It was almost 10:10am and I was about to give up when we heard a call from across the busy street.
And there was e.k. on the other side of the street waving frantically. She thought we had said subway exit #2, not #1! The subway exits are all logically numbered so that you know on what corner of the intersection or street you will be exiting the underground at.
e.k. is short for her Korean name. She simply prefers to be called "e.k.". She's a mid 30's career woman who doesn't have room to host couchsurfers, but she enjoys spending time with visitors in order to practice her English and show them around town.
So, we decided to head to the coast to a recently built "Skywalk". She said that she had heard of it, but had never been so she wanted to see it as well. But when we got there, it was closed due to the inclement weather. Can't see why, but for whatever reason, it was closed. Didn't really matter because we all thought it was a little lame anyhow.
The Oryukdo Skywalk near Igadae Park. Admission is free...but only when it's open!
e.k. and Ruth near the closed gate of the skywalk.
The skywalk doesn't really stick out that far.
Opposite the skywalk is a huge apartment complex. They look fairly expensive, and of course many of the units would have a great view. But e.k. says they're actually fairly cheap because nobody wants to live there! She said they're actually too far away from the city itself.
Looking out to sea from the area of the skywalk. Yes, it was a rainy day!
So then e.k. said she would drop us off where we could do a short hike and she would wait in the car and do some work on her smart phone. We think she was using us as an excuse to play hooky from work today! That's fine by us! Plus, she didn't really have hiking attire with her. But by the time we got to the start of the trail, it was starting to rain much harder so we came up with another plan.
She had asked how we were doing here in Korea, and we mentioned that food was a bit of a challenge and we explained about not eating wheat. So, she says "I know of a bakery that does all of it's baking using rice flour"...and she drove us over there!
Ruth thinks she has landed in heaven!
A little pricey, but we splurged on a few take out items for tomorrow's lunch!
Then, e.k. suggested we go for lunch because we were close to a special place that she knew that does a dish called "bulgogi". It's like a ground beef bbq dish with all the typical Korean condiments, but it's a little expensive because beef is typically very expensive in Korea. But she wouldn't let us pay!
Ruth and e.k. and our lunch spot.
Kevin is better at sitting on the floor for eating, but Ruth is better at using chopsticks! No, there are no forks here. You get a spoon, and you get chopsticks. Korean chopsticks are metal and they are a little more difficult to use than the Chinese chopsticks that are typically wood.
When we left lunch it was still raining, so we decided on the Busan Museum which is next door to the United Nations Memorial Cemetery of Korea. The museum itself wasn't the greatest. We've been to much better, and to be honest we're sort of museumed out! You can only stare at so many broken pieces of pottery!
Some old masks.
Ruth and Kevin, dressed as Russians!
They had a temporary exchange display that contained articles from south eastern Russia. One area had some dress up clothes, so what better way to have fun on a rainy day. Does Ruth have a "Russian" look on her face.
e.k. got dressed up too!
From there, we went to the Memorial Cemetery. The United Nations sent a huge contingent of manpower to help fight the Korean War, and this cemetery holds monuments to all 16 countries who participated.
The single largest UN contributor was the United States of America (USA) which at one stage had 140,000 personnel deployed in direct combat roles in Korea. Great Britain, Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Colombia, Ethiopia, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, Greece, Thailand, Philippines and Luxembourg sent fighting units. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, India, Italy contributed military hospitals and field ambulances to the cause.
The Korean guards asked where we were from. We said Canada, and they smiled and went to tell the office. I think they simply keep track of where their visitors are from.
The grounds are beautiful. Too bad it started raining hard shortly after I took this picture.
There are over 2,100 soldiers buried here.
It's a really well done memorial. Highly recommend that this place is worth a visit, especially for anyone who through there home country has a connection. They play a 10 minute movie in the worship hall (they did the English version for us) that explains how the cemetery came to be, and there's a memorabilia room that has some interesting photos and statistics about how many people from each country took part.
We thought we were just about done, but e.k. insisted that she wanted to show us a popular Korean dessert. Okay!
It's a very fine shaved ice, but it's made from milk. Not very sweet, and with almonds and bean powder! Then, you pour a sweetened milk on top of it. Delicious, but I would have had a hard time eating a whole one.
We said goodbye to e.k., and she dropped us off right where she had picked us up. What a great afternoon we had...thanks e.k.!
Then, we got a message from our couchsurfing host Kim, asking us to join his family for dinner. He said he would meet us at the studio apartment where we're staying, at 6:30pm.
We thought we were going to his family's home, but we went to a nearby restaurant and met them there. His parents don't speak any English, but we had great conversation and a few laughs with Kim doing all of the translating. They were really interested in our trip to Africa and wanted to hear all about it.
Dinner. The pork that looks like bacon is actually very thick strips and they cook right in front of you. A lot of Korean restaurant cooking is like this.
They wouldn't let us pay for dinner either! People here are amazing. Actually, scratch that...people all over the world are amazing. Although the generosity of people in Korea does seem to overwhelm us. Then, they asked if they could take us on a night driving tour of the city. Okay!
Again, Korean's are very good bridge builders. The light show on the Gwangam Bridge is amazing.
The Busan Cinema Center is where the Busan International Film Festival was held earlier this month.
They have a huge outdoor covered seating area to watch a movie! Can you see the size of the screen compared to Kevin?
The bridge again, taken from Gwangam Beach.
Looking down the beach at the lights.
Busan is amazing at night. The city is lit up with so many colorful lights. We hope to be able to see it another night when the weather is better!
Jim, Kevin, Ruth, and Sue.
Kim's parent's are old school and have never had English names. They told us their Korean names and we suggested they sounded like Jim and Sue! So now they have English names!
Wow. How to turn a miserable rainy day, into a fantastic day! Thank you so much Kim, Jim, and Sue...we totally enjoyed our evening with you!