Ferry to Busan
Ferry terminal to Scott's house

June 11, 2007
Distance: 25 km
Top Speed: 61 kph
Average Speed: 22 kph
Time: 1:15
Mood: A survivor!

I woke up later than expected after a wonderful nights sleep in my boat bunk bed.

The ferry arrived in Busan (also known as Pusan), South Korea, at noon the next day.

I got off, and got through immegration quickly. It was reeeeeeally hot outside. I had already made note of the dock, and way to get to the center of town. My first mission was to score some cash. I could have got cash on the ferry, but assumed the rates would have been bad. I made my way to the main street and immediatly found a bank. I think it might have been a post office, but in Japan post offices are also banks, and I think that was the case at this post office/bank. With money in hand (still a lower rate than I expected) I headed to the downtown area to check out the scene, and find some wi-fi.

It was a bitch to find any wi-fi, but while there I noticed a Korean guy with a one-piece suit that many crew on the ferry were wearing. I asked if he just came from the ferry, and he said he was an engineer, and only had a little time, but wanted to get "real food." So he had come into town. He said he knew a place, and asked if I wanted to try real Korean food and get a Korean beer. Psych! Of course I did! He took me to this dirty place where we ate boiling-hot soup in an unairconditioned hole-in-the-wall during the scorching hot summer day. I was back on the road again, and it felt GREAT!

We talked about life on a cruise ship - which sounded boring and hard - and I told him about my trip. He told some other people in the restaurant (who were asking questions abotu the foreigner) what my story was, and people said it seemed too dangerous. I was learning that the Korean people, like the Japanese, had very kind hearts and were very polite, but unlike the Japanese, were not scared about approaching people, or speaking their mind. I liked that a lot more, and the people continued to grow on me the longer I stayed. At the end of the meal, the engineer insisted on paying for my meal. I tried to stop him, but then i pulled out my large notes I got at the bank, and the waitress just took the engineers money instead. I should have been carrying around souvineers from the US to give to kind people like that. Next time.

The Korean ferry engineer

I ended up paying to use a computer cafe's computer and caught up with all my couchsurfers, and friends/family. I got back on my bike and started riding through the opressive heat on the main roads towards my couchsurfing host, Scott. The city of Busan is kind of the poorer cousin of Seoul. It's not quite as bad as an industrial Chinese city, but it sort of reminded me of that. The construction work going on "at the time" (I suspect all the time) was really hard to navigate, and it wasn't more than 20 minutes before I saw what would become a huge drag for me in Korea - nails haphazardly dropped in the road pavement. Literally. I missed the first one, but evenually popped my tires 6 times in 1 day later in my trip. Ugh.

I got to Scott's neighborhood, but he was still at work (he's a jr. high school English teacher), so I popped into a Seattle's Best Coffee Scott told me about, and did some blog updates on my laptop. These are all over the place in Korea, and are the toughest competition Starbux has in the country. Eventually, Scott met me at Seattle's Best Coffee, as we had pre-arranged via email, and we walked over to his apartment.

Scott in his apt

Later that night we went out for drinks in the local bar area. We went to a bar that seemed like a Kaosan Rd type place, but had an open front. These 2 kids were sort of hanging around us and stealing quick glances. Scott speaks Korean and said something to them, which got them pretty excited and talkative. They asked all the usual questions, and had a laugh before just walking off to wherever they were supposed to be.



Read Next Entry

Copyright 2003-2007 , I Think Not