Day 12,  Busan, South Korea

Well, it was ANOTHER awesome weather day!  After 7 days of cloudy, cold, rainy days, we have had 5 straight of clear blue skies.  Unfortunately I failed to bring along sunscreen.  I was led to believe we would encounter cloudy skies most of the trip, so I didn’t pack any.  At 12 bucks a tube in the ship’s gift shop, I decided to take my chances.  I do have a sunburn from the past number of days and was worried about today, but most of my time today was spent under cover…

The city of Busan provided free shuttle busses from the ship to the downtown market area for those folks not on the ship tours.  I was one of those.  Like the previous port days, I decided to wander around without the help a guide.  The shuttle made two stops.  The first stop was at a park on top of a hill, and the second was in front of the big market down in town. 

The park was okay.  Its primary feature was the observation tower that gave a 360 degree view of the city.  I decided to go ahead and pay the fee to go up.  I got a few really good panoramic pictures, but they don’t translate well into the blog so I’m just going to post some regular pictures.

While up in the tower I spotted the next destination of the shuttle bus.  It wasn’t too far from the hill, so I decided if there wasn’t a bus waiting, I’d go ahead and make the trek down the hill on foot.  Not only was there not a bus, but there was a line of more than 50 people waiting for one.  I hoofed it.  About 5 minutes later I was at the foot of the hill, and 5 minutes after that, I was at the top of the market (the shuttle was dropping off at the foot).  The whole thing is covered, so from the top of the tower, it was hard to see just how big the place is.  FYI, it’s HUGE!

Just about anything you can think of you might need, you can probably find it there.  There are entire stalls dedicated to single themes like luggage, umbrellas, Hello Kitty stuff, socks, and plumbing supplies.  It’s a crazy, busy place!  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, so I was able to just wander around in amazement at the amount of “stuff” available all in one area.

It was kinda funny to come across a tour group from the ship as I wandered through the fish market.  They paid more than a hundred bucks to be led around by a guide.  Their groups were so strung out, there was no way the folk in the back could hear the obvious, “Here are live fish, and in this next stall, here are more live fish.  Oh, look, live fish AND dead fish in this next area!”  At one point, a Princess Tour group came to an intersection where I happened to be standing.  Over her little megaphone, the guide told the group to turn left.  “A6 left, A6 left”.  The stragglers never heard it..  So, being the nice guy I am, I started calling, “A6 turn right!  A6 turn right!”  Okay, not really, but I DID think about it! = )

As I actually was directing them in the correct direction, one of the sheeple noticed I was munching on a snack.  He told me it looked good, and I have to say it was good.  I have no idea what it was.

Beside the giant flea market, Buson is known for its huge fish market.  I heard it was the second largest fish market in the world behind one in Japan, but I can’t confirm that.  It is, however, quite a sight!  So many live (and dead) sea creatures.  Little fish, big fish, shrimp, eels, octopus, seahorses, and the list goes on.  Here are a few pictures…

As I was walking through the fish market I found I was getting hungry.  A fair number of the fish mongers were starting to fix their own meals with a few of them having places for others.  I wasn’t sure if those spaces were for customers or friends, and the language barrier in the market was quite high.  I decided not to try for a spot.  I wandered on a bit and discovered a couple with a food cart.  The man was cutting off chunks of dough and scraping them into a huge wok of hot oil.  Some kind of fritter I deduced.  In the bin to sell was a HUGE pile of these “fritters/hushpuppies”.  I waited to see what people were paying for them, but the money and food and change passed so fast, it was impossible to follow.  Then I got a break.  Someone asked for something else.  There were fried batter covered somethings on a stick.  There were also sausages on a stick nearby, so I just figured what I was looking at was the same—just battered, like a corndog.  Folks were paying 1,000 Won a piece, so I figured I could shell out the 87 cents to give it a try.  I THINK what was in the middle of the delicious dough fritter was a tofu type “stuff”, except it was a little chewy and pretty nondescript…

All-in-all, it satisfied my hunger for the moment.  Still no idea what I ate.

After that I just wandered some more.  While the fish market was very neat and interesting, it became repetitive after the first 10 to 15 stalls.

Tomorrow is the last sea day of the cruise then it’s two port days in China before getting off the ship in Beijing.

More later!