What a wonderful weekend it's been! After a nice, quiet Friday night I woke up early Saturday morning and hopped the bus to West Busan to start my move into my new apartment. Two suitcases and a duffel bag later I landed in Hwamyeong-dong, dropped my luggage, and headed over to Lotte Mart to grab some essentials (Cereal, Milk, Fruits, Veggies, and Beer, of course!). Having met a new Canadian friend last week we already had plans to head to the Soccer Game so we (A - the girl who lived in my apartment before me) packed up and met the group at the subway. We ended up being a group of about 10 people by the time the match began, and an eclectic group of hilarious personalities meant that there were many, many laughs throughout the game.
Tickets were only KRW 10,000 (about $11.35 Canadian) and we were allowed to bring food and drinks into the stadium. I saw people with full large-sized pizzas walking into the game, which made me want pizza in a bad, bad way. The next game is March 21st (and I have 3 free tickets from some fortune cookies they were handing out - huzzah!) so perhaps that will be on the prep agenda.
The speakers in this former World Cup facility were incredibly loud. There was lots of fanfare (and fireworks!) to start the game against Daejon.
The Half-Time show was...interesting. There were some dancers with pompoms in quite a state of undress, followed by some AWESOME kids doing a Taekwondo demonstration to music that sounded like a combination of Queen, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson. It was epic.
Busan scored late in the game and the crowd went wild. To be fair, every time Busan got close to scoring a goal the crowd reacted (everyone would jump up and scream and the band - yes there was a band - would play excitedly). Overall? Great experience with great people. I can most definitely picture going to many more games especially as the weather heats up.
By the time the game ended we were hungry and excited to go snack on some local fare. We decided to go to Seomyeon for Jjimdak (thanks, Alice!) to introduce us newcomers to just one of the many "downtown" areas of Busan.
The food was tasty (and spicy!) and I was surprised a few times by the bones throughout. The noodles in the dish weren't really necessary with the rice, and since there were potatoes in the stew it was a pretty carb-heavy meal. 3 of those bowls shared among 10 people was way too much food, but we still managed to head over for my first taste of Bingsu (or Bing-soo)!
We went to Mango Monster so, of course, we had to try the Mango flavour. We also decided to get a Cappuccino because 1 order was just not enough for 6 girls on a mission!
I didn't really understand why some places advertise Bingsu as "snow". It's either shaved ice or shaved frozen milk, but realistically it tastes like flavoured snow. I think I tried to market something similar when I was about 5 but it just became grape juice-infused Canadian winter snow. Not quite the same.
After dessert we went into a few makeup shops as one of the girls in our group loves nail polish - I feel we should probably focus on that next time we shop together because the girl knows how to use bold colours that pop perfectly together.
The desire to meet new people in my new city was strong, so when we found out that there was a pub crawl in the Kyungsung University district we hmm-ed and hawed and decided that despite the long cab ride home (long as in KRW 30,000 which is less than a ride home to downtown from Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto so...) we would go. I actually met a girl from UBC Music (she's a pianist so I'm hoping that we can pick up some sheet music and rock - er...Opera out together!) as well as some other EPIK (a public school English Program) expats that live up around Hwamyeong. Hwamyeong is not the most convenient spot in Busan, but my apartment in large and clean and the area has everything I could need so I'm pretty happy!
The first bar we went to was called Eva's Ticket. I was really happy to have a fellow Canadian with us who has been in Busan for a few months now and could show us around. The pub crawl was organized by a guy from Ottawa who seems to organize a lot of events for expats (not just parties - trips to local festivals, etc. as well). Canadian and American jerseys and flags were tacked to the ceiling. These were the first of many to come over the 5 bars to which we traveled.
We got our passes stamped and since we were a little fashionably Kate to the party we decided to mosey on to the next bar where an expat Rugby team had already started drinking pretty heavily. This is where we actually got to sit down and have some decent conversations. Ultimately we didn't stay super long because there were another 3 bars to hit up on our journey.
The next bar ("Drunken Master") was playing Jackie Chan movies, had darts DIRECTLY in the middle of the establishment, and was incredibly slammed. They had some drinking games that we didn't actually stick around for, and they handed out some sweet chili nachos for which I would most definitely go back! The staff were busy, but still managed to provide great quality guest service in a mess of drunken expats. It was best to observe seeing as we had a bit of a trek back to Hwammy and still 2 bars to go.
Blue Monkey was where things got a even more interesting. We were pacing our drinks seeing as we had had a pretty long day thus far (and because we no longer have the excuse of being barely 19), but I don't think that the rest of the group got the memo. There were stripper poles EVERYWHERE and people (fully clothed, of course) were having a very, very good time whirling themselves around the poles and nearly flinging themselves onto the dancefloor. It was great entertainment, and I was really glad we snagged a table so we could rest our feet and watch the show(s).
Last, but not least, was Eva's (just Eva's this time!) which was the last stop. We handed in our passport stamp cards and waited for a draw. I managed to win some beers next time we're in the KSU area and at Eva's (woohoo!) and found out that a girl in our pub crawl trip from Hwamyeong is actually a sister (Kappa Alpha Theta from a chapter in California). Greek life works in mysterious ways, doesn't it?
All in all this was a wicked night and I'm so glad to have met these amazing people. A couple of them are leaving soon, but others are just starting their Korea adventure and I can't wait to learn more about them while discovering this country that is so rich in history and culture.