|Today is an 8:00 departure, and breakfast began at 6:30. The breakfast buffet had a nice surprise for Jean. Waffles! She tried a quarter section, but it was not very good. It wasn't light and fluffy. Too bad. The buffet had scrambled eggs and for my meat, I tried the roasted chicken cut into cubes. It was so yummy that I went back for seconds.
We left our room at 7:40 to go up to the 20th floor to check out and meet Mr. Hong. We were on the road before 8:00 but ran into Monday morning traffic on the bridge over to our first stop. Busan is is made up of 10 districts, many of which are connected by bridges and tunnels.
We saw a lot of American chain restaurants in Busan, such as TGIFridays, Pizza Hut and Outback Steakhouse. besides the fast food places - McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks and 7-11.
Our first stop was the Gamcheon Cultural Village. This is where many lower class, poorer people still live. Many of the people who settled here were war refugees from North Korea. Most of the elderly chose to remain here even though their sons and daughters have moved on to a better life. This is where their friends and neighbors are, where they feel comfortable.
We walked the many narrow alleyways and steep streets (it reminded us of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and other South American countries) that connect the small brightly painted houses, looking at the art work and statues that are spread around the area. Stefano said that the government has paid and encouraged the area to paint their houses and roofs to encourage tourism.
Our next stop was the Jagalchi Fish Market. It is a very modern building with hundreds of sellers tending and preparing their many varieties of fish and other creatures, such as eels, octopus, abalone, prawns, crabs and many, many more colorful creatures. The place was stinky, but that's a fish market. Now, everyone seemed to be selling the same thing, so how do they make any money?
After the market, we took the four escalator system up to Busan tower. One escalator had pictures of people who took their picture at the tower floating by, the next had neon signs, the third bathed you in different colored lights, and the last was a space theme. and then we were at the tower level. Vendors were hawking for us to have our picture taken, but we passed by them.
On the way to the tower we passed a floral clock, a temple bell and a statue of Chungmoogong - a naval admiral hero who defeated the Japanese fleet in 1592. At the tower we quickly ascended while we looked up to watch a video of the various views. At the top, we practically had the place to ourselves with the exception of the store employees. We looked out over the city and took some pictures before heading back down and experiencing another video.
We left Busan about 11:15 for our 6-hour drive to Seoul. The outbound traffic was much lighter and we left the city quickly. We stopped around 1:00 for lunch at a large rest area. Mr. Hong took us through a Korean cafeteria. I picked out a beef dish, a chicken dish, a fish dish and white rice plus a bottle of water. Jean had the chicken dish, beef dish, pickled turnips and a bottle of water. Mr. Hong then paid. We had until 1:40 to finish and meet back at the van. What Mr. Hong does at our meals was to eat fast and disappear, sometimes to rest or to get gas, and he always gave us extra time to finish and look around.
After lunch, I asked Mr. Hong about living in South Korea. I told him about growing up with the threat of nuclear war at any moment until the Berlin Wall fell and tensions eased. He talked about the tensions between the North and South, and how he felt growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.
We arrived back at our first hotel, the Travelodge, for another night about 5:45. We dropped our bags in the room and walked over to Starbucks for a treat to eat later tonight. Since it was early in the evening, we decided to do laundry so as to have clean fresh clothing to pack for our trip to Shanghai tomorrow.