Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dongbaek Island and Haeundae, Busan

As I was leaving the UN Cemetery, I still had no plans and no map except for my Lonely Planet (which was rather lacking in information for Busan) so I asked the gentleman that guided me around the memorabilia hall for some advice on where to go next. "Well, Haeundae, of course!" he replied. "Even in the winter...?" I had been thinking about going to Haeundae but I had decided it wasn't worth the trek out to that side of town since it was winter and there wouldn't be anything to see. "Ok, start from Dongbaek Island and you can see the great APEC meeting hall, and then you can go see Haeundae!" I had no idea what he was talking about, but since I had no other plans, I said ok. He put me in a taxi to the nearest subway station and I took Line 2 to Dongbaek Station and walked to the "Island".

In fact, it must have been an Island at one point, I suppose, but now this island is more of a peninsula just south of the famous Haeundae beach.

There are many walking trails around the island. If you find one that goes up, you will find yourself at this beautiful building which is next to a grand statue. The figure in the statue looks like King Sejong, but I didn't see that written anywhere, so I suppose he could be any Korean king from the past. Other than that, there's not much up the hill that I was able to see.

If you keep walking around the outside you can find the Nurimaru APEC house. This is what the ajosshi from the UN Cemetery was talking about. Now, I didn't even know what APEC was... I'd heard the name around but the US belongs to so many economic and trade organizations that are all acronyms, how was I supposed to know that APEC stands for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation? Anyway, if you didn't know, now you know.

While the building isn't extremely exciting, you can walk through and see where the conferences were held and see that they really do look like the ones you see on TV.

But more lovely here than the APEC house is the views. Here is the famous Gwangan Bridge which is 7.4 km long. Quite an impressive sight.

As you continue walking around the island, you start to approach Haeundae beach. Here a woman was praying on the rocks.

And then finally I arrived at Haeundae beach. Probably much nicer looking in this season without the insane amount of people in the summer months.

Here I was finally able to find a tourist information center and get myself a map. I ate lunch at an Indian restaurant here, but compared to the wonderful Indian food I've had in Seoul I found it overpriced and nothing special. But, as I sat alone, eating my lunch, I picked up a wifi signal and found some a girl on Couchsurfing to meet up with for the day to look around.

While I waited to meet up with her, I wandered around the Haeundae Market. As you would expect, there were lots of fish, plus all the other things you generally see in any Korean market. An interesting stop by, but not quite like the market I visited the next day, so please wait to get your market fix for a few more days.

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