Tuesday, August 16, 2011

here comes the sun

While Gwangan beach is clogged with umbrellas and floaty toys, the rocky Eastern end just has shellfish. There are bikinis in the distance, but the people gathering mussels wear hats, gloves and bandanas.


Monday, August 15, 2011

the boy in the bright blue jeans

There are a lot of advertisements in Korean bath and body stores for men's products. My Korean boyfriend has less chest hair than I do.

(I think he's advertising face cream?)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to the top

On the East end of Gwangalli beach (where Autumn lives) there are two big buildings that, together, kind of look like an owl's face. Like many tall buildings in Busan, they are mostly empty. Autumn and I went up to the fifteenth floor, just because we could.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boris the spider...

Along Haeundae beach in Busan, there are a number of interactive murals.


(I don't know if I'm supposed to fear the future or the giant spider.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It's become a custom for Autumn and I to spend weekend days (before and after the roller coaster rides, of course) people watching at cafes.

The Paris Baguette near Kyungsung University is an excellent venue, as it offers sandwiches and salads as well as tasty sweet things, and on very hot July days it is also air-conditioned.


(That delightfully shiny ring-o-balls on my tray is a mochi ring, which I highly recommend if you ever come across them in the States. They have them at Mister Donut and Dunkin' Donuts here, but I don't know if they do over there. It's chewy and sweet in the same way that you'd imagine Hello Kitty is chewy and sweet.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hail Caesar

Centum City is the world's largest department store, according to Korea. I'm not sure I believe that, as a department store with a Cartier department and a Tiffany department (and a Gap department and a Bookstore department) very closely resembles what we call in the West a "shopping mall."

But I would believe that Centum City has the most elaborate subway station. It looks like Caesar's Palace!


Monday, August 8, 2011

hotel, motel

Nancy Drew's got to have a mystery out there called "The Secret of the Navi Hotel."

I first visited it with Peter on Valentine's Day when we took a walk along the beach and he needed to use a washroom.

The open doors on the ground floor showed a shiny gold sign that says “Navi Hotel.” The front desk was on the fourth floor, so we took the elevator up and entered the dark, bare front desk area. Behind the desk there was sheet-covered polyhedron of chairs. This was not a bustling hotel. Pete wandered down the hall and managed to turn on the light for the bathroom. I wandered into the dining room, which overlooked the sea. A screen split the room in half, and the far side was piled high with unused furniture.

On the civilized side of the screen, there was a table with coffee service, and the stirring-spoon was in a dish of water with a quarter of an inch of evaporation. Someone had made tea and then tossed the teabag into the bin. The samovar was still plugged in. This place had recently been occupied.

The most unnerving sign of a quick departure was a turntable that sat spinning silently on a table by the entry. How many days ago had the record finished?

(This is where we danced to Roy Orbison. Come on, it was Valentine's Day!)

Anyway, I went back with Autumn last Saturday night. This time, we saw that the lights were on on the 4th floor, but the elevator was completely dead (there were actually spider webs.)

We climbed the stairs to the 4th floor and ended up in the outdoor patio area. This is the view of Haeundae beach.


Inside the dining room, there was a man sitting at a table. He didn't seem to notice us. When we left, we walked through the 3rd floor which is where the hotel rooms are. The elevator was stopped, gaping, on this level. All the doors were dark except for one that was open with a woman inside watching television. She looked up at Autumn and I and we hurried down the hall like really, really bad secret agents.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Every weekend, I take a bus from my little suburb to Sasang station in Busan. For the last couple of weeks, the Busan bus station has been under construction.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jumpin' Jack Flash

Much of the non-beach coast in Busan is littered with these giant concrete jacks, an attempt to subdue the waves that try to come over the walkways.

There are also public outdoor fitness stations which frequently have giant white hula hoops. This one looks so sad.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rollercoaster (of love)

This summer, Autumn and I have spent a lot of time on roller coasters. ME World is the amusement park at the end of the beach where she lives, and we definitely appreciate being able to say, "Breakfast was nice. Want to go ride roller coasters?" on a Saturday morning.

This is Me World:

The roller coaster thrills with sharp, jerky turns. Near the end of it, there is a big bird's nest right under the track.
(See the rusty ladder to the right of the yellow car? I dare you to climb it.)

Autumn and I rode the Merry-Go-Round picturesquely.

(Of course we dress like this on Saturday mornings!)

This is the drop tower

And this is the view from the top of the drop tower.

Autumn and I both appreciate how lucky it is that she lives on this beach! It's bittersweet that I will spend just one more weekend here before heading to Thailand again for my summer vacation.