Was Stranded on a ferry but thank goodness ramen is a national past time

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August 6th 2007
Published: August 6th 2007
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Seaweed? No. SeahorseSeaweed? No. SeahorseSeaweed? No. Seahorse

Busan Aquarium
What was supposed to be a lovely passenger cruise ferry between Osaka and Busan taking 16 hours took more into a 28 hour ordeal. I awoke at 5am from the ship moving abruptly. Realizing that no one was panicking and the ship wasn't sinking, I went back to sleep. Two hours later, I stared out of our window and noticed that our ship wasn't moving... and would not move for another 10 hours. Our Panstar ferry was involved in a minor collision with a smaller vessel and the Japanese coast guard had to be called to inspect the damage. In an effort to appease irate passengers, the ferry provided lunch and dinner. This foray into Korean cuisine left me curious but not desperately seeking out more of the same cuisine. I appreciate that small dried fish seasoned with peppers and seaweed is high cuisine for some, but it is perhaps not for me. Can anyone explain the ingredients of the much loved milky soup? We noticed a faint chicken flavour but it was for the most part an unidentifiable flavour soup base. Thankfully, the Korean love of ramen (evident from the many Korean commercials I saw onboard the ferry and nearly
Busan Beach Busan Beach Busan Beach

image taken minutes before the monsoon downpour...
all passengers on the ferry diving into a bowl within an hour of departure from Osaka) kept me well fed during this ferry ordeal.

Busan was a great city to explore in the one day we had. Families came out in droves to the Hae-undae and Gwang-an beach and set up camp. The Korean (and perhaps general Asian) dislike of the sun is noticeable as many wore full clothing into the water and others sought refuge under one of the many sun umbrellas hogging up all the space on the beach. The weather is evidently unpredictable in Busan as moments after we packed up our belongings from the beach, the monsoon deluge of rain came pouring down. The rain evidently did not scare away some, as they temporarily sought refuge in the subway entrance and then went back to playing in the water as soon as the hour long pouring finished.

My adventures in Asia have allowed my first experience in being considered a freak worthy of attention. Apparently I pass for being Korean. Utter amazement and rapid chatter in Korean spews forth when the instigator of conversation realizes that I am not actually Korean, but am from
Fish anyone?Fish anyone?Fish anyone?

if it swims, its fair game for the frying pan.
North America and travelling with a tall, skinny white person. The thoughts either running through this person's head were either:
A. She's betrayed the motherland by associating with one of them.
B. How did she become a kept woman?
C. I'd like to pat her on the head, but I'll settle for giving her a candy in appreciation for being a freak.
D. How come all asians don't speak Korean?

Today, in Seoul, we were deemed worthy of attention as a group of small Korean children came up to us, well mainly Tyson, and asked if they could take a picture with us to document this freak show of sorts. For a guy who is teaching English as a second language, I had to translate the korenglish as his brain has been muddled by engrish. Suddenly a swarm of 10 Korean children descended upon us and fingers stuck up in the Asian sign for peace in anticipation of the camera. Then suddenly as they appeared, they disappeared making us wonder if we had just made the entire debacle up.

And here are the random observations thus far:
Asians believe that soothing music played in the subways will calm
Emergency preparationEmergency preparationEmergency preparation

If you're on a subway train... you'll be safe from chemical or biological warfare.
frantic commuters. In Osaka, this translates to bird chirping noises and the sound of the wind. In Busan, they played jazz. At the arrival of the incoming train, the Busan Transit System played a sound similar to a ringing phone. I wonder what happens when a Korean (from Busan) comes to North America, and hears a cell phone go off. Does s/he look around to see where the train is coming from?

As we walked near the waterfront in Busan, I noticed freshly butchered and skinned eels that were still moving from exposed nerves. I came to realize that this sight was enticement to eat at a particular seafood dining establishment over another as proof of the you-can't-get-any-fresher-than-this.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


6th August 2007

Ramen and Freak shows
It's a good thing that ramen comes in different flavours depending on the region. Though it seems in Korea, it comes mostly in a kimchi variation with volcanic red soup, back in Japan, ramen will be milder and more flavourful. You'll be able to taste the difference in miso ramen or pork bone soup flavour. As for amusement shown by the locals, be thankful that you're not taller and blond with freckles. They're more jealous than thinking you were a freak. From my eperience, I think the thoughts running through their heads were more along the lines of: a. Even though she's Korean, her English is so good. I wonder where she learned it. I want to be like her. b. Asian but living in Canada, like some of my friends who emigrated. I wish I could go. c. How did she manage to score a handsome white guy like him? d. All of the above. Albert
7th August 2007

Yum Eel Soup
Eel is one of Stacey and I's favorites. Be sure to have a fresh one for us! Gil

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