Sunday, May 05, 2013

Brilliant Busan!

After Japan, we had to go straight onto South Korea! Can you imagine? Two ports in two days? Oh well, the things you have to do! Poor Panda Girl and I were still suffering from this infernal cold/flu thing and were still using copious amounts of tissues, despite attempting to take copious amounts of cold/flu medications.

Busan (formerly Pusan) is a seaside (surprise!) city - in fact, the second-largest city in South Korea after Seoul. It's a fishing village - much like my home town, except on steroids! We managed to use the ATM successfully, once we found the "English" button (and now, at home, I noticed they have Chinese and Japanese buttons on our machines here - huh, who knew?) and got out our fourth currency for the trip ($1 AUD = 1132 Korean Won).

It is at this point that vegans (hi Helena!) and very squeamish people may want to look away. It's a fishing town/city - they fish. And they sell that fish at markets - sometimes alive and sometimes dead (cut up, cooked etc). It's not as bad as squatty potties, but you have been warned.

Fishing nets, gum boots and floats for sale

So, we wanted to check out what are supposedly the largest fish-markets in Asia! We walked down from the shuttle bus stop and came across...truckloads of shallots/spring onions.

Yanno, just in case you run out!
But we soon found what we were looking for!

They also had a lot of live fish, which were fed fresh water from hoses:

Don't ask me in the comments what those red thingies are - I have NO idea...

Eels, anyone?

Or perhaps some seaweed? It's good for you!

And they have lots of different types

But it turns out, they were not the actual, famous fish markets. What we were really looking for were the Jagalchi Fish Markets!

The downstairs level is the fresh/live seafood section, which had a fascinating array of things to buy:


Octopus anyone?

That's enough of that, thanks!

Escapee abalone

OK then, what about a live, baby shark?

Its skin is like sandpaper.
Hey look, Deb!!! Geoducks!!!!
If you are thinking intestines, you would not be alone. They moved in much the same way!

Super-fresh sashimi
Video Boy really wasn't enjoying the fish markets much!

In Korea, a married woman is called an ajuma, but they really refer to the over-50s woman. The fish markets were full of ajumas...just when you think your job sucks, just imagine for a moment having to gut fish all day, every day! But they were so happy and peaceful, almost zen-like...

 Of course the guys were all out the back smoking...

We went to the upstairs levels where they have many fresh seafood restaurants. The locals love them (always a good sign) and we were a novelty, being the only westerners there:

Time to decipher yet another menu. We went with the sashimi plate (medium) and on the waitresses (point at the pic) recommendation, BBQ sea bream.

More tissues!

This is what came out first. It was all cold. What were we supposed to do with cold pumpkin and taro? And seaweed? And snails? Maybe there was a soup coming to put it in (like we saw the people at the next table doing). But we didn't order soup. All a bit strange!

We felt a little brave ordering sashimi. We generally like it at home and we figured it would be pretty fresh, but uncooked meat is always a risk! 24 hours later and all was OK :-)

Maybe we should have gone with the small one though...

One of my favourite meals, of all trip, was the bream. It seemed as if it had been deep fried and had some kind of salty, spicy crust on it. It was easily the nicest fish I've eaten in FOREVER!

Video Boy wasn't as enthusiastic and we promised him some Maccas or KFC later so he didn't go hungry!

We sat at the low, traditional tables. Yes, I did get pins and needles!

The aftermath!

Upstairs also has the dried fish section:

We decided to walk off that massive fish meal with stroll around Busan's bustling shopping malls. It is funny how each city is different, selling different things. Busan has huge underground malls filled with "outdoor" clothing - lots and lots of rain jackets! And above ground, lots of shoes. We looked and looked, but bought nothing!

If you occasionally look up, you can see the old being covered over by the new

Cute shoes!

And there was, of course, the ubiquitous street food:
Taro chippies (I bought a packet of these because I love sweet potato, but they were "meh")

And fresh corn and...
Silk worm cocoons! Um, no thanks, I ate already...

Video Boy's lunch!

I have to say, their OH&S leaves a little to be desired!

But apparently someone knows what all the wires do!

There was another Disneyland long queue to get back on the shuttle bus to the ship. It was one of the low-lights - always queuing. I'm sure Princess Cruises has done this before a time or two, and they are aware there were 2600 people on board, so I'm not real sure why they don't get their logistics a bit better organised. Anyway, some enterprising young girl set up her stall in front of the queue, but  again I think customs in Australia may have had something to say about these:

 Back in plenty of time (phew). It was a lovely afternoon, and the South Koreans put on quite a show of power for us (or was it for their northerly neighbours??):

I have to mention that travelling while you are sick sucks. It's not the same when you feel like crap and every 2 seconds your daughter is asking you for another tissue. Anyway, we had another sea day ahead of us to try and recuperate a bit more, before the next leg of our adventure.


  1. What are those red thingies, Ing?


  2. Man you guys rock!! I mean really, I think it is so neat what you guys got to experience as a family (still catching up a bit). I am sorry you were sick though, but what great pics.

    Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    1. You know us bloggers never knock back a comment, no matter how late (except those spammers, they are just annoying)!

      So glad you are enjoying our adventures - I am slowly getting there putting the posts together! You know, it was funny, when we came back, everyone was asking "did you have a fantastic time?" and I was "ummm". But you know, you can't go away for a month and have "fantastic" all the time.

      But looking back, particularly at these posts, we did have a great family experience which we will no doubt look back in our twilight years and smile at!

  3. You had your moments before you even left!

    I gotta say, I LOVE that photo of VB cringing at the fish markets, and your expression is priceless!

    Other observations:
    Puppies (I want one!)
    Food looks awesome. Best part of the trip.

    1. It wasn't the best trip healthwise for me!

      I love that someone captured his expression - the joys of holidaying with teens!

      We went through THAT MANY tissues that day (and the ones before and after it). Panda Girl wanted a puppy too

      Food was awesome and was totally the best part of the trip :-)

  4. Geoducks! Fantastic! The fish market looked very interesting! So neat to see what the sea gives us. My kids want to see an octopus VERY BADLY.

  5. Many thanks for sharing! I chanced upon your very interesting blog as I was looking for Busan transportation info. Looks like you and your family had a great adventure despite your cold!

    I shall be on Sun Princess visiting Busan on 11/6; me and my party are looking forward to a seafood lunch at Jagalchi Fish Market. Good to know Princess may have free shuttle transfer between terminal and city.



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