Busan or Bust
My Korean life is not unlike living in the eye of a tornado. There is honestly never a dull moment, never a moment devoid of mental or physical stimulus. The Lazy days in Seattle full of rain, and multiple movie viewings, where a trip to HSAC (my premiere and beloved workout facility back home....r.i.p.) to get swole was enough to make a day productive; frequenting the same bars and
clubs, driving on the same roads, being seduced by the small home town feeling of E-town.....comparing the memories of those days with my adventures in Korea is an exercise in absolute futility. The difference is night and day, black and white, ebony and ivory (in the words of Sydney Dean from the film "White Men Can't Jump").
To illustrate this extreme contrast of life pace, I will try to sum up my recent cross country trip in few words and more pictures. Here are the necessary details: Crew consisted of Johnny Blaze, his girl Jazmine, Cheech aka Alicia (a mutual name shared by both us) and myself, Joey Seattle the numba one stunna. (I welcome any comments on the degree of my nerdacity) Destination: Busan, the second biggest city in Korea, home to the biggest port in the country and arguably the most popular and attractive beach, Hay Un Day. ETD from Pyongtaek: 11pm. ETA in Busan: between 3 and 4 am Saturday morning.
Getting maybe 45 minutes of sleep on the train due to a fierce yet lackadaisical (due to tiredness) round of Gin Rummy made the initial hours of my Busan experience seem dream like. Wandering around the beach, strolling through a 24 hour sea food market, and grocery shopping at a convenience store with a vat of silk worm larvae next to the register between the hours of 3 and 4 am felt like it was all a drug induced hallucination. All thoroughly enjoyable and memorable. We finally got to
our hotel room and were coppin Z's by about 5 am, after closing the blinds like vampires to deflect the light of the rising sun.
After some decent R&R my team awoke refreshed and full of spunk; in the proceeding 15 hours or so, there were absolutely no prisoners taken and I can say without a shred of doubt that Hay Un Day beach and Busan was taken by storm.
The Beach: Architecturally speaking, I thought I was on Mars. So different from what I am used to, but I loved it none the less. Comically speaking, my beloved friend John came equipped with about 5 inches of bathing suit. That combined with him having the grace of an elderly crippled rhinoceros resulted in a never ending string of giggling. At one point he immerged from the sea like a proud mariner in his mankini, strutting his stuff only to trip and eat sand a second later. (John is the more self respecting individual in the pic at right who avoided wearing an animal print speedo). Fun and the enjoyment that was had: beach
volleyball strait out of top gun, wanbaan (frisbee), swimming in my familiar old friend the Pacific Ocean, and soakin up some rays all culminated in an amazingly fun and relaxing afternoon. Like a jackass I of course did not use enough sunscreen and am suffering as I write this from a pretty good sunburn. I definitely turned my familiar shade of lobster. Once a Fryberg always a Fryberg.
The Feast and Celebration: We bussed about 25 minutes into the heart of Busan to experience the main seafood market of the city. A virtual maze of endless tanks filled with writhing and wriggling aquatic life waiting to be butchered and served raw to willing and hungry customers. Eels, squid, octopus, baby sharks (I don't know
what kind), shell fish, the list goes on and on. After we selected our meal, which was prepared and served to us in a timely manner, I wasted no time in sinking my teeth into perfectly raw fish, squid, and portions of enormous clams that bore a striking and unfortunate resemblance to parts of the male anatomy. At one point I know that I had a severed, completely intact fish head between my teeth. And of course it was all washed down with a steady flow of mekju and soju. The dinner was made even more romantic (than a main course of raw anything can be), by flattery and compliments on my looks from who else besides Korean men. The men in this
country apparently find me irresistible. If that peeled my banana I'd be the happiest man on the planet, but it sadly doesn't and all I can offer up is an embarrassed laugh and pray I don't meet the complimentary Koreans in dark alleys at night. Again, I have written a damn novel and need to cut myself off. Of the rest of my adventure, all I am going to offer is what happens in Busan stays in Busan. I leave you all with a favorite movie quote of mine and hope that it makes someone smile: "May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face." Fred Jung: "And may the winds of destiny carry you aloft..." George and Fred Jung: "...to dance with the stars."