The tale continues.
Do you remember that girl Hwisoo that we bonded with while partying in Seoul and sang karaoke with? (Day 3, if you don’t) Well it turns out that she actually lived in Busan and had only been in Seoul for a few days, so we’d agreed that we’d meet up again once we’d come down to Busan. And today was that day.
We decided to go to the beach so we met up by the subway exit and headed off. We went swimming, and she was shocked by how unbothered we were by the frosty temperature of the water. It’s just that viking blood, bro. She was also very excited by the prospect of burying one of us in the sand, since she apparently had no childhood and had never done that. So I allowed her to bury my boyfriend, and then, of course, he had to bury her to show her how it’s properly done.
Hwisoo burying my boyfriend.
Him burying her.
Haeundae beach – round 2.
Funny thing though, while we were there chilling on the beach a KBS (one of the biggest networks in Korea that among others broadcast Gag Concert, Immortal Songs, Dream Team, Star Golden Bell, You Hee-Yeol’s Sketchbook and Music Bank) film crew showed up. Just seeing one was pretty cool, since I’ve watched so many of their shows but then they came over and interviewed Hwisoo. In Korean, so of course I didn’t get much of it. And then they asked if they could interview one out of me and my boyfriend. He immediately pointed to me and I was interviewed by KBS! Gah! They said only one out of me and Hwisoo would actually end up on TV, and guess who it was? Me! I was on Korean TV! For like 10 seconds, and I looked and sounded like an idiot, but oh well. That is so damn crazy, I still can’t really believe it.
After having showered in a makeshift showering trailer we all headed off to get food. Busan has a kind of streetfood street very close by the beach and Hwisoo lead us to the best shop along that street. I hadn’t really dared to order any twigim (deep-fried stuff) up until that point, because you can’t really tell what it is and I didn’t want to accidentally order any meat or whatever. But with Hwisoo ordering that wasn’t a problem! So we had some excellent deep-fried sweet potatoes, kimbap (though filled with only rice) and mild green chili peppers filled with japchae noodles. We also had a side of tteokbokki and it was all lovely and great.
Twigim and tteokbokki.
As we were walking back up the side street I mentioned that I’d wanted to try hotteok (a fried mix between bread and a thick pancake filled with honey, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds) but hadn’t been able to yet, and after that of course she lead us to a hotteok stand. It was so sweet and really delicious.
Hotteok. The presentation does not do it justice.
We then went to a cafe that specialized in bingsu, and had a really great berry and yoghurt version of this dessert that I’d been dying to eat since we first got to the country. At this point we were all pretty damn stuffed, but it had all been so great that it definitely was worth it.
Yoghurt and berries bingsu.
The three of us in the cafe. Ignore how awkward I look, that’s just my face.
At the cafe Hwisoo and Johan (I’ve only been referring to him as ’my boyfriend’ so far, haven’t I? Well that’s his name anyway.) kept talking about going jogging together and while I absolutely hate jogging, more than I hate basically any other from of working out, I agreed that we’d meet up later that night near Hwisoo’s place and go work out together.
We met up and they went running by the river while I hung back at an outdoor gym to get sweaty with the ajummas and ajusshis of Busan. I’m not entirely sure why they were all staring at me, it might have been because I’m very blonde and roughly the height of the average Korean male or because I was using the equipment in new and strange ways that they’d never seen before. Or both.
Picture of the outdoor gym that I sneakily took while trying to not freak out any of the old people working out there.
This was another lazy day and the day where me and Johan were apart for the absolute longest amount of time. He went to go find a rock climbing gym while I did a tiny bit of grocery shopping and relaxed at home. We may even have been apart for an entire hour! Shocking.
We spent the morning cramming everything into our suitcases and left at the exact time of check-out: 11AM. It only took five-ten minutes to walk to the train station, and only another five-ten to collect our tickets from the ticket window. This left us with over 1,5 hours to hang at the station before our train’s departure time… But what’s so wrong with that when you have books and big TVs playing dramas? Granted they didn’t have any subtitles, so it was a real challenge trying to figure out what the hell was happening. Anyway, that’s how we passed the time, and we then got on the train which left from Busan at 1PM.
We arrived in Seoul at about 3:30PM and immediately headed off to the airport railroad to make our way to Incheon Airport. It took about an hour, and we arrived at the airport shortly before 5PM. We checked in our luggage, which worked more or less smoothly, bought some donuts for the trip (travel supplies, you know) and we each also bought a book in Korean, he got one of the A Song of Ice and Fire series (better known as Game of Thrones) and I got a Harry Potter book. I don’t know Korean well enough to read a real book, and he certainly doesn’t, but just reading a book in a language can help you develop your skill in it, even if you don’t understand much. Our flight departure was pushed back a bit, which meant that we had to sit in the plane and wait for an additional 35-40 minutes before it pulled out of the gate, but then it took off and all was well.
Or so we thought. Once we arrived in Beijing a few hours later and finally made our way to the departures section of the airport (that airport is an absolute mess. China, you can do better.) we were told that planes were being delayed because there was a thunder storm. We went to talk to our airline and they said that our flight might be delayed, that the plane might be in Shanghai, but that they didn’t really know anything. Kind of annoyed, and I was feeling kind of sick, we went off to have some pizza and wait. As I said, I wasn’t feeling very well and this uncertainty, not knowing if our plane was delayed, if it would come at all, if we’d miss our connecting flight, not knowing anything was really stressing me out. I was so so glad that Johan was there. He is excellent in a crisis, keeping his cool, thinking logically and solving things and staying cheerful. It helped so much, and I would have been so much more of a wreck if he hadn’t been here. I’m not sure if he’ll read this, but if he does: babe, you’re amazing.
After a while we were allowed to go to the gate, and while it still felt like the plane was delayed, there was nothing on the monitors to tell us if that was true and in that case how delayed the plane would be. I then overheard this Dutch dude talking on the phone, saying that the plane would be twelve hours delayed. I had no idea where he got the information from, but hearing that definitely didn’t calm my nerves. But then after a while flight attendants starting showing up, waiting for the plane with the rest of us. And that did calm me down. They wouldn’t be there if the plane wasn’t gonna come for hours and hours, right? But the plane did come, and we took off with about an hour and a half’s delay. Granted this was in the middle of the night and we’d been traveling for a really long time, so I slept, not like a baby, but almost like a person. For me that’s big because I barely ever sleep on airplanes.
We landed in Amsterdam early in the morning, local time, with less than an hour’s delay (our plane must have been so damn fast) and we went to the transfer desk to confirm that our bags were in the right place etc, because we had been told to do so when we’d checked in in Seoul. They said everything was peachy keen and that the bags would meet us in Copenhagen.
But when we landed in Copenhagen at about 9AM, local time, there were no bags to be seen. I’d foolishly put my laptop in my checked-in bag, and losing that would have sucked big time, plus I’d never had my luggage be lost before, so this did stress me out, again. God this travel tale must make me seem like a nervous wreck. Anyway, we filled in our addresses and the next day our bags were delivered to our homes. And all was well. And that’s the end of my Korean journey.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my travel tales, and stay tuned for a shorter sum-up post, kind of like a review of the trip.
Tune back soon for the travel review!