Korean Thanksgiving, Part 2

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October 7th 2006
Published: October 27th 2006
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Why, you may ask, did Alexis have all this time off in the first place? Well, let me tell you.

For the conference, it was over a weekend, plus my school was required to give me Monday off. But the rest of the glorious days off were because of a wonderful and huge holiday here called Chuseok. Chuseok is the biggest holiday in Korea and can be considered equivalent to Thanksgiving. People go to their homes, exchange gifts (not quite in the same way as Christmas, I should say-- usually they give food items or gift sets or things, from what I observed), meet with extended family, make traditional foods (including some delicious, sweet rice cakes-- soft kinds, not the hard stuff you're thinking of that they sell in the US). It's an important holiday here where people honor their families and their ancestors.

And, it's a beautiful holiday for me because I had a week off of school. (I would've stayed home with my host family, but since they own the only store in Dolsan Park, and since Chuseok is a big tourist time, they were working non-stop and told me to go ahead and travel.)

So, on with the adventuring. After Andong, Colleen and I took a bus (yes, we've mastered both the transportation and accommodation vocabulary and systems, to a certain extent) to Busan where we started sightseeing and enjoying big city life. We went to Jagalchi market (a huge fish market where we got to see raw/live fish/octopus/eel/etc., eel/fish/etc. being chopped up alive, dried eel/fish/squid/etc., and all kinds of other delicious prospects). There were even two whole pig heads-- it was pretty awesome. I wanted to take pictures, but I was shy. Didn't want to look like that gawking tourist foreigner. Unfortunately, as I don't blend in so well here, I can't escape that image. But, I didn't think of that at the time. I was just thinking, "Inconspicuous, Alexis. Be inconspicuous." Just look up "Jagalchi" on Google under images. You'll be amazed. You'll see.

Then, we headed up to Busan Tower where we got a great view of the city and its surroundings. It was beautiful, and Colleen and I got to watch the sunset as we stood up there. After that, we met up with another Fulbrighter (Rohit) for dinner and drinks and headed back to our hotel. Quite a nice day.

The last day, we went to two famous beaches in Busan-- Haeundae Beach (pretty big and pretty) and Gwangalli Beach (a little less touristy, but also a little noisy/crowded because of traffic and everyday life around it). Haeundae seemed more of a getaway, which was nice. It was great to watch the ocean come in and enjoy the sun and sand. So, we basically spend most of day two at the beach, and then headed back for Yeosu late (and even later with an hour-long delay due to traffic). But, a fun time was had by all!

And, most importantly, Busan has a Starbuck's. And though Starbuck's is not my favorite brand of coffee, they do have chocolate-covered espresso beans, which I took the pleasure of buying and, as a good foreign teacher would, gave them as Chuseok gifts to my co-teacher and Vice Principal. Ask me whether they are appropriate Chuseok gifts, and I wouldn't have the slightest. BUT, they are delicious and, heck, most people in Yeosu don't get to Starbuck's every day.

Additional photos below
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...with Rohit and Colleen.

27th October 2006

Mmmm... Jagalchi.
3rd November 2006

Haha..I love that you were trying to be inconspicuous at Jagalchi. I did that too - "Must look like I belong, must not be mistaken for tourist... oh, wait... I'm the only blue-eyed curly-haired person here. DANG." I think the trick is to get a really snazzy camera with all sorts of equipment so then you look like you're an important, fancy photographer and not just a snapshot-ing tourist. So what if it would cost $10,000??
27th December 2006

Dude! How are ya Alexis? I was definitely in Busan for 3 days back in the beginning of November. I was in Pyeongtaek (took a day up to Seoul too) before that! - how far are you from there? I should be coming back eventually!

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