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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Haeundae Beach/Park (or last weekend in a nutshell)

Finally, I will tell you about last weekend. Though I have so many pictures, most will need to go on facebook.

Last weekend we went down to Haeundae Beach and Park, which is the # 1 tourist spot in Busan. We parked at the Chosin Westin (the hotel Shannon stayed at for the first couple of days he was here), which is close to the beach and easy to find. Then we walked down to the park area.

If you can see, there are three characters carved on this rock, which is on a cliff overlooking the ocean at Haeundae.
To quote the information sign from nearby: "The inscribed charcters are said to have been written and inscribed by Choi Chi-won, who was a great poet and scholar of the late Silla period. According to a tradition, when he was going to go to Gayasan mountain to escape from adverse political circumstances, he was struck by the beautiful scene made by the sea, clouds, moon and hills here and thus inscribed three letters Hae(sea), Un(cloud), and Dea(hill) on this rock. It is uncertain that these characters were personally inscribed by him. However, it is obvious that the inscribed characters had existed already in the early fourteenth century. Today, the middle character, Un, is severely worn down, eroded by wind, rain, and waves."

Very poetic! I'm sure this guy had servants carve the letters, but it's much more picturesque thinking of him so enraptured sitting down and carving them himself.

Next we went to the APEC building, which was built for some sort of world conference. I didn't get what the conference was for, but the US attended, we had our own pillar. 
Very pretty.

Next we hiked up the hill to get to the statue of this guy:
There has got to be a culture gap here, I don't understand why there's a statue of him. Here's what the placard says: "A Profile of the late Go-Woon Choi Chi-won. He was born on the Nam-Churn river in Kyungju in the first year of King Hurn-An of the Silla Dynasty in the year of 857AD. At the age of 12, he went to study to the land of Dong (Hahahaha, Dong, sorry), a name of old China. At the age of 18, he passed the state examinations and then became an official of 'Yool-Soo-Hyun-Wee', a Dang-government post. At the age of 25, by issuing a great manifesto, he suppressed a rebellion aroused by Hwang-So,a traitorous subject and became widely known in the fields of Chinese literature, which resulted in his being granted a government post named 'Si-Ur-Sa' and 'Ja-Kum-Ur-Dai' and his having the greatest glory and the highest spirit that any foreign student had ever had. At the age of 28, he returned to his country and became an official of 'Si-Dok'.
This caused others to become jealous of him (riiiiiigghht). As a result, he degraded to work as a government official of 'Tae-Soo' of such distritets(I think they mean districts) as Tae-in, Sur-San, Ham-Yang etc, leaving a great essays and poems behind him. Though he gained a government post of 'A-Chan' by appealing to the King the urgency of clean politics he continued to make upright the fast of his declining country for nothing. Finally he gave up his post. At the age of 40, he began to wonder all over the country, taking his family with him at last into Mt Ga-Ya, located at Hap-Churn, to cultivate his moral sense. After that, nobody knows where he went leaving only his 'Got', an old Korean hat, and his shoes behind him in the woods.
At the time of the Korea Dynasty, they had great respect for him as the Father of 'He-Dong-Yu-Hak' Korean Confucianism, and the king himself granted him a pstumous(that's not a typo, that's how it was written on the sign) title of 'Mun-Chang-Hu' appraising his highest morality and achievements of literature."

Ok, so what I got from that was this guy, who went to school in China and stopped a rebellion with his literature (what what?) came back to Korea but no one liked him because he was a prig so he went wandering dragging his family behind him (probably because they were now poor). One day he decided to commit suicide all mysterious like. After he was dead he was named the father of Korean Confucianism?? When did he do that? I know I'm missing a lot in the translation here. I've got to be...

Next we went to the beach.
Notice the guys in business suits hanging out at the beach watching the kites. This was Sunday, what were they doing down at the beach on Sunday in business suits? 

Pretty though huh? I've seen pictures of this beach in summer, covered in people and giant umbrellas. There was a group out wind surfing and professional kite teams.

Near here are lots of american places to eat, Bennigan's, TGIFridays, a bar called The Guinness. There's also lots of cafes and coffee shops. It's very expensive to eat down here, similar to any other commercialized tourist attraction. :)

Happy day at the beach!

We went to the aquarium as well, I've got lots of pictures for that so I'll just post those on facebook. It was a nice aquarium. The big cool thing about it was they had a "main tank" that was huge. You could take a glass bottom boat ride on it and there were multiple tubes that went through the same tank. The tank had some vicious looking sharks, schools of fish that didn't have to swim in circles. Just awesome. Unfortunately, there was no good way to take a picture of that. :)

This upcoming weekend, we'll either be going hiking to some temples or drive north up to Ulsan to see what's there!

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