We wrapped up our Korean journey by spending three days / four nights in Busan, South Korea’s second largest city. This city of 3 million people is wedged between the Sea of Japan and nearby mountains, so its very dense and vertical. We went there to visit Marian’s cousin and her daughter, as well as to experience a different part of the country besides Seoul.
Our Busan AirBnB was on the top floor of a condo adjacent to the beach. During the summer the beach is packed with thousands of vacationers. However, it was desolate the first week of December save for a few surfers in wet suits. The city is exploding with Chinese investments and overall Asian wealth. From our condo we oversaw the construction of three 1100 ft towers, one of them will have over 100 floors, which will be luxury condos.
Ethan and I got the drone out for the second time and captured a few videos which are compiled in the video below. The initial flight proved to be an adventure because the drone uses wifi to communicate, and you can only imagine how many wifi hot spots there were up and down the beach throwing off interference. We had trouble controlling the drone and eventually did an emergency auto-land because we lost signal completely. We then went to a peninsula farther away from the high rises and had a lot of fun capturing more scenes.
We’ve been blessed with great weather but we had two days of rain at the beginning of our Busan stay. Given the cold wet weather, and general fatigue from our first full week overseas, we took it easy initially. During those first days we explored the local markets and the world’s largest department store. We spent our last full day exploring Gyeongju, which is about 60 km north of Busan. That is the subject of a previous post.
We are still living off of our cold clothes, with our warm weather clothes remaining mostly untouched. We are starting to settle into a travel routine, which consists of lazy mornings, afternoon explorations, and evenings of journaling and social media.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the korean food and culture and have been spoiled by some of the fastest internet speeds on the planet. We don’t miss much from Seattle, other than family and especially Apollo (our dog). We made it all the way through Korea without eating a single western meal, but there might have been an emergency McDonald’s hamburger or two. It’s amazing how globalized the world has become – Starbucks is on every street corner, just like in Seattle. At the same time Korea has their own identity: street food is pervasive and the people are very stylish. The country overall feels energetic and optimistic.
Korea was a great “soft start” for our first expedition to Asia with its modern culture and our or local linguists Marian and Ann. We’ve used public transportation almost exclusively, with only a few miss-adventures. We’ve come to recognize that travel days are “transition days”: long days navigating new cities and cultures. A positive attitude and massive patience is critical. Once in a new city it takes a day or two to get your bearings and figure out where to procure the essentials, like morning coffee. We’ve been traveling pretty fast and we may have to revisit that strategy before long.
We are now in Kyoto and will be posting about that soon. Afterwards we will head to Tokyo then south into Southeast Asia and start our endless summer. Here’s a summary of our Korea / Japan itinerary just to keep everyone oriented.