Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Busan: Jagalchi Market and Centum City

Jagalchi Market

After a scrambled egg sandwich at the hostel on Saturday morning, I headed off to the Jagalchi fish market, which had been recommended to me by various teachers at school.

I was actually walking through stands outside near the market for most of my visit, not realizing that there was an actual building called the "Jagalchi Market" until I wound up outside of it.  Since I've never lived in an ocean-side city, I'm not very familiar with all the different sea creatures that people catch and eat. So it was interesting to see them at all of the stands outside of the market.

(See that red circular tub in the top right photo? An octopus crawled out and fell onto the ground as I was approaching, so the lady working the stand just picked it up and threw it back in. Didn't even blink.)

I was way outnumbered in terms of tourists to locals; I only saw one other westerner during my whole time walking around outside. So it felt strange to stop and take pictures of these peoples' food stands, when they're just busy working and cutting fish, and everyone around me is trying to do their shopping, but I made myself take some.

This market is right near the port, so I enjoyed the coastal view of all the fishing boats with the city and mountains in the background.

Port near Jagalchi market in Busan

Port in Busan near Jagalchi Market

Port in Busan near Jagalchi Market

And then I finally discovered the actual Jagalchi Market, a building of about six floors.  There were restaurants on the second floor of the market, so I figured I should eat there as long as I was, well, right there.  Everything on the menu looked quite expensive and for more than one person, so I got a W15,000 rice porridge with abalone. Wikipedia now tells me that abalone is a common name for edible sea snails, and considered a delicacy here in Korea.  That explains a lot!

It didn't taste like anything special to me.  In fact, I thought I was eating some kind of fish - had no idea it was a snail  - because it was just really small pieces interspersed in the rice porridge.

(Update, 2016: And that very porridge now has a place in my Beginner's Guide to Korean Food and Restaurants, which'll help you comfortably order and eat tasty meals in Korea!)

And then I took the metro back towards Haeundae, but got off at the Centum City stop.

Olympic Sculpture Park

One of the maps I picked up at the hostel had a short blurb about this Olympic Park, a nice place to walk through and see sculptures along the way.  It was only a block or two from the metro station, so I headed there first.

Olympic Sculpture Park in Busan, Korea

This next sculpture caught my eye, and I had to take pictures after I saw the title was "Life of Excrement":

Life of Excrement, sculpture in Olympic Park, Busan

I didn't get to see all of the sculptures and was actually quite distracted from them, as there was competition for my attention.  Turns out there was some kind of anime (probably the completely wrong word to use) convention or something going on, because this park was filled with Koreans dressed up as various characters. Many were having photo shoots in the park (they each seemed to have their own photographer), so I walked around and took pictures of the statues while keeping my eye on all of these people. Why do I keep stumbling upon these sorts of events when I'm traveling?!

Exhibit A: Sevilla, Spain (2010)

[Ah! I've searched through my old photos and apparently I didn't take a single picture of the anime/goth fest I ran into during one of the two days I was visiting Sevilla. Silly young me!  You'll just have to take my word on this one, it happened.] 

Exhibit C: Busan, Korea (2014)

I think it's clear that in 2016 I'll be in a foreign country, and just happen to end up where another anime convention is taking place! You just wait.

That park in Busan was on the smaller side, and I felt rushed by the costumed crowd using it as scenery for their photo shoots, so I made it a relatively short trip. I grabbed a cup of tea to take with me as I walked a few blocks to the very nearby APEC Naru Park.

APEC Naru Park

This park lies along the Suyeong River, and I really enjoyed walking through it.  Again, lots of neat art sculptures dotted throughout. Wonderful public bathrooms. Great paths for walking and biking. You can watch fish jump at the river, and I also watched some skateboarders skating and dogs playing.

It's not as much of an escape from the city as Moontang Road -- you can clearly see the city scape all around you -- but it was still really wonderful to walk through the park.

Along the road while leaving the park, I noticed these unique flowers that somewhat reminded me of bergs of lettuce. Anyone know the name? I noticed them around the city throughout the rest of my time in Busan.

Centum City

Since I was so close to it, I next went inside Centum City's main attraction: the world's largest department store, Shinsege. Inside is an ice skating rink, the huge department store, a movie theater, art gallery, and a spa. I spent some time in the book store, then got dinner in the food court and watched some ice skaters.

I liked the ordering system in the food court. There are two counters where you place your order and pay - no matter which restaurant you're ordering from. Then they give you a buzzer with your number. You wait near the restaurant you ordered from and keep an eye on the TV screens. The screens display each restaurant, and the order numbers that are ready. When your number's on the screen, you go over to the counter and pick up your food. What also made this great was that at the ordering counter there was a menu in Korean and English with pictures for every restaurant in the food court!

After dinner I made my way up to the top floor, walked through a small art gallery, wrote, and then returned to my hostel.  I showered, read, wrote, and then blogged for a little bit. I was wiped out by 9 o'clock, and bed came soon after.
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  1. (1) Your third picture (with the 3+ boats on the left and fishing dock on the right) is AWESOME! Frame-worthy, for sure. (2) I think the flower you're looking for the name of is 'ornamental cabbage', aka 'flowering kale'; not typically edible. Looks like you had quite the trip :)

    1. Thanks! I really liked how that one turned out too.
      Ah, ok, flowering kale. Cathleen emailed a comment to me too that said "kale!" Didn't realize there were edible and non-edible varieties - cool!

  2. The "anime" event is commonly known as "cosplay" (short for costume play).

    1. Ah, thanks - I've never heard that before. I'll be sure to use it in my 2016 post ; )