Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lunar New Year

            After the trip to Hwacheon, I was eager to get out of Gwangju again.  Fortunately, Lunar New Year was the following weekend, so I joined the gang and went to Busan.  Busan is on the southeastern coast and is the second largest city in Korea.  It's also the only city that wasn't captured by North Korea during the Korean War. 
            When we got to the city we quickly dropped our bags off and went to Beomeosa Temple at Mt. Geumjeongsan.  It was a beautiful place and the setting reminded me of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We then climbed up the mountain to see the North Gate of Geumjeongsanseong Fortress.  Afterwards, we had some dinner and checked out the local watering holes.

View from the temple.
Place of worship.

Here you can stack your stones for luck and prayer.

The North Gate of Geumjeongsanseong Fortress.

A smaller wall than I was expecting.

Part of the gang hanging out.

Our hostel was fantastic! Phil did a great job booking it.
            The next day we got up, ate Quiznos (mmmmmmmm) and went to the UN Memorial.  We started by watching a video on the memorial and what it was for.  The video did a great job mentioning all of the countries that participated in the Korean War, save one. The United States wasn't mentioned and I can't figure out why.  I assume that it's because we are technically still at war and the US government didn't want to have a memorial for a still active war. Or maybe the main US memorial is in Seoul.  I don't know but it did get under my skin.

The flags represent the countries who participated in the war or have buried soldiers in the cementary.
The cementary covers over 35 acres.
Since there's no formal memorial, this wall lists the US soldiers that died. There were 33,870 US deaths.
Here's the list starting with TN.
To show you the scale of the wall here's a picture of me taking the above picture.

Even though there wasn't a formal US memorial I feel that the best memorial for the them is South Korea itself. It's success is because of their sacrifice.

            Following that we went to the Jagalchi Fish Market.  I was blown away by it's size and diversity of goods.  However, Phil was the only one who bought anything and he just got a bag of peanuts.

They're just hanging out.
These octopus's were massive!
You could get goat, frog, seal, eel, several kinds of fish, squid and dog.
The market is right on the bay.
A tank full of nurse sharks.
The market was filled with shops like this. It felt like I was walking through a collage of seafood.

            Here's a video showing you what the red meat on the bottom left of the above picture is:

The place was huge!  I love the guy's expression too.

We had to be careful where we stepped.
These puffer fish were 18inches long! Also, they're the second most poisonous verterbrate in the world and a delicacy in Asia.

            Next we went to Busan Tower to soak in the sights and watch the sunset.  It was an incredible view and I highly recommend it for anyone that visits Busan.  Before we got there we were on the subway when I noticed that Phil had forgotten his bag of peanuts.  I grabbed them and without thinking said, "Phil you forgot your nuts!"  Everyone started laughing and it brought on all the puns we could think of including, "Phil, what do you do if you lose your nuts when you're on a date?" "Or do you ask her to hold your nuts while you get a condom?" This next one made me cry I laughed so hard, "Phil, what happens if someone eats your nuts by accident?" Good stuff for sure.

Leanne, Phil, Jonathan and I
The sign on the glass says, "Please don't sit."

Just after the sun went behind the mountains.

            Afterwards, we went out again for pool, darts and EPL games.


Don't mess with the Nutcracker at the bar. You better do what he wants Phil!
            The next morning we got up and went to Yonggungsa Temple.  It's a fantastic Buddhist temple that's located just outside of Busan.  I'll show that in my next post since I have so many pictures up already.

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