Jul 22 2009

Busan at its best



Well I am back with more of my boring life.  But some of you have requested that I share it with you so here it is.

I had the worst and best time on my excursion to Busan.  Busan is on the Southeast Coast of South Korea.  It is the second largest cities and a great place for tourist from all over the world.  It was my plan to meet a group of English teachers there and spend the Fourth of July on the beach.  However all of that changed really quickly, yet I am not quite sure why.

I arrived in Busan about 30 minutes after the other teachers, due to us living in different cities and departing at different times.  Once arriving I made contact with the person planning the event and was giving direction to the hotel (Hotel X).  He also informed me that he along with the rest of the group had gone to a bar for some drinks and asked me to join them there.  I declined mainly because I was tired and wanted to relax and have a bit to eat.

Once at the hotel I checked into my room only to find that it did not meet my comfort level. I will limit my comments about the room because I do not desire that you get the idea that all rooms in Korea are bad, this was a somewhat isolated case.   I requested a refund but was denied due to the time limit place on refund for rooms.

I was in the room for a little over an hour.  I finally had to make myself move from the one spot that I was stuck in.  I felt as if I could not move about the room.  Ok, you are dragging it out of me!  Ok, here it is: there was a bug on the floor the size of a mouse and still kicking when I opened the door to the bathroom.  Needless to say it freaked me out, it did not scare me but I was more uncomfortable after that.  So once down stairs I informed the desk clerk about the bug and he apologized and I went out with the intent to find a room.

I went to several hotel in the area and found that most were worst or as bad as the one booked for me.  I came across a building that at first looks to be an office building, yet up close I found it to be The Tokyo Inn.  When I walked in the shinny marble tile caught my attention and I knew that it was my new home for the night.  I ask the front desk clerk if I could see one of the rooms before booking and she informed me that it was not policy to show the room before booking, but to be assured that the rooms look just as the photos on the brochure.  I took her word for it and went back to the hotel and gathered my thing and moved out and yes still without a refund and with the bug still in the room.  I did however leave instruction with the desk clerk to give the room to one of the teachers that I was to meet there once they returned back to the hotel.

I contacted the event organizer (we’ll call him Mr. J) and informed him of the whole situation surrounding the condition of the room and my desire to sleep some place more comfortable.  He understood and agreed to have one of the guys use the room.  A few of the guys were sharing rooms to conserve on spending.  I requested my own room mainly because I did not know the people that I was meeting and to have my desired level of privacy and as you know privacy come at a price. I had to pay for two hotels just to get a good night’s rest.

Now once at the hotel I felt that my morning was getting better; it was now about 2am.  I checked into the room and found it to be smaller than the other room but it was immaculate and no critters running around.  I text Mr. J to inform him of my new sleeping arrangements and gave the room number and the location of the hotel.  We exchanged a few more texts and I fell off to sleep.  I awoke that morning at 9am and remembered that I had to check out by 10am.  I showered and got dressed and started my day.

I went back to Hotel X to make contact with Mr. J to find out what the daily events would look like.  I knocked on the door when Mr. J opened the door I found them still in rest mode.  I inquired about the events of the day and Mr. J said that they were still sleeping and about to get up soon.  I said ok and told him that I would be out and about and would seek them out.  I went back outside, now torn between them being asleep and me being alone in a strange city.  I made a decision to make the best of my day.  I walked for a bit and took some photos of the surrounding area near the hotel and the train station.

I walked back towards the hotel and sat on a bench in the park and noticed some buses lined up with people boarding.  I became curious and walked over and spoke to a taxi driver about what was going on and he offered to take me to the beach.  I told him that I was waiting for my friends asleep in the hotel.  He did not fight too hard for my business but did suggest the tour bus (www.citytourbusan.com) if I desire to have something to do until they contacted me.  At this time I see a young man board the bus and then I purchased a ticket and boarded the bus.  Once on the bus I took a seat in front of him and struck up a conversation; the events from that point got better.

We talked for a few minutes to get acquainted and he told that he was traveling alone and I asked if he would mind if I tag along and he agreed.  He had been to the city a few times and was ready for more exploring.  He took me around to places that he desired seeing and I was so happy to have someone to hang out with that I did not mind where he took me.  The bus took is to several different places and dropped us off and the next bus picked us up 45 minutes later or for as long as your desired without any extra cost.  The bus dropped us off at our first tour destination and we went to Geumryeonsan water front.   The rock formations are amazing as you can see by the photos. The next destination was Youngdo 75 Square to view more of the seaside.  The next destination was Taejongdae Park located at the southern tip of Youngdo and boasts of costal cliffs and the observatory situated on the tip of rock wall.  On this tour we took a decorative bus around the park.  The places we stopped off to visit were Gumyeongsa Temple, Observation Platform, Taewon Jagalmadang Pebble Beach and Taejongsa Temple.

The places are really beautiful and well kept.  After our few hours together and many photos and being really tired we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel where it all began. We said our goodbyes and parted ways after exchanging email addressed.  I caught the next bus back to Pyeongtaek and he took the subway.  I have not communicated with any of the teachers that I meet there yet not quite sure why, for I tried on numerous occasions to make contact Mr. J.  So overall it was very pleasing to witness a possible bad situation turn out so very well.

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