Friday, 24 April 2015

Korea Trip 2015 Day 3: Busan Gangseo Canola Flowers

12 April 2015

I took an early KTX from Seoul station to Busan. It was my first time riding a bullet train. Eunjin and I would be meeting at 1pm at Sasang for lunch. The KTX ride was very smooth and you can't really tell that the train has already been up to full speed at around 300km/h.

I reached Busan station on time and found that I had left my international charger at host Eunjin's house back in Noksapyeong. Fortunately there is a convenient store at Busan station that I managed to get hold of a phone charger. Using the directions given by Sooyoung, I reached her apartment at around 11.45am at Mora. Eunjin messaged me that we should meet at 2pm instead. I thought that it is much better too because I would have some time to rest.

However, when I rang the bell, there was no one home! I tried to call Sooyoung's mobile but there was no network. I got panicked as I couldn't check in and wonder whether they had moved out or something. Fortunately, their neighbour came out of the house and I asked them about Sooyoung's house. The guy who was bringing his parents out was really kind to help me. He brought me to the guardhouse and asked the guard about Sooyoung.'s house. Apparently Sooyoung's dad owns a red ginseng shop nearby and they had gone to church. He asked me to wait by the shop until 12:30pm as Sooyoung's dad would be back by then. Indeed, Sooyoung's dad Mr. Park greeted me at around 12:40pm and brought me in his shop and gave me free red ginseng tea. It was good because Busan is much colder and windier and the warm red ginseng tea was very comforting. He explained that Sooyoung's mom would be back from the market soon and would bring me to check in while Sooyoung was at work in the hospital.

With Mrs. Park's help, I managed to check in. The house was very big and clean. I took a shower and quickly left the house to meet Eunjin at Sasang. It only took fifteen minutes to reach Sasang and I reached on time. She wanted to meet at an Apple shop. But I couldn't find her as the Apple shop was quite big. I took a screenshot of my location and finally she found me. Her English was better than I thought. I think she had really improved a lot in her English grammar. She then brought me to a Jjukumi restaurant for lunch. Jjukumi is a spicy tiny octopus dish. As I love spicy food, I loved Jjukumi too.

Jjukumi Before and After

We chatted a little and she said that I looked younger. I was a bit anxious about whether it would be awkward to meet for the first time especially this was my first time meeting someone that I knew online. She was my first friend from Hellotalk. But soon, we broke the ice and started to talk freely. After lunch, Eunjin recommended me a canola flower sight at Gangseo near Gimhae since cherry blossom has ended in Busan. When we reached the site, I was taken aback by the sheer beauty of the yellow sea of canola flowers. It was really breathtaking and the closer to walk towards the site, you can smell the fragrance of the flowers. It was like aromatherapy.

Beautiful Canola Flowers at Gimhae

The site was also not crowded, allowing us to fully enjoy the view and the fragrance. We took many pictures together. Eunjin said it was her first time to come here too. It is difficult to describe the sceneary without pictures. We spent about one and a half hour there before heading to a cafe in Gimhae. As I would like to experience local lifestyle, Eunjin recommended this cafe which was a local cafe in Gimhae.

As we were on our way to the cafe, we were already getting along with each other really well. At the cafe, Eunjin ordered a baked bread ice cream. the bread was very freshly baked and taste really good with the ice cream. We were chatting about various things like working life, our view about life, Korean culture, Singapore culture, plastic surgery, our Hellotalk experience, and so much more. We both felt relieved that we were able to chat about things beyond the superficial. I thought that her thinking was quite matured for her age. We sat at the cafe for almost two and a half hours. That's the longest time I had spent with someone in a cafe. It was sad that we had to bid farewell as we headed back home.

When I reached home at Mora, I was surprised to find that Mrs. Park was still awake and watching TV at the living room. It was already around 11:30pm and usually elderly sleeps early. We then sat at the living room and chatted for some time. She could only speak basic English while I could only speak basic Korean. It was amazing that she liked to talk to me, in Korean with some help of translation app. I could understand maybe 60% of her conversation, most were like guessing work. She told me that she had two daughters. Sooyoung was working on shift in a hospital while another daughter was a lead vocal in a jazz band. She had taken some time off from her studies and touring around the world doing performance. She also made some red ginseng tea for me as I had a little cough.

The next day would be my solo tour around Busan. I didn't really had a solid plan in mind yet. Maybe I would visit Beomeosa Temple and visit Oncheoncheon and Geumjong Mountain as they are all nearby each other. It was a memorable day with Eunjin today although we didn't visit many places. I kinda like this kind of feeling because I didn't feel like a tourist. Just like a local, hanging out with friends at a cafe chatting away.

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