Even though I live in Seoul, the southern city of Busan will always have a very special place in my heart. There’s just something about the atmosphere in that city. The skyscrapers by the shore, the beautifully lit-up bridges at night, the enchanting Busan dialect – it really has that je ne sais qois. Busan is famous for it’s handsome guys (a point my Busan-born husband frequently enjoys making) and for some reason, Korean guys speaking in Busan dialect can usually make all the fangirls go wild. Watch actor Yoo Ah In speak Busan dialect here and judge for yourselves. (FYI, a girl in the audience asks if he has any plans to marry and if so, what he would think about marrying her. To this bold question he answers in the strongest Busan dialect: “Are you crazy? what kind of question is that?” making the crowd go crazy.
Anyway, I’m digressing. I recently visited Busan for the third time, but this time was the first time where I got to experience the city outside of the winter season. This time around, we went for a weekend together with our amazing friends who had made the long journey all the way from Canada just to visit us. Therefore we were obviously eager to show them as much of the city as possible. Although it’s far from the city center, we decided to stay at the beautiful Haeundae beach, which is famous for its white sand and picturesque cliffs. We took long walks along the beach enjoying the view of the East Sea. Unfortunately, we were just two weeks early for the Haeundae sand festival, where people gather to admire enormous sandcastles on the beach.
We also managed to visit the Haedong Yonggungsa temple a few kilometers up the shore. This was absolutely amazing, although slightly over-packed with tourists which did ruin the feeling of serenity. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the beautiful sight of the temple buildings and the amazing statues of Buddha.
After having snacked on some street food outside the temple gates, we took a cab to the Busan International Market (made especially famous in the 2014 movie “Ode to my father” or 국제시장 in Korean. There we ate the traditional noodle soup kalguksu. This meal, however, proved insufficient for our Canadian friends who ended up buying a live king crab and a huge lobster at the nearby Jagalchi fish market. The two poor creatures then ended their lives on the second floor restaurant in the market before being served with side dishes. It may seem cruel, but visiting that market is definitely an experience that everyone who visits Busan should try out. Just remember that once they’re caught, there’s no way they are going back into the ocean and if you don’t buy someone else will. If you ask her nicely, my Canadian friend has a great story about how difficult it is to place a room service order for melted butter for your lobster leftovers at a Korean hotel. Haha!
On Saturday evening, we went to Gwangalli beach to enjoy the sunset from the front deck of a restaurant just opposite the famous Gwangandaegyo bridge. There was a festival going on with lots of fireworks and the atmosphere was simply amazing.
The next morning, the sun was shining brightly so we took one last walk along Haeundae beach before heading back to Seoul. I still miss Busan, and if I didn’t work in Seoul, I’d move there in a heartbeat. I’d better start practicing my Busan dialect before next time!
For those of you Korean learners actually interested in this charming dialect, I highly recommend that you check out these videos by TTMIK!