Friday, April 24, 2020

Last Night In Busan (Part 3)

I was like having a whirlwind romance with the city of Busan. Many heartfelt thanks to my Korean best friend for driving me all the way from Seoul to enjoy the best sightseeing around Busan. He drove along the stretch of coastal roads for me to enjoy the panoramic view where all the big & small beautiful homes lined the sea cliffs and face the breathtaking ocean. These precious and good memories will last me a lifetime.

Poongwonjang Restaurant
No.38 Marine City 2-ro, U-dong, Haeundae-gu,
Busan, South Korea.

My friend brought me to a famous restaurant that served traditional Korean seafood dishes. It is located along the coastal area.

The minute I entered the entrance, I was greeted by a cozy ambiance of many blooming flowers of Spring. The myriad of beautiful colours and the pine wooden floor to the ceiling was a sight to behold.

The owner loves flowers! It was my first time seeing orange tulips.

There are many private rooms there with about 6 tables each.

My friend browsed through the thick menu and ordered on the recommendation of the Lady Captain. The array of food was served very fast with all the heating stoves started up for the broths. It was nice to drink tasty hot broths in cold weather.

Look! My eyes went very big & wide as the waiters could not stop serving the many appetizing plates of main dishes and banchan (side dishes). I looked at my smiling friend who gestured me to eat without hesitation. The plates, bowls & saucers totaled over 25 pieces in the end! It was the most delicious Korean lunch I ever had. I am thankful for my good karma to eat good food and have good friends.

I always remembered what my Korean friends taught me in America. The host expects the guests to enjoy eating non stop and drinking alcohol merrily with much loud noise, laughter and carnival like. You will also see alcohol being served for well wisher guests at all the funerals in South Korea.

My stomach was too full with all my intestines almost bursting at the seams. I ran to the toilet to empty my old shit bowels. I wanted to cry and faint as the toilet was at the very far opposite end.

Hwangnyeonsan Mountain

My friend wanted to show me the night view of the whole Busan City. He chose the late evening to start driving up to the summit which took 15 minutes.

We almost reached the peak and he had to stop because he wanted to smoke!

 The skies were enveloped in thick mists which gave a blurry view.

We proceeded to continue driving up to the peak, only to be greeted by many flowers on both sides.

This is the Mount Hwangnyeonsan Observatory where there is a big cafe for visitors to drink and admire the Busan City's night view below.

We ordered coffee and it started to rain heavily! I was patient and very optimistic that heavens would open up the skies for me after the downpour.

Beautiful Busan City at night with all the glittering lights.


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Busan Attractions (Part 2)

Busan is a very interesting city with many attractions. I did not visit all the places that trip because I have plans to visit again in near future when my wife goes mountain hiking with her gang of hikers. I am not welcomed to join the hikers because I was slow like a tortoise. The last time we hiked up Mount Kinabalu, she finished in 4.5 hours before lunch. I took over 9 hours to reach the top when the skies turned pitched dark with the moon laughing at me. So damn malu!! You wanna hear the reasons?

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Address: 86 Yonggung-gil, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan, South Korea.

This popular idyllic temple sits by the rocky seaside that offers very spectacular view of the whole ocean and natural landscaping of beautiful rocks. There are plenty of steps to navigate yourself to visit this place, so your knees should be strong.

They are rated as "The Most Beautiful Temple in Korea" as all the temples are located high on mountains but this one sits by the hilly rocks and overlooks the sea.

This ancient temple was first built by the Great Buddhist Teacher named Naong in the year 1376, during the Goryeo Dynasty.

You can spend hours alone to admire the peaceful scenery with the huge rolling waves splashing on the rocks. It really calmed my feelings. The waves took away my blues and whatever sadness into the ocean very faraway. Busan has many beautiful rocky areas by the sea for us to check it out.

The main Mahavira hall of the temple.

The monk was reciting some prayers inside the hall.

 My Korean friend sat and waited for me patiently wherever I went. 
That's what best friends are for.

I think that statue is the Bodhisatva Di Zang Wang Pusa by judging on the long pole that he carries. He was a Royal Prince from Korea who went to do his cultivation in the Mount Jiuhua in Anhui China. This Bodhisatva's statues can be seen widely all over Japan, China, Taiwan including Malaysia. I visited the pagoda where his body was kept in China. You can see it HERE.

There is a tall pagoda outside the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. 
Can you spot the 2 Love Birds??

The 2 Love Birds.

Gamcheon Culture Village
Address: Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan.

That's my friend who drove me up the hilly slopes of Busan to see the amazing "Santorini" village. 

The whole village was once the poorest slum area since the Korean War. Today it has magically turned into a top tourist area with so many colourful streets, corners and cafes for good photography. They have endless of Artistic Walls, Sculptures and Murals. I am just showing you the monkey side of me. 

So many Korean lady-wannabes wearing their pretty traditional "Hanbok".

Please remember that this whole Gamcheon Village consists of all clustered houses stacked up on the hilly slopes with tiny winding steps. My friend being a heavy smoker was gasping for his breaths and dear life, climbing the winding stairs. It was amazing to see how the Korean families lived there.

We found a roof top of a cafe to peek the view of Gamcheon Village but it was not the right angle.

I went up to the stage to sing Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock".

So we had to walk down all over again and walked up other narrow steps to find the right place. We failed again and had to drive the car to another side of the big hill.

Now this angle looked more interesting.

I found the perfect spot!

My postcard photo. Hope you enjoyed the tour.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Attractions in Busan - South Korea (Part 1)

Attractions in Busan - Haeundae Beach, Juk Seong Church & Bulgogi Dinner

My Korean best friend Lee Joon Sung drove me from Seoul all the way to Busan which is 325 kilometres away. His wife who is a Korean bank's president insisted that he must show me around Korea with the best VIP treatment which included top notch lunches and dinner! The journey took over 4 hours in his big comfortable car with several stops along the way. We had a long talk with endless silly jokes to rekindle the time we both lived in the haunted dormitory at Point Park College. He used to call his girlfriend (wife now) in Korea from USA everyday until his phone bill ran over USD$1000 per month! No kidding!! My friend smoked non stop while driving and poor me had to inhale all the 2nd hand smoke! Cough! Cough!

We visited this famous Juk Seong Dream Church which is located at Gijang-gun in Busan. It was specially built just as a concrete prop for a SBS Korean Drama called "Dream". It has become a tourist attraction today for its scenic rocky location and panoramic view of the ocean. 

Busan is the busiest & largest port in South Korea and has direct ferry to Japan's Kyushu Islands because they are pretty close!

 Ahem!   Look at this Korean Opah posing on the rock. Do you think I should start acting?

The side view of the Juk Seong Church.

The 'small church' is often used for Art Exhibits or Community Services. There is no church pews, altar or prayers here. 

The Spring weather was nice, chilly and sunny.

This is the aerial view of how this unique church was built just for a TV drama series. (I borrowed this photo from TripAdvisor.)

This photo shows the filming of the "Dream" TV drama. Have you watched it??

Finally, I got my feet into the sand and sea water at the most famous Haeundae Beach! 

So many movies and dramas have been shot at this scenic playground of the Rich and Famous.. My other Korean room mate Lee Seung Woo lives in this swanky area and I was guessing which condo belonged to him. That night I would have the chance to ask him over dinner.

All the most expensive South Korea's ocean front luxury condos and multi million dollar homes are lined here along Haeundae Beach! It reminds me of the Malibu Beach and Pacific Palisades in California. I could only look-see and dream on.

My roommate Seung Woo hosted the dinner and insisted that we must eat Bulgogi. He boasted that the best Bulgogi in whole of South Korea and the world is only available in Busan. I looked at him in real disbelief.

I used their traditional fragrant Perilla Leaves to wrap the marinated grilled beef, paste, garlic and onions. Wow!!! The taste was really fantastic with its natural sweetness and juice flowing out! It was non stop eating for me the whole night. You must try it when you visit Busan.

My roommate is still an alcoholic today while my other best friend is still a heavy chain smoker! That night we drank many bottles of the famous Chef Baek Jong Won's Soju.

My happy reunion with the 2 Korean Opahs. The left guy is my roommate whose late father owned many office blocks in Seoul's posh Gangnam area. He was such a pampered only son and his mother had to give him 'wake up' calls from Seoul everyday as no alarm clock could wake him up for school. I also gave up waking him in the mornings until he missed so many classes with bad attendance in America! So I had to pick up his mother's phone call every morning at sunrise and threw the cordless phone at him on the next bed beside me. That's how I learnt to speak the most polite Korean language and greetings as I had to address a very filthy rich mother.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

South Korea Attractions - Spring 2019

This MCO has certainly changed & pushed me so much until I finished clearing the storage area in my home. That's because I am too free now! I opened the many boxes again after 5 years to see the tons of family albums left behind by my late parents and found assorted pieces of precious antiques. Next, I peeped into my phone and was horrified to see over 2000 photos which I took in South Korea, Belitung and others. They are growing cob webs in my phone.

I visited South Korea exactly one year ago in April 2019 for the reunion of my US College friends. I flew there alone for 8 days and only posted 2 times in my blog!! ~Faints~

If you wish to see them, just click here.... |  Part 1  |  Part 2   |

Let me post them all today onward and I shall start first with the Museum and Night Market.

In every country I visited, I must look for their historical museums. That would feed my hunger to study and understand about their country's interesting pasts that helped to shape them up today. I stayed at a hotel in the happening Myeongdong area and took a cab to the National Museum of Korea which is about 20 minutes away in Yongsan-gu. The Yongsan Subway Station is 1.5km away from the museum. Address: 137 Seobinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu, South Korea. The admission in Free.

It was early Spring and the temperature was still winter-like and windy. I loved walking everywhere and admire all the seasonal flowers which we do not have them in Malaysia.

The museum is a very huge modern building with over 15,000 pieces of ancient artifacts being displayed over 6 floors. This photo of the "movie star" was taken outside by the landscaped lake. Does it look like me?? Ahem...

I will not bore you with too many old stuffs. So what is this funny obscene shaped earthen jars? They were the Jar Coffins of Influential People during the 4th and 5th centuries which were buried at the Yeongsangang River Basin in Korea.

I was speechless when I saw this ancient warrior in the high-ranking armor suit. I had a terrible nightmare many years ago that I lived in the Shilla Dynasty of old Korea and fought the fiercest war during those ancient times. I was stabbed by the enemy and died in the battle field with tears in my eyes. I woke up on my bed in KL with real tears wetting my whole pillow. I found it too vivid, surreal and unbelievable to have that gory dream and decided to text my Korean friend living in Bangkok. He replied me that day was actually the 'Korean All Souls Day' where the folks would all pray diligently for their departed ancestors... Hmmm maybe my descendants had prayed for me too. How nice!

This ancient 10-stories pagoda looked majestic with unique architecture and was unearthed from Gyeongcheongsa during the reign of King Chungmok (Year 1348).

I proceeded to the famous street market in Seoul which is located beside this Namdaemun Arch's landmark.

They have several entrances to enter/exit the Namdaemun Market area with these prominently numbered signs to guide visitors. They have very good and efficient town planning in South Korea with adequate signs everywhere. I was never lost in this big city.

Honestly, I loved the street market that spans several roads within the Namdaemun area. "Mun" means gate in Korean language. There's so much to see and so much to buy. Look at all the pretty dolls!

The crowd were all eyes at this stall selling something weird to me. I could not tell whether the seller was peeling fruits, cakes or sea monsters.

Does it look like Dragon Fruit???

OMG! Look at the customers slurping away the sea urchins in dip sauces with raw blood oozing from their bloody mouths. Yiaakss! My hair stood up and I disappeared into thin air.

Look at that male seller in female drag calling all the ajunma aunties! I joined them to browse and was stunned to see the unbelievably cheap pants and blouses. 

The variety of food in skewers were tempting to try. They looked like Chinese seafood skewers but the marinated taste was different here in Korea. You must try it.

I almost bought the male boxer underwear with the Korean currency print. I decided not to as it doesn't look respectful to the famous Lady Shin Saimdang by wearing it to sleep or toilet.

I was hungry and went to hunt for famous food after watching so many Korean Variety shows! I knew what I was looking for and walked into the narrow alleys inside their market within the Namdaemun vicinity. I made a zig zag walk alone and scanned all the hanging menus on displays. Aha!!! I found it!!

When you visit Korea, hopefully in around Winter or after, you must try their seasonal Pollack Fish! I heard the K-Pop stars raved and bragged about eating pollack fish cooked in spicy Kimchi Stew. I thought they were over rated but I was so wrong. 

Sedap Giler! The fish tasted superb and tender with hints of natural fish oil which was cooked in Kimchi Jigae broth with the traditional spices of Korea. I ate them all until my metal bowl was clean enough to see my own face. Don't be confused by the words Pollock and Pollack fishes which look similar but they are caught from different parts of the Pacific Ocean during certain seasons only. They are prized fishes in Korean cuisine. I totally forgot the price as it was one year ago.

Feeling happy and satisfied for a day well spent at the museum and Namdaemun market with a sumptuous Pollack Fish meal, I took a cab back to my hotel. The Korean driver was friendly and tried to chat with me. I only understood a little Korean language which I picked up during my days staying with the Korean students in the US boarding school. The driver was very happy that Spring has arrived in Seoul with lots of flowers everywhere.

The taxi stopped at the square when the traffic lights turned red. The driver lowered my tinted window and smiled at me happily. He gestured me to snap a photo of the beautiful flowers on the boulevards as a memory to bring home. 


Unforgettable Day

😓 Yesterday was the weakest day of my whole entire life. I had to crawl my way to stay at my sister's place. At her Mont Kiara condo...