It turns out that next to Gyeonju is Pohang, a beachside city famous for an industrial skyline that, while somewhat ugly by day, is lit up spectacularly at night by orange lights. By chance, a friend of Matt, my Daegu friend, lives there. Thus, I took a 20 minute bus ride and ended up enjoying my favorite chicken dish, jjimdalg, with a new friend, Jake. On Jake’s advice, I walked from my guesthouse the next day to see the ultra-modern Steel Art Museum. I really liked one piece that, at first glance, is just a strange pile of steel pellets. However, a light on one side revealed that the pellets formed a shadow of a Greek warrior, sword on his belt, holding the head of a vanquished enemy in his outstretched arm. Jake decided that I couldn’t leave Korea without eating a traditional meal so he, very kindly, treated me to a huge lunch at a local restaurant. The customary plum tea was especially tasty.
My bus back to Busan arrived in time for me, on Google’s advice, to take a local bus to see the hometown Lotte Giants take on the Doosan Bears in a baseball game. The fans were not as passionate as Japanese fans (the fact that the Giants lost 9-4 probably didn’t help), but it was a fun atmosphere. I wasn’t expecting to hear such classic songs like ‘What Does the Fox Say’ to rile up the crowd so much. The Lotte Giants do have the strange tradition of, at the end of the game, handing out orange plastic bags which people then start wearing as headpieces. This was more fun to watch than the lopsided game on the field.
After following Google’s advice to take a cross-town bus to David’s apartment, I received some bad news – Google is so obsessed with buses that it won’t even suggest taking the (much faster) Metro anywhere. The bad news was tempered by the news that David bought a couch – I no longer would sleep on the (admittedly pretty comfortable) yoga mat. I celebrated the purchase with David and Yeongwhi by sitting and chatting on it until 2AM.
My last day in Busan involved climbing Geumjeongsanseong Mountain, which, at 801.5 meters, is the tallest peak in Busan. Days that you wish wouldn’t end involve seeing sights like that with the people you care about.
After waving off David’s bus to work the next morning, which his bosses tell him to ride despite technically being just for factory workers at a nearby plant, I took the slow train to Seoul. My friends Sungho, Hyein, and Qubok were free after work finished at 10:30 PM so I took the Metro to Yeonsinnae to enjoy specialties like pig’s feet (very tender) and somaek (a smooth combination of beer and soju) with them and Sungho’s friend, Sungwon. We were having such a great time that I stayed out late trying dishes like raw beef (one bite was enough), and chicken wings (I definitely ate more than my fair share). I would have stayed out later but, since I had signed up for an 8 AM DMZ tour, I took a cab home at 3 AM. After all, it’s not like I’m 22 anymore.