Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Busan, or where I ate the escaping octopus

Ok, I'm officially a terrible blogger. I've continued to be very busy, even though I've recovered from my mini-coma phase and moved on to a normal stage of life. Normal life here is difficult to blog about, since I do the same thing kind of every day thing each day. Go to work. Eat. Go to the Gym. Study. Go to Korean class, which just started etc. But, I am finally writing about Busan. Before I do, I'll write a little about the strange foods I've eaten recently. Then, I'll write about Busan and the strange foods I ate there. I'll start with the most normal and move to the worst.
This is the egg moat barbecue place. Basically, it's normal BBQ, but with a moat of eggs. It's near Carrie's place. They add peppers and other things to the eggs and it's very delicious. I don't even like eggs, but these eggs are great.
Carrie's friend Rosie was visiting for a while (We went to Busan because she was here.)

While she was here, she wanted to eat 곱창aka Gop Chang, aka cow intestines with vegetables and kimchi.

Now, I can tell you that it did not taste all that terrible. It was kind of weird and tasted a bit like sausage. But, it tasted ok.
However, it looked like this and I was very aware that I was eating cow intestines.

Then, I would think about eating cow intestines and felt like vomiting.

Then I'd drink some cider and decide, "Ok it's not too bad."

Then eat some and then think, "eww cow intestines" and want to vomit again. It was a strange experience. I ended up not eating a ton of it, because it was too gross to think about.

Yet, as indicated, it was not the grossest thing I have eaten recently.

This is Shola. We met in Vienna 3 years ago back and have kept in contact since then. She's in Korea for a couple months visiting her family (since she still lives in Vienna) so we met up of course. Shola, her sister and I met for dinner. We got normal food (BBQ) and also ordered this:
Pig skin. We ordered one serving, obviously, but it came with 2 slabs like that. Shola and her sister So Young had never had pig skin either. After one bite we said, "Oh no we have another one!" It was not delicious. It was extremely chewy and strange. And we had to eat it all. There was a lot of chugging of the water and eating of the vegetables to make sure we finished it. We then made sure to order something else to make sure that we didn't vomit. Bleck.
But it was great to see Shola again after 3 years! I really must make it back to Vienna in the near future.

Also, I saw this dog that was shaved a looks like a lion. In the winter, it's huge and has a ton of fur, but since it's been approximately 300 degrees outside for the last month or so, it has been shaved.

Ok, on to Busan. I went with Carrie, Rosie, Alex and Alexis. (Rosie's from Taiwan originally but lives in America, Alex is from Macau and Alexis is from France). We were quite the international group. We left Seoul bright and early in the morning. And slept on the train, since we were all a bit tired.
Here's Rosie.
We arrived in Busan and headed to the subway station to take the subway to Haeundae (the famous beach) where our hostel was. And more importantly the beach. The subway system is a lot older in Busan, so there's no glass blocking you from falling of the tracks. Luckily, I did not encounter a crazy person to push me onto the tracks.

Oh wait......I did encounter a crazy person. An extremely crazy person. While minding our own business on the subway, not really talking, this lady started yelling at us. "YOU AMERICANS AND YOUR DRUGS! YOUR HEROINE AND COCAINE! YOU ARE ALL EVIL! GO BACK TO AMERICA! F***YOU AND YOUR DRUGS AND YOUR HAMBURGERS!" No I am not joking about the Hamburgers. Little did she know of the 5 of us, only 2 of us were actually American. She shouted at us for a while. Then this very nice man said to me, as the one who was clearly American, "Please don't think that Koreans feel this way about Americans. We also think she's crazy. We like America. I am so sorry." I thanked him for the gesture.

We got off the train. She followed us. We walked to the transfer. She followed us. We got on the connecting train. She got on with us. We walked through 4 train cars. She followed us. And sat down right in front of us and continued yelling about the cocaine and heroine. So, naturally, I took a Claritin in front of her.

She continued yelling at various people on the train about us Americans and our hamburgers and how, if they spoke English, they should never speak English because we're evil.

For 40 minutes. Until she finally got off the train one stop before us.

Also, we saw this sign:

We finally arrived at our hostel. Mr. Egg hostel.

I'm not joking. See the sign.

This was the view from the hostel.
We then headed to lunch on this street.

We got this, which was quite delicious, but definitely a mixture of interesting seafood that I'd never seen before.
Like that large shell.
And this, which is called pajeon, which is a Korean pancake, which is quite wonderful.

There's some octopus, well cooked.

Then, we went to the beach and went swimming, of course.
There we are at the beach, with our bubble swords. Obviously, we are all adults in our mid-twenties.

Well, except Alexis who is younger than Grant. I'm so old.
We all swam for about an hour. The waves were large, but it was perfectly fine. It was so much fun and great to be by the ocean again.

Then the waves got crazy strong and decided to head back in. As I was attempting to get out of the water, a wave hit my legs and completely knocked me on my back.

I was thinking "RIP TIDES!" but I was still in ankle deep water, so it wasn't an issue.

A building by the beach.
Some Surfers.

After swimming and getting dressed, we walked towards dinner along the boardwalk, which had some cool murals, which we took pictures at, of course.

Here are Carrie and I in Busan.

We then ate here at a seafood place, where you choose your seafood fresh and they kill it in front of you, if you choose to watch.

There's the lady choosing the fish for us.
There's the octopus we will eat in the near future.
And the fish we ate.
Octopus and the fish together.
and together again. Notice how the octopus is moving. It never stopped moving...

They added that darn sea squirt as service, which unfortunately I ate again and it was gross still.
Here's the lady chopping our fish and octopus.

Here are all the pictures for the full effect.

The final product. Freshly chopped octopus. Oh look, it's still kind of slimy. But, just wait.


See look, here's a video to prove that, not only was it still moving, but also I was the one who ate it first.
 Notice it sticking to the plate as I tried to pick it up?? It really wasn't all that bad. Definitely better than the gopchang and the pig skin. It definitely did move around in your mouth and stick to your teeth...

I do not believe I need any words beyond video and the pictures.

The fish we ate, which was wonderful.
There was a wonderful sunset at the same time as dinner, so naturally I took a ton of pictures.

Rosie and Carrie before.
Alexis and Alex during.
Carrie after eating the octopus...
Me during, perfectly cheerful. I think I am braver than Carrie.
With the rest of the fish, they made a soup, which looked like this.

Horrifying, right??

Not really. The broth was great, though I can say I did not touch the fish's head.

Then, it became nighttime and I took more pictures. Naturally.

I will say this is probably my favorite picture I have ever taken. No, it is not photo-shopped at all. The colors in the water come from the lights from the buildings nearby and the lights created a strange light on the beach as well.

While the others rested, Rosie and I wandered around a bit and took pictures. They were having some sort of event on the beach that night, which the entire population of Korea seemed to be attending.

View from the hostel at night.

The hostel.

The Viking Hat returns.

Then, everyone did fireworks on the beach (including Korean people) but there was announcement not to do fireworks on the beach, so I hid far away and didn't do fireworks. I just took pictures from afar while pretending that I was not with them, so I would not get in trouble.

Obviously, since it is me.

We headed home the next morning, uneventfully. Thank heavens. I didn't want more people yelling about how much they hate me.

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