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Published: August 6th 2007
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
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
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
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.
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