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Busan

Goodbye Busan

I had wanted to take a boat tour of the huge port while we were here but found out at the tourist info booth that they weren’t doing it this week.  Oh well,  we got to see the port and some gigantic container ships from the train station. Maybe next time it will work out.

Without that diversion and the depressing dark-time arrival looming, I rebooked our rain tix for an earlier departure. 
We slept in and then the kids got to choose more beach time or a visit to the aquarium.  Much to my surprise, and happy wallet, they picked the beach.  It’s a gorgeous sunny morning in Busan so what could be better?  
They built nests,  slid down giant dunes at the the edge (well, just inside) the construction zone (other kids were doing it too) and even took of their shoes BEFORE they got soaked today!  It’s pretty sandy playing at the beach in winter clothes. They made some friends to play with, fed the birds, and got only their pants wet.  Wonderful. I sat and chatted with a Korean mom and student from Seoul for a while. 
Luckily there are hot spring foot baths to rinse off sandy feet and heat them back up before frostbite sets in.  We sat for a bit warming the tootsies and then changed into dry sand-free pants for the trip home. 
Found some street food – corndogs and rice puffs – on the walk to the subway.  Both kids were sleepy on the subway, but luckily we had to change 3 times which kept them awake.  At the station there were open seats on the next KTX so we hopped one earlier than even the one I rebooked… Though we did need to run.  This time we are on the one direct to Seoul which goes faster more often because it rides a on a KTX dedicated rail the entire route.  It means we have to get off at CheonanAsan with  a longer subway ride home… But the total travel time is shorter than our route down by almost an hour. Plus, and we go 270km/hr most if it!
As I write this both kids are still sleeping pleasantly on the train.  I’ll need I wake them to get off soon!

Progress at the construction site we saw yesterday

The beach is also under construction

Zoe building a nest

Beautiful day at the beach!

These were the only kids with shoes off.  It wasn’t exactly hot.

Feeding the birds

Friends

Dipping our feet in the hot spring

Corndogs and puff rice for lunch 

Seats on the train.  KTX

Train was nearly empty from Busan, but Avi did news to move onto my lap after the second stop. 
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More Busan

This morning we stayed in the hotel and caught up on some schooling before heading out on the town again.  As always, the firm bed wasn’t ideal for good sleep… Especially not with my knee still bunged up.

We walked back to the main road and caught a bus bound for Jaggungsa.  A temple perched on the edge of a cliff just out of town.
  It’s really rare for a Korean temple to be on the shore; they are nearly always up on top of steep mountains. It was really cool, but quite a bit if a walk from the bus stop for little Avi legs. He was slow, but made it all on his own.  The temple was neat to explore.  Like other Buddhist temples it isn’t just one building – there is the main sanctuary, a few smaller ones, a monk dorm, and little alcoves around.  There was also a neato underground grotto, a couple huge outdoor  Buddhas, and a walkway along the rocky waters edge. We also lucked into the free meal  and got one serving to share.  I love temple food,  but the kids not so much.
We grabbed lunch at the food stalls along the exit.  Avi and I have gotten to liking the “wavy dough”; it’s a dough made from ground fish and cooked in a fishy broth.  You eat it folded back and forth on a stick and dip in soy sauce.  Zoe only tolerates it.  She, instead, prefers to eat sweet red bean filled buns. A taste she acquired last time we lived here when she couldn’t get enough bean ice cream.
It was a long subway ride to our next site;  supposedly the largest sauna in Asia.  Probably not, and I think others in Korea  are bigger, but still Hurshimchung was huge.  There were a ton of baths in the sauna under a giant windowed dome that let in the natural light.  As is the norm we sat down to a shower and scrubbed clean – well I scrubbed each kid, they played in their water bins – and then enjoyed the public baths.  I so wish I could take a picture, but if course there are no clothes and nowhere to stash a camera.  It’s an awesome sight, a huge public bath.  Bodies of all types and ages enjoying the hot water.  We did the lemon tub, the sitting tub, a bubble tub, a deer tub, the main mineral water tubs, salt tubs, exercise tubs, even a super (too) hot outdoor tub. The kids’ favorite by far was a pool in a cave where they could splash and swim.  When we were finally too clean and wrinkly we donned our uniform and headed to the jjimjil.  
Here are usually a ton of fun themed rooms all promising some form of therapy, plus a cafeteria, games and other fun stuff.  This fancy place, however, only had a few hot rooms and a cold room.  There was a playground which was great, but not much else.  The cafe was even a bit slim-pickings for my discerning taste.  
We got food,  the kids played, I read a book, and after not-to-long we returned to the sauna. Zoe made friends with some girls in the play land who were now in the exercise tub.  She palled around with them for the rest of the evening and even got herself some ice cream with her key card. Adorable to watch her play and socialize and gad about the place with these two girls – all naked.  Truly in her element.  
Avi and I messed around in the hotter tubs with the old ajuma ladies ogling over him.  He showed off his “I can hold my breath under water” skills and got them all squealing.  He also enjoyed some ice cream.  Funny, but pleasant, eating ice cream naked while sitting on a bench that streams hot water down your back and backside. 
They both fell asleep on the subway home.  If course, poor Zoe had to be awaken to walk back to the hotel while I carried Avi. 
School
Watching the local construction sight bore holes for footers. We seriously stood here for ten minutes. 
Avi wanted his picture by these elephants at the temple. 
Zoe liked this outdoor Buddha.
Us and the temple!
See it’s really neat along the rocky shore!
main building.
Underground grotto
Hurshimchung sauna!
Play land
The cold jjimjil
Sleepy subway ride

Busan

The kids and I are taking in the sights of Busan this week. We woke this morning and hopped the subway up to Suwon to catch the KTX – the bullet train to the south.  Bullet train is a bit of a misnomer, because while it is fast it doesn’t get super speedy until Daejon when it joins the true high speed line coming down from Seoul.  266km/hr is pretty quick! 

After arrival we got some kimbap, looked at the boats in the port, and caught the subway to the Haeundae part of town.  Our hotel was hidden within the maze of others along the south side of the beach.  Easy enough to find with the GPS on my phone.  
Avi had fallen asleep in the stroller on the subway so we let him rest a bit once we checked in.  Yaja hotel was nice, fairly cheap, had some toast for breakfast and lots of the extras I’ve come to enjoy in a love motel… Toiletries, fun lighting, a PC, and a bonus partial view of the ocean.  
Once Zoe had explored the room, tried on the robes, and found our mints (which I’m alway sure to toss on the bed before she comes in) we were antsy to see the ocean.  Avi woke and we walked down to the beach.  Lucky for us, our end of the beach was not under construction as the rest of it is getting a huge rehaul and tons of new sand. The kids played for a long time and got their shoes wet like I said not to do.  
We then walked along to where the beach meets the cliffs that edge it.  Here was Dongbaek park.  Avi liked being the train engine and leading us along the wooden walkway paths to the lighthouse at the point.
By now it was getting dark so we wandered back to the hotel via a convenience store for some ramyeon dinner and cartoons in our room.  Oh, and a nice whirlpool bath with party lights. 
KTX
Busan station
Haeundae beach 
Wet sand
The sun shines more in Korea!
Dongbaek park
Park boardwalks
The lighthouse 
Moon rise over busan
Sun setting over the other side of busan
Mmmmmm… Ramyeon dinner 
Party bath

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