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Published: August 28th 2012
It was curry for breakfast after all. Chicken and veg curry with rice. And some red things in a sauce that I didn't try in case they were spicy or fish. Actually it was very tasty but way too early for someone who usually has a weetabix and a banana for breakfast.
Yesterday I visited the UN cemetery in central Busan. When the North Koreans initially invaded this south eastern corner of the country was the only part they didn't manage to occupy and therefore it was here that the cemetery was created after the war. I was surprised that there are as many as 885 British soldiers buried here, the largest of any nation that fought as part of the UN response ( most of the other nations repatriated their soldiers). There was an interesting exhibition and it was a very quiet and pretty place.
From here I got the subway to the other side of town and aimed to walk along Jeoryeong Coastal trail to Taejongdae island. My cartoonish tourist map had led me to believe that Taejondae was a lot closer than it was. Just trying to find the trail was a bit of a mission as the Koreans aren't hot on signage. You might find a sign telling you that the thing you're looking for is 1km around the corner but after that you're on your own and it was by chance that I found it.
I'd bought myself some snacks for lunch and so stopped along the way to eat them. Including what I thought were some boiled eggs. When I cracked one open what I found instead was an egg with no white and a cylindrical jellified looking yoke. I have no idea what it was but I wasn't about to eat it. Perhaps if I'd been with someone else it would have been funny to try it but I didn't want to sit there on my own, wretching.
The walk itself was along some rugged coastline and was very pretty. After the sticky humidity of Seoul it was nice to get a cool sea breeze and the paths were decorated with pictures formed out of pebbles. I met a few older Koreans along the way, all of whom shouted 'Hello', but mostly had the paths to myself. Towards the end of the trail I had been walking for 3 hours and was looking forward to finding a shop in the town nearby and buying a cold drink. I had about 1 mouthful of water left. However, just at the end of the path I found my route blocked by a telegraph pole and old fridge. I have no idea why they were there, though the beach at this stage was pretty littered, so I decided to turn back and take one of the many paths up the the main road. However, to my horror they were all closed off with tape! I climbed up and down I don't know how many flights of steps, increasingly thirsty and dreaming of entering an air conditioned shop. In the end I decided to risk it. At the top of the next flight I would stick my head out and , if there was no one around or nothing dangerous, I was going through the tape. Imagine my joy then, when I climbed through at the next flight, and found a lady sitting at a kiosk selling cold drinks! I've never been so grateful for anything. I ordered a bottle of water and she brought me something yellow coloured with a picture of an ear of wheat on the front of it. Wheat water? What's that? If I hadn't been so thirsty I might have been really British about it and bought it but I wasn't about to quench my thirst with something that was bound to taste like weak squash.
Today I had planned to visit Haeundae Beach but the weather was terrible so I spent it doing unexciting things like buying a bus ticket to Gyeonju tomorrow.
However, by evening the weather had improved so I decided to make an evening trip to Busan's famous beach. On the subway I got talking to an American man who's here teaching. When I say got talking, what I mean is he waved at me from the other end of the carriage as if we were long lost friends when in fact I've never seen him before in my life. Perhaps that's what you do when you spot another Westerner here. After a while he asked me " How can you be from London and be British? I didn't think you could be English and British?". Ummm... what? This was a difficult question to answer as it made no sense. So I explained how Britian works which, unfortunately got is on the the topic or Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which was when he asked me " what that was all about" and so I had to and try explain that entire situation to a man of very little sense. Mercifully, he eventually got of the subway well before I did!
In order to get to Haeundae beach you have to walk up a road lined with TGI Fridays, Burger King, Starbucks..and a bar called Fuzzy Navel. Nice. The wind was unbelievable strong at this point. It was like walking in to a wall and the closer I got the beach the more intense it became. As I was waiting to cross the road ( and you can wait at least a good 5 minutes for the green man in Korea) it occured to me that there had been a typhoon in Japan. That's not far from here...should I be here? But loads of other people were so I figured it was safe, lifeguards were there, so spent a while admiring the huge waves and the fact that for the first time in a week there was not one bead of sweat on me.
After a while, exhausted from trying to remain standing and feeling fully exfoliated I decided to walk back to the station via a row of markets. Raw fish is a speciality in this region and many restaurants have tanks of fish, eels, crabs... everything outside. Some of the fish looked in pretty poor shape. There's something quite disturbing about watching a fish gasping for air under water!
For the first time the little cafes had signs in English so I had an idea about what was on the menu. However, it doesn't matter what language you translate it in to, I ain't never eating cooked pigs head.
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