There isn't much to write about in Busan. Without a local guide we didn't uncover many interesting areas. The hostel we stayed at was pretty damn ghetto and the owner wasn't that helpful either. But at $15 a night, can't expect much can we? We met an elderly Japanese tourist at the hostel who went out of his way to bring us to a decent place for dinner the first night. Afterward he walked us all the way to the local beach before returning to the hostel (he left the next morning). Chewy and Jay ran into him again in Seoul a few days later and then went to visit him at his house in Yokohama when they got to Japan.
If you like beaches, then Busan might just be the place for you. It's pretty serene with an impressive bridge, the Gwangan Bridge, that stretches across the Suyeong Bay. I'm not sure why they built the bridge though. There are three other bridges, No. 1 Sueyong Bridge, Millak Bridge, and No. 2 Suyeong Bridge in the vicinity that are a fraction of the Gwangan Bridge's length. Why did the engineers choose to build the bridge parallel to land and then hook an almost 90 degree turn back up the river to connect the two neighborhoods?
Further up the beach towards the Millak Sliced Raw Fish Village is a small amusement park. The most popular ride there was one of those spinning contraptions, like a DJ-controlled centrifuge. Lacking the safety standards of the States (which actually made the ride look more fun), riders sat at the edge of a bowl like structure that spun and tilted depending on the DJ's whims. The DJ was a pretty damn good host and entertainer who energized the crowd and really got them into the ride.
The next day, we went to the Busan fish market which paled in comparison to the Tokyo market. It was much smaller, but very neatly organized in a pristine white building. In contrast to the Japanese market, the one in Korea was run by all women. With talks of the Tokyo market moving to new facilities in Yokohama, I hope they find a way to preserve the gritty feel of the current facilities and not make it too sterile like the one in Busan.
Bored, we made our way to the 'downtown' of the area which was still pretty deserted since it was so early in the morning. We passed an old lady selling chopchae in the street and had a quick breakfast sitting on little plastic stools. At least Jay finally got his chopchae though. With everything still closed we decided to head north and inland to Pusan University.
Walking around Pusan University made me appreciate Carnegie Mellon's facilities just a bit more. It was definitely a place of learning and that was probably it. Most of the facilities were eyesores and in poor shape. We stopped by their 'gym' which I guess was decent, nothing more than a tiny field house with poorly laid wooden floors. It doubled as a volleyball court and basketball court with some gymnastic equipment on the side. To my surprise, the student body wasn't as homogeneous as the general population. I saw many Indian students and heard a lot of Chinese being spoken too. We had no luck finding the 'student center' since none of the students spoke English. After a while Jay (or Chewy) came up with the brilliant idea of finding the... nerdiest looking student around and to our surprise she spoke English. Turns out there isn't a student center...
The rest of our day was spent back at the beach (a different one to the Northeast) where we took a whole lot of photos of the water and this mermaid statue nearby. After a long walk back to the hostel we got a few hours of shuteye before heading back to Seoul. One full day of Busan was apparently enough for us....
Oh, on the walk back to the hostel I passed by a Korean vehicle that was the splitting image of the old Honda Legend (Acura's finest model). After a quick search on the net, I found out what was going on... from the wikipage, "The second-generation Legend was also manufactured by Daewoo in South Korea from 1993 to 2000 under the name of Daewoo Arcadia, for the domestic market mostly."
Additional photos of South Korea