Saturday, April 24:  Today, Kathy and I ventured to Busan (pronounced by Koreans as Pusan), Korea’s second largest city after Seoul (3.6 million people) and the 5th largest port city in the world.

Busan on the map

Busan on the map

We drove in Kathy’s Matiz directly to Haeundae Beach, where we lounged on the beach for a couple of hours, chatting and watching people and looking out at Suyeong Bay and the East Sea.  It was too cool for bathing suits, so we wore jeans and sweaters. It was quite lovely there, bounded by hills at both ends that reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of the Amalfi Coast.

Haeundae Beach in Busan

Haeundae Beach in Busan

me on Haeundae Beach in Busan, South Korea

me on Haeundae Beach in Busan, South Korea

me on Haeundae Beach in April

me on Haeundae Beach in April

We stopped at the Fuzzy Navel, where we had drinks and  chimichangas and burritos on the patio with a bunch of other Westerners.  We hung out a while longer at the beach and then took a pleasant walk through Dongbaek Park at the south end of the beach.  The best thing about this park was the greenery, the shade and a really cool rope bridge that made me feel like Indiana Jones!!

Dongbaek Park

Dongbaek Park

Indiana Cathy on the rope bridge

Indiana Cathy on the rope bridge

Kathy and Koreans on the rope bridge

Kathy and Koreans on the rope bridge

me in Dongbaek Park

me in Dongbaek Park

the path along the coast at Dongbaek Park

the path along the coast at Dongbaek Park

In the evening, we ate very spicy Indian food at an Indian restaurant (the first I’ve found in Korea!) and then went to the Paradise Casino Busan, where only foreigners are admitted.  Kathy likes to play blackjack….I only stayed a short time as I get bored with such stuff. I went alone back to our very basic hotel, the Lord Beach!

Sunday, April 25:  Sunday morning,  we explored the GoEun Museum of Photography which featured an exhibit by Korean Photographer Kim Ki-chan.  Black and white photos of Korean life in the past were primarily featured.  My favorite photo was a father pulling a large safe or something on a cart; his little girl is strapped to the huge metal object.  To me, it captures something of Korean life, a melding of tradition and modernity, and the strong family ties that are pervasive in Korean life.

My favorite photo in the exhibit

My favorite photo in the exhibit

Kathy at the photography exhibit

Kathy at the photography exhibit

me with one of the amazing Korean black & white photos

me with one of the amazing Korean black & white photos

Korean children keeping cool

Korean children keeping cool

We walked back to our hotel through the Korean market.  We could see various Korean greens, bonsai, fruits such as oranges, apples & berries, fish swimming in plastic tubs and a white fluffy dog.

berries and oranges and other fruits in the Korean market

berries and oranges and other fruits in the Korean market

Bonsai

Bonsai

Various korean vegetables

Various korean vegetables

Korean greens

Korean greens

fish for sale

fish for sale

a shopkeeper's white fluffy dog

a shopkeeper’s white fluffy dog

The thing I loved the most in Busan was Donghae Yonggung-Sa, a temple set on the rocky coast.  For some reason it was totally packed, possibly some Buddhist holiday we didn’t know about; though usually crowds like that would detract from a place’s appeal, I didn’t find it offensive.  I actually thought the crowd added to its pilgrimage ambience.

On our way down to the temple, we stopped in an artist’s studio to check out some paintings.  We found the artist’s workspace but not an artist in sight.

artist's studio

artist’s studio

paints

paints

The entrance is lined with large carved stone zodiac figures and the steps leading to the temple are lined with stone lanterns.  It’s such a pleasant setting all around, set on a rocky coast overlooking the East Sea with a pine-covered hillside behind it.  Buddha and bodhisattva statues abound and a huge pot-bellied smiling Buddha sits near the top.

me with one of many sculptures lining the path to Donghae Yonggung-Sa

me with one of many sculptures lining the path to Donghae Yonggung-Sa

sculptures on the way to Donghae Yonggung-Sa

sculptures on the way to Donghae Yonggung-Sa

pagoda on the way to Donghae Yonggung-Sa

pagoda on the way to Donghae Yonggung-Sa

me and a golden lion

me and a golden lion

stone lanterns on the pathway

stone lanterns on the pathway

Donghae Yonggung-Sa Temple

Donghae Yonggung-Sa Temple

the rocky promontory at Donghae Yonggung-Sa

the rocky promontory at Donghae Yonggung-Sa

Donghae Yonggung-Sa

Donghae Yonggung-Sa

a temple at Donghae Yonggung-Sa

a temple at Donghae Yonggung-Sa

Gold seated Buddha

Gold seated Buddha

Me at Donghae Yonggung-Sa

Me at Donghae Yonggung-Sa

As we were walking back down from the top, we saw what looked like a monk with long white hair down to his waist.  he was so funky looking, we decided we had to follow him and get a picture.  Kathy took my camera and ran ahead of him; she got a great shot of him with me looking over his shoulder.  It’s such a funny picture because we have the same color of hair!!  Later, when I showed Coffee J the picture Kathy had taken, he laughed and said he thought the guy was a “faux monk.”  Leave it to Coffee J to make some off-the-wall comment!

The "faux monk" with some unidentified white-haired girl behind

The “faux monk” with some unidentified white-haired girl behind

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