Weekend Adventures


This weekend began with a quick study session at our favorite vegetarian restaurant here in Busan, The Loving Hut. We practiced our Korean for as long as we could until we were eventually kicked out because they closed.  We finally memorized the alphabet sounds though, so we can at least read words – even if we don’t know what they mean yet : )

We had Korean lessons early on Saturday where we learned a few words and impressed our teacher. The second half of class was spent eating and drinking to celebrate Chusok – the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving.  We went to eat at the Loving Hut again after lessons, then headed home. Ashley went for a run and I decided I wanted to explore a bit. I pulled out our newly aquired map and pointed at a place that looked fun.

A few minutes later, I was on the subway headed towards Sinpyeong – a part of the city about 1 hour away from where we live in Yeonsan Dong (Dong basically means “area”, so we live in the Yeonsan area). After I emerged from the subway, I walked for another hour towards my destination at Molundae. It was about that time that I realized there was no way I was going to get there by walking and get back for dinner, so I hopped on the bus for the first time – Yes, I can read the bus sign in Hangul (Korean script) now – way to go me!!!

I got off the bus and with some kind direction from a local, headed through a raw fish village (exactly what it sounds like) near the port and up into a wooded area. Finally, I have found a place of peace in the craziness of Busan! I walked up a small gravel road/walkway with a number of other Koreans ranging in dress from hardcore hiker to heels and a skirt.  There was a large pavillion from a few centuries ago along the path before it “Y’d”. I took the path which seemed less traveled to the right and after a few hundred meters, I came upon a fenced-off area with a guad building and a sharp drop off over the brush-filled cliff to the left. The drop had some ropes anchored to the surrounding trees leading down the side of a washout area and of course I had to follow. It was around a 100 foot climb down the slope, but it was worth it. I came out on a rocky beachside, enclosed on both sides by relatively high stone walls. In front of me was a small bay with a large, rocky island a few hundred meters out. I could see large ships crossing behind the island and coming into port. Small light houses and large buoy lights were everywhere as the coastline in this area is very rocky and apparently shallow (for large ships) this close to shore. There were only three other people down the shore a ways fishing – only seeing three people is pretty rare in Korea.

After a while, I climbed back up the side and decided to find out where the other side of the Y led. This side was obviously the more traditional route as I was joined by a number of Koreans all along the path. We quickly emerged onto a small overlook that viewed at least five other rocky shores, closed off by large rock formations. A few small boats were floating and a few people had managed to climb to the shores, but they were largely open. From this vantage point, I could see the end of the main Busan harbor with tons of huge freighters.

What was maybe more intriguing that than the view was the apparent readiness for war seen in the masses of barbed wire and gates that were set up along the headland. Literally everything around the headland was barbed off or gated. Where the tourist paths led, there were masses of barbed wire pulled back far enough for people to comfortably walk through. It was nonetheless ready to be put in place at a moments notice. Even more interesting were the military bunker fortifications, with seats still in them, built into the headland. Kind of a nice prequal to our trip to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) this weekend. We will actually step into North Korea!!!


After a two hour discussion at Philosophy Club at Starbucks in Seomyeon, we headed to the Loving Hut again to eat with our new friend Clarissa. She is also a rock climber, so our next goal was to locate one of the climbing gyms we had heard about. After lunch, we boarded the subway and headed to Nampodong. From the station there, we hiked uphill for about 30 minutes towards a mountain. After a while in the rain, we located a YMCA building which was to hold the 1st climbing gym we were looking for. To our suprise, it was FREE to use the gym! The climbing area itself is not a big area, but sizeable enough to practice on. Did I mention it is free? We met a few other climbers while we were there – one happens to also be a vegetarian. We are meeting lots of those lately. When we were finished, we took our seemingly shorter walk in the rain back to the subway station.

After dinner, Ash and I decided we would check out a DVD Bong for the first time. A DVD Bong is a personal movie theater. The one we went to was on the second floor and was decorated in pink flowers. When you walk in, you are met by a greeter and a shoe person. The greeter does the usual and the shoe person takes your shoes and puts them in a bag for you. Shoes are not allowed to be worn inside. The first room you walk into upon entering is a medium sized common area full of drinks and snacks (toast and honey, popcorn, ice cream, sweet ice coffee, and juices). The “theaters” themselves are small rooms with a cushioned floor that you kneel/step up into. The rooms have a number of throw pillows, a tv, a lamp and table, a few snacks, and a remote. You can pick to either watch TV or a movie. To put this in perspective, many Koreans live with their parents in a small apartment until they are married and need some areas to go to hang out with friends or girlfriends/boyfriends by themsleves. Basically, you just lay back and watch the movie, put it on pause if you want to go grab a snack, and use the phone in the room to call if you need assistance. Overall an interesting experience we probably won’t do again.

One more interesting weekend in Korea. Hopefully, there will be many more to come!


2 Responses to “Weekend Adventures”

  1. Linda Corriero says:

    Breathtaking!! I am enjoying the journal and feel like I am there with you which is good as I don’t see myself visiting Korea anytime soon. So thanks for sharing. It’s wonderful to see pictures of both of you. It makes me feel better that I can actually see you having such a great time. Love to you both.

  2. Dori says:

    as always…amazing photos! love the story updates too. miss you guys

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