At lunch, I spoke to my friend Hannah on the phone. She runs the blog Paint Me a Smile (and you should all go check it out!) We actually met here on WordPress, and we’ve been following each other’s blogs for about two months now. We both came to Korea around the same time to teach English and have been having a good time sharing our similar experiences.
We have been trying to meet in person for weeks now, but things kept on coming up. So, when we found out we were both going to be in Busan at the same, we had to make plans!
Steve and I were going to make our way to Shinsegae, the world’s largest department store, in the Centum City neighborhood of Busan. We took the subway, and there was an entrance right in the station. So, we headed inside and wandered around the first level while waiting for Hannah.
First impression of Shinsegae: insanely overwhelming. Such sensory overload! I’ve never been in a department store quite like this. There was an entire supermarket, food court, about a bazillion shops selling handbags and cosmetics (and that was only on one floor!).
Finally, Hannah was here and we went to meet her! We went back inside and made our way up and down the floors. Poor Steve had to deal with our girly shopping. He did some wandering of his own, though. We spent a long time in the department store, eventually taking a break for some coffee and food. WHILE WE SAT NEXT TO THE ICE SKATING RINK.
What a crazy place.
Then, we walked around Centum City for a bit until we returned to Haeundae. We went back to the market for street food and then did some more shopping.
Around 6:30, we decided to head over to Gwangalli, where the fireworks festival was taking place. As soon as we got out of the subway, the sheer quantity of people out was incredible. We followed the crowds towards the beach, stopping a few times for tasty street food along the way.
Hannah was trying to find some other foreigners she knew and it was nearly impossible to do so. There were police and even terrorist prevention squads everywhere. Eventually, she found them. They were sitting on the steps near the beach and Steve and I were invited to join. However, I was on the verge of a massive panic attack and could not bring myself to push through anymore people. So, Steve and I sat on the curb across the street and he brought me a drink to soothe my nerves. We still had a great view.
The show lasted from 8 until 9 and it was quite possibly the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen in my entire life! The backdrop was the beautiful Gwangan Bridge and they used music from Carly Rae Jepsen to the Beatles to Whitney Houston. It was fun to sing along to the songs. There were even lasers incorporated into the show. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a single picture because my phone died and I had nowhere to charge it.
After the show, Steve and I hung out at a bar to avoid the mass exodus of the crowds. We said goodbye to Hannah and, after a while, made our way towards the subway. Even though we waited to leave, it was still obscenely crowded. I was super tired and super cranky. Finally, we made it to the intercity bus terminal and headed back to Ulsan.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend!