Friday, December 29, 2006

The Fortress Beat Us

A co-worker, her brother and I hopped a KTX train and headed for Busan for two days holiday. Our tickets were $96 round trip which is pretty good considering the train ride spanned the whole of the country. (For the geographically challenged out there...Seoul is in the northwest corner and Busan is in the southeast corner of the country.) The nice thing was that the train ride was really comfortable and only took three hours.

When we got to Busan we checked into our hotel which was right on the beach. To bad the water was approximately 3 degrees C!

For our first stop, we wanted to go to the Geumjeong Fortress which was on the top of the mountain. With the Moon Handbook as our guide, we set off up the mountain. The guide indicated a tram that would take us up the hill and then a path that would lead us the rest of the way to the fortress. The guide book neglected to print the tiny detail that the tram only ran during the summer months and on weekends. We were really excited about the fortress because it was supposed to have a village of goat meat restaurants and that was what we had planned on for dinner. We made our way back down the hill heads hung in shame from having been beaten by the fortress.

Not wanting to chance the bus system, we took a cab to the Beomeo-sa temple. It is also named "Fish of the Buddhist Scripture Temple" or The Temple Where Fish from Nirvana Play." This was a beautiful area with a number of ornately painted buildings.

After the temple visit we walked through a forest of wisteria. Too bad it is winter and they weren't blooming.

After the temple, we found an interesting little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I am not sure but we were probably the first American patrons to set foot in that particular restaurant. It was decent food but a lot of fun. Some girls in very short skirts (and by very, I mean very, very, very) came in and gave us a free bottle of soju as part of a special promotion. Unfortunately with soju, one bottle always leads to another.

With our stomachs full and now in good spirits, we hiked up yet another hill to the Pusan tower. We had a great night time view of the city and met some very nice Japanese girls. We exchanged addresses and promised emails and postcards.

We made it home and from our hotel window, I marveled at the first drive through restaurant I've seen since being in Korea. The McDrive was truly a beacon on the horizon of the continuing westernization of this country.

No comments: