Asia’s Global city

So, for Chuseok I went to Hong Kong and Macau.  It was a really wonderful trip.  The bizzarre thing about it is it’s hard to pinpoint what was so wonderful about Hong Kong.

I think it’s great selling point, especially from someone living in Seoul, is how international it is.   I mean it was a hunt to find Chinese food in Hong Kong.  Western food from steak houses to McDonalds on the other hand were all over the place.  We found some Chinese food, but it was a bit of a hunt.

Not only that but if you like shopping Hong Kong has every premiere brand I’ve ever heard of there.  From Apple and Armani to Prada and Rolex if you want something expensive you can find it in Hong Kong.  Or if you want something cheap they have a huge selection of  pretty good knock-offs  and discount items.  I got a great ironic t-shirt.

 

Not only that but English was everywhere.   I was expecting it to be Seoul-like with most of the working class people only speaking Cantonese.  However, English was so common here.  It makes me so jealous.

It was a city with some beautiful sites to see.    The Skyline of the city was wonderful both from the ferry and from the top on The Peak’s observation deck.   The skyline also showed itself extremely pretty from the waters between Hong Kong proper and Kowloon.

The trip out to Lan Tau was a pretty remarkable side expedition.  The glass-bottomed cable car proved every bit worth the wait in the long line.   The Big Buddha was a pretty beautiful statue.  I was tempted with the cynical thought that if you’ve seen one Buddha you’ve seen them all but I think no that really isn’t the case as each beautiful statue I go to see is as cool as the last one.  The real star of this was the glass-bottomed cable car ride. The view up and down the mountain path is truly spectacular.    When you come over a hill and see the giant statue at the end of a long stretch of trees it’s quite spectacular.

Macau was really another great side trip.   If you don’t like gambling their is just enough to spend about a day wandering around this small island part of China.    It’s got a unique look thanks to several hundred years of Portugese occupation.  Also it’s one of the few places in the Far East that allows everyone to gamble on casino games.  So they have several big Casinos there.   We went to the Sands, and I won about $60 US playing black jack.   I was surprised to see row after row of baccarat tables.

I think the real star of the trip though was just the overall look and feel of Hong Kong.  I’d reccomend it to anyone looking for a break from Seoul’s somewhat provincial attitudes.

The Ocean closes?

For the three day weekend around Korea’s independence day I decided to go to Busan again with Lost in Seoul.

We arrived in the afternoon yesterday.  After getting some sillyness with the trains sorted out and getting everyone together the first place we went was to Haeundae beach, just a short walk from the hostel.

The crowds were as expected–absolutely huge.   It was nearly impossible to find the sand there were so many mats and umbrellas there.

The beach was pretty awesome, but after only about half an hour I was told that the beach was closing.   That’s right at 6:30, THE OCEAN CLOSES.    Seriously what the hell?

I mean why can’t they just post a sign that says no lifeguard swim at your own risk.  I’ve been swimming in the ocean since I was a little kid and there was almost no undertoe to speak of, the waves were very mild (though bigger for Korea) and the current was a non-factor.   The water was safe for people to swim in.

So I don’t really get the point of closing the beach especially so early.

Secondly, from there we went back to Fuzzy Navel and had some of their “FN tacos.”   I got a chicken chimichanga, Corona and a strawberry mojito.  The chimichanga was delicious.    A strawberry mojito though is a poor drink.  Strawberries and mint just don’t go together well.

From there we went on a bit of a pub crawl.   There were a lot of drinks of varying quality consumed over the next few hours.

Then it was back to the hostel, which frankly does not impress.  We stayed in much more comfortable lodgings in June.   Chan’s Guest house however  has restrictions on using the air conditioning, and not a single chair in the place.

 

Weekend walks: Bonegusa Temple

So sunday I took my camera and headed for Bonegusa temple.   This, one of the most famous of Buhddist temples in Seoul, is located right across the street from the COEX mall.

Now, I’m not  spiritual at all but the art and architecture of this place were pretty moving.  In the back there is a really remarkable  statue of “Goddess of Mercy Buhdda.”  It was shockingly tall and very peaceful, for a place right in the middle of a big city.

Another highlight of the trip were two sets of lots of small things.  They had a really cool set of paper lanterns.

Another cool thing was a wall of little golden Buddhas.   It was really kind of shocking.

To get to Bonegusa temple you just go to Samseong Subway (line 2).  Go out Exit #6 and walk  till you see it.  It took me a few minutes longer than I thought it was.

Beachside dining in Busan

So Haeundae beach is awesome.   And right by the beach there are a bunch of restaurants there who serve the beach bums.

On my trip with “Lost in Seoul” we hit up two of the more popular joints there.  The Fuzzy Navel and Breeze Burns.

The Fuzzy Navel is a Mexican restaurant with a bar.  They offer a really wide selection of drinks, especially cocktails.  For my money though if the restaurant is named the Fuzzy Navel I’m not going to get clever and try to outsmart them.

The ambience of this place was really nice.   It had a nice beachside bar feel to it with the music rolling.  I only wish there was an actual bar right on Haeundae.  I’d love to be drinking one of their cocktails while I sunbathe or right after I walk up out of the water.

I ordered a Fuzzy Navel.  That was delicious.  I also ordered a chicken burrito and Nachos with toppings piled high.  ( I had just spent 45 minutes in brutally cold ocean water I was starving) Read more of this post

Busan trip: First day

So yesterday was the first day of my Busan adventure. There will be lots of pictures coming later.  

So after we found the hostel we were staying out we set out for the fish market.  We walked around and took a look around at all the different types of fish on offer.  One of my friends along for the trip said he thought there were 100 species of fish on offer there.  

Or as I put it, “If it comes out of the ocean, it’s for sale here.”

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