Wednesday, December 5, 2012

S.Korea - travelling to Busan

Day 8 - Thursday Sept 20.

After visiting a few temples in Korea, on Thursday we decided to visit our own temple. Mum and I went at 10am and as luck would have it (or not :)), the temple was only a short walk from our apartment. When we were trying to find it, we could actually see Moroni from our window. It was funny because we had been there for a whole week without realising how close it was and we knew we were always going to go and I was stressing about how many train stops it would take to find it in a city of 12 million and in the end it was only a ten minute walk away.

Even though we were right in Seoul, walking into the sound proof building was so peaceful. It felt so good to escape the city. It felt like I was home, not home in Tasmania, just home home and it was so quiet and serene and the gardens were lush and beautiful, a little oasis in a world of rushing to and fro.

 This was my first time in an overseas temple and so we got to wear headsets because they spoke in Korean. I thought that would distract me but it was probably one of the best sessions I've had because I paid close attention to the words spoken right in my ear. I was also very privileged to have a very special experience that I will treasure and hold dear in my heart. Because of that, I feel a real connection to this temple and I would love to come back again.

At 2 pm we took the bullet train down to Busan down to the southern end of South Korea, where we stayed for the last 4 days of our Korean experience.

The train travelled at 300kms an hour so we did 417kms in 2.5 hours. Wouldn't that be great from Launie to Hobart.

The scenery started to change and for the first time we saw lots of greenery and trees and no more high rises for awhile.

Once we arrived at Busan, we had to catch the local metro train which only has 4 lines compared to Seoul's 10 or so lines. Busan is the country's second biggest city, housing 3.6 million residents compared to the capital which has 12 million. We went about 16 stops before getting off near our hotel. Taking the subway is full on at the best of times but with all our luggage as well, it was quite stressful because I was afraid ethe doors were going to close before we got the 8 of us off with 7 bags and 6 backpacks.

We weren't quite sure now to find our hotel but as usual there was someone offering to help, their manners are impeccable and a mixture of wanting to practice their English and curious about foreigners. A youn army man asked if we needed help and a little cluster of people gathered around looking on. Eventually a lady said she wold walk us to our hotel to show us where it was. We made quite a path marching along single file along the road with all our luggage and as usual we got many looks and Flynn was the main attraction sitting up on Simon's back in the pack.

We loved the hotel as it had a telly with cartoons, Korean of course but Jonty didn't seem to mind that and we had our rooms cleaned each day, fresh towels in the bathrooms and our beds made. The apartment we came from in Seoul had nothing done for the seven days we were there so even though we had it tidy it didn't feel very clean by the end of the week.

Busan is so much nicer than Seoul. We called it Korea's version of the Gold Coast.  I could really notice a difference between 12 million and 3.6 million people. It was a bit of a respite from the crowds and I loved the slower pace, more like one of our mainland capital cities than a sea of never ending bodies.

While I put Flynn to sleep after tea, the others checked out the beach.

The beach was called Hyundae beach. The kids had to dodge the plastic in the water which was a real shame. It baffled me a bit because for some parts of their culture, the people here are really clean. Everybody is immaculately dressed (no trakky dacks in public here), very fashion conscious and seem to take pride in their appearance but not prideful about it. At the entrance to department stores, they have these contraptions where you put your wet umbrella in and when you draw it out, it is covered in plastic so you don't drip water on the floor in the store. On your way out there is a bin to dispose of your plastic wrap before you open your umbrella to go outside. Amazing device to keep places clean but then the beach was a complete contradiction of sorts. But the water was warm as it was a few degrees warmer down here with average temps of 25 degrees as opposed to about 22 degrees in Seoul for this time of year.

See what I mean about the Gold Coast.

This lady was showing her child, the kids and their blonde hair and really white skin.

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