Busan Photoglut: The Fishening

Welcome to Busan

The prescient amongst you may have foreseen that my claims to have new words for you were folly, and that actually, instead, you would have to endure some more of my photos! I know, I know: I am a cruel and capricious writer, and you thirst for my words, and my continued holding back is like a metaphorical, ongoing cinnamon challenge of choking silence, but soon I will return to you with words. Like Friday.

I took my cousin Zack on a weekend trip to sunny seaside Busan, Korea’s answer to California, without any of the surfing, bros, or puku shell necklaces. Such beachtown obnoxiou-phernalia was replaced, instead, by enormous aquariums, open-air fish markets (which many guides to Korea proudly claim to be the “smelliest place on Earth!”), numerous encounters with tentacles, and enormous swaths of beautiful coast. Also lanterns, because I seem to only ever go to Busan on or before Buddha’s birthday. Anyway, behold: Busan!

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The Fishport Festival

Festival grounds

There are times when being heavily, heavily visible in a foreign country can suck. You’re a target for, well, everything. Stares and invective and anger and nationalistic tides of xenophobic distaste. At the same time, because you’re so visible, you’re also an easy target for pleasantness and the great weirdities of life. Being some of the only foreigners to attend the local Sorae Port Festival, we were stopped at different times in the day to: be interviewed for television and/or promotional subway materials, join a large group of middle-aged Koreans to share in their soju and fresh fish, do some handicrafts typically meant only for kids, receive free calligraphy scrolls, and be adopted by a man who claimed to be a local fishboss (I have decided this is a word). We were invited to do these things because we were weird lookin’ and the people around us felt in a sharing mood, and we stick out as being share-with-able. Being impossible to miss has its perks. Enjoy the glory of the Sorae Festival, in photoglut form.

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Busan Vacation: The Trauma Discount

Prepping the lines

This year, Buddha’s birthday and Children’s Day, two national Korean holidays, fell on either side of a weekend, and thus most schools threw everyone a bone and gave them one of the sandwich days in between off to stretch into a long weekend. Buffeted by the prospect of a 4-day weekend, I whined to everyone I knew that we should go to Busan, and at the first bite I received, my train and hostel were booked. Soon I was bound for the other side of the country.

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Busan Photoglut: The Life Aquatic

Haeundae Beach

So this last weekend was a long one in Korea: Children’s day fell on the Thursday, and Buddha’s Birthday fell on the Tuesday. Most schools threw everyone a bone and gave off one of the sandwich days (really nice schools gave both and bestowed a six day weekend), and thus I saw a stretch of vacation time and effed off to the opposing coast of Korea, to glorious Busan. Busan, land of actual beaches, and wildlife and stuff. Land of fog. Land of sewer-gas. The eagle-eyed amongst you may recognize a nautical theme amongst these photos: as a major port town and possessor of the enormous Jagalchi fish market, water-related photography opportunities were thick on the ground. Behold.

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