Thursday, 23 June 2011

Seoul- Busan (27th of September)

We were hoping to meet up with the cousin of my former Korean-Canadian flatmate, but mycold got in the way. Instead we took the metro to the station, purchased our tickets from a machine, went to a supermarket where they grow hydroponic lettuces and got some very expensive apples (you can almost stay overnight in China for the price of a Korean apple) that we ate very slowly, walked around the city, brought some books for the freighter journey which they stamped with the date after we'd paid for them and looked at some temples right in the middle of the high rises.

The train was modern, inside similar to a Canadian train, cool, almost empty and very speedy, so fast that it made looking out the window a bit tricky. Lots of rice fields sped past us and we went through some very long tunnels. The streets of Busan were very busy and it took a long time for me to find a cash machine that would let me take any money out. After getting the metro we wandered the streets searching for the hostel. Jenny had copied a map off the internet, which bared no resemblance to reality and we walked up and down the same dark streets loads of times and past the same pet shop with squirming puppies in tiny cages. Children dressed in maroon uniforms were winding their way to/from night classes and people were sitting out in the alleys eating. Nowhere was there anything resembling a hostel. The optician left me in his shop, went to ask someone and then phoned someone else, but he was just directing me to a hostel miles away and on another metro line. They couldn't really speak English in the electronics shop or in the clothes shop. We didn't try the pizza shop, despite walking past it a great many times. Phoning dad was difficult and we didn't have enough coins to hold a conversation. Finally we tried the pharmacy and although he hadn't heard of the hostel we did somehow manage to be pointed to the right road.

The Pusan hostel was more of a house/apartment with a few other people, most of whom had been in Korea a while, travelling and teaching. One of the people who worked there was giving English lessons to a Korean man and two German girls were sleeping in a bed in the kitchen. There was a Scandinavian girl from France in our room who funnily enough was also waiting it out in Busan to get a freighter across the Pacific. She'd also studied Environmental Science, given up flying, made it all the way across Russia and was waiting for a ship to Mexico. Her departure date kept changing and she was already meant to have left, but had now been told that the ship wouldn't be leaving for another week. She was annoyed that she'd rushed to get to Busan and now had to do all this waiting. We'd also have to wait for Mr SI Shin from the port to contact us with details of our departure. He'd already sent us an email that the ship was due to arrive on the 29th at 2200hrs and depart on the 30th at 1500hrs.

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