Over Christmas break I visited Busan, South Korea for the first time. This was my first solo excursion and one that I really enjoyed. It began with my first ride on the Airport limosine, a huge charter bus that takes passengers from Himeji station to Osaka International Airport. For about $50 you can purchase a round trip, sure fire way to and from the airport.
I decided that I wanted to give myself enough time to make it to the airport without rushing. So I left the night before my flight and spent the night in Osaka in my first AirBnB.
This was my trip of ‘firsts’. First solo trip. First time using Airbnb. First time walking on a runway. First time all the way around.
My first experience with AirBnb was just ok. The room was clean and everything was private. But to be quite honest, the toilet room smelled like dude pee. I was a bit put off by that. Everything “looked” clean but the scales for cleanliness are different for everyone. I sucked it up and gave them some advice on what they could do about that smell. The free ride to and from the train station totally made up for it. The late night 7-11 run totally made up for it. Would I stay there again? Maybe. Would I recommend that anyone else stay there? Maybe. It was cheap and did exactly what the add claimed.
Peach is a discount airline known for their cheap flights around Asia as well as their delays. Finding the terminal was a bit of a hike and a shuttle bus and then viola you’re off at the outskirts of the airport. It was fun finding the terminal. I’m so glad that I decided to go a few hours early. My only complaint was that I was so early that I had to wait an hour to check in. Other than that it was a super experience. I will fly with them in the future.
South Korea reminded me of Chicago in so many ways. Its apparent that the U.S. has influenced that country. I was a bit put off by it. After coming from Japan, where everything has cultural significance, South Korea was a shock. I spent most of the trip comparing it to everywhere else. I had a hard time finding things that were uniquely Korean. Except for the food. I walked around for 3 days eating.
I enjoyed finding new markets and trying everything that looked ‘weird’. I found Busu Book Street in Busa Dong. There, instead of buying books, I bought Van Gogh jigsaw puzzles.
On Christmas Day I spent the day walking around eating. Christmas night I wandered into this popular market street. It was packed. I saw a few black people. That was cool. A quick head nod to acknowledge our mutual awesomeness for having traveled to Busan and on Christmas.
I also took a bus tour around Busan. It was a pretty great way to see the city and all the tourist traps. You could get on and off the bus as often as you wanted. My mom mentioned that Busan had the largest department store in the world. So I went to check out the mall. That place was crazy. I went in not expecting anything but what I found was super cool. I found H & M! Finally being able to buy long sleeve shirts that reach my wrists was a blessing. I balled so hard in there.
Overall, this trip was eye opening. My mom thought that me going to Busan would finally rid me of the desire to travel to North Korea. However, this trip did the opposite. After seeing a super Westernized version of Korea, I really want to see it without the western influence. I’m looking forward to going on my next trip to Korea. Who know’s which side I’ll visit.