant ideas always come up when you are drunk at the beach.

Having now arrived at the station, I headed straight to the tourist information center and tried to become as touristy as possible. Armed with the Haps, a local English magazine whom I had flirted around with several times before, a giant Korean Busan map (which annoyed everyone on the subway when I tried opening it… I mean, who carries maps these days?) and a couple of discount coupons for some attractions, I made my way to Gwangan, where, after meeting vodka, initiated code PUB CRAWL and went about sampling every pub on the neighborhood.

But it was not until we took the subway and arrived at the Booth at Haeundae Beach that I really started to acclimatize to the place. The pub had a fantastic balcony seat which provided a perfect platform (literally) for goofing around and talking nonsense. The view didn’t have the beach but did include a myriad of redundantly lit buildings, restaurants and semi-drunk people down below. We were just too busy talking shit that we hardly cared.

Having drank a share fare of Seoul’s stout, we headed back to the streets which led straight to what is perhaps, Korea’s most celebrated beach. After trying to find a place nearby and failing so miserably, we decided to call it a day and off went vodka on a taxi. For me now, it was finally time to think worry about sleep.

One thing that has grown on me these days is the love for Saunas. Getting naked in middle of an all-out staring competition is still a hard one to swallow, however, with my glasses off, that’s hardly an issue. I could also argue that the uniform they make you wear is quite the un-fit, but given that everyone looks hilarious on the outfit and nobody cares, it all sums to be just fine. The fact that you are there for the sauna and some sleep and not for a fashion show seems to be obvious to the owners.

That's the exact place I went to

The sauna that I did managed to pick for the night stayed true to what I said above but in a much larger scale. The place was massive, with almost a matching number of transient residents on mats snoring and talking in hushed voices. I found a small space besides this massive window and off I was dreaming about things I can’t possibly allow myself to write it down here.

Some privacy please.

Day II, tomorrow. Gotta go now.


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