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Exploring Busan

June 18, 2011

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I didn’t sleep as well last night, so I awoke feeling kind of travel weary. Busan seems like a more bustling city than Seoul. It is where my brother was born, so I am interested in seeing everything for that reason in addition to the fact that it is the fourth largest port city in the world, and the only place the North Koreans did not take during the Korean War.


We visited the United Nations Memorial Cemetary in Korea this morning. It is a peaceful, beautiful monument to the sacrifice of the thousands who lost their lives in the Korean War. Most of the US troups were transported back to the US, but there are a few who are buried at the UNMCK.

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Next, we visited Busan Tower, which had amazing views of the city in all directions.

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Then we went to the Cha Gal Chi fish market, which was not very appetizing to smell, but I managed to keep it together because there were so many strange and delicious sea animals to see. Thankfully, we just did a quick walk-through and were back out in fresh air again soon.

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After lunch, we visited the Dong San orphanage, which has a capacity of 80, but currently houses 48 children between the ages of six months and 18 years. Most of the children there are from broken homes, or have a history of abuse. Interestingly, the family has visitation rights whenever they choose, but the children will not be released back to them until the family completes some training provided by the government, presumably about how to better parent and not be abusive.

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We played a game with the elementary-aged kids. In four teams, we played two rounds, and then a final championship round. Our team came in second. The game involved throwing sticks, moving a certain number of spots on the (human-sized) game board, and dance breaks! The kids were really cute, and the staff seemed to be very good with children. The orphanage itself was very clean, bright, and filled with books and toys. They actually have a toy library that is accessible to the community at large. The little boys we met could all count to ten in English. The same couldn’t be said of our group’s knowledge of Korean.

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Here’s Mom throwing the sticks. She got three lucky throws to win us the first round.

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This little girl became fascinated with my camera. I let her play with it for a whie during the game, so now I have several blurry shots of her hand, but also this one of me and Mom.

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Dinner was a Korean buffet. I really hope morning sickness is not setting in. Not much seemed very appealing to me today. I have still been eating kimchi at every opportunity, but there are plenty of things I can’t eat, and plenty more that I’d rather not eat. We learned that we are taking the hi-speed train back to Seoul on Monday instead of the bus. I’m not sure if that’s due to my newly disclosed “condition,” or to Sharon’s motion sickness, but needless to say I’m very grateful we won’t be spending four to six more hours on the bus to get back to the guest house.

I told everyone on the tour that I’m pregnant on the way to Sharon’s Home because we were all sharing, I guess. Seemed like something they should know. But now eveyone is always asking me how I am. Let the concern and advice commence! Sometimes, it’s endearing, though. Today, we brought a bunch of watermelons to the orphanage because the don’t usually buy a lot of fruit due to the expense. We were all asked to carry one on the bus, but as I reached for one, Jenny said, “No watermelon for you. Nothing heavy for you. This is the best time of your life.” Jenny is very sweet and quite funny. So, I carried the pineapple.

We had the evening’s “second course” of noraebang, Korean karaoke, after dinner. Half the group didn’t sing, but we all had a good time, despite the slim American song offerings.

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Tomorrow, we leave Busan for Gyeongju. Our trip is half over!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathy Stephens permalink
    June 19, 2011 3:47 am

    Betsy,
    Today was the first day I have read your blog and I read through all the postings! What a wonderful trip for you and your mom to share. And congratulations! I am sure it is even more meaningful as an expectant mother. I hope you continue to feel well and have a wonderful time. Lots of love to both of you!

    Cathy

  2. Julia Bates permalink
    June 19, 2011 9:21 am

    Did you sing? I have found memories of Atlantic City!! Now you can tell Andrew what you saw about his home city!

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