Monday, June 13, 2005

Korea 210505h: Bullet train to Seoul

I board the 4pm bullet train to Seoul. Called the KTX, it started operation just over a year ago. The latest pride of the Koreans, but the technology comes from France.

Fellow train buffs, go here for more information on KTX:

#1: Comfy interior of Korean bullet train. But unlike the Japanese bullet train, all the seats cannot be adjusted to face the direction of travel. And why are they still using the ugly CRT display?Posted by Hello

#2: Head-car of the Korean KTX bullet train. Thanks to French TGV technology. Notice the French sleekness? Posted by Hello

#3: Mountains, buildings, ricefields and quaint traditional villages, all along the way to Seoul. Posted by Hello

#4: How about that? My trusty GPS says 301 km/h - faster than the Japanese bullet train? On a stretch between Daejeon and Seoul. See the blurred ricefields whizzing by.Posted by Hello

Korea 210505g: Leaving Busan

Time to leave Busan and return to Seoul. I go back to my hotel, just next to Busan Train Station, pack my stuff, check out, do a quick squid burger lunch, and off I go to the station for my bullet train to Seoul.

Busan has made a good impression on me. With close to 4 million people, it is not as busy and chaotic as Seoul (with its 10 million souls). It has a superb and beautiful subway system - each station is uniquely designed, with interior decorations. The maritime ambience makes it more live-able and interesting, especially when the city is elongated due to the squeeze between the mountains and the sea. The beaches and coast are regarded as scenic and it has its share of historic temples and monuments. So if you have another place to visit outside Seoul, make it Gyeongju and Busan in one go!

#1: Busan Station, and my hotel is the reddish-brown block to the left. Posted by Hello

#2: Vendor in Busan Station Plaza. Selling roasted corns, nuts and maybe squids and octopuses too.Posted by Hello

#3: Futuristic glassy Busan Train Station. Terminal for the bullet train to Seoul. Posted by Hello

Korea 210505f: More Busan takes

#2: Older part of downtown Busan. Notice the church spire to the left. Churches seem to be everywhere in Korea - I spotted more churches than temples!Posted by Hello

#1: A major street in downtown Busan. Posted by Hello

#3: Looking down from the driveway of the Busan Ferry Teminal. Posted by Hello

#4: Getting ready for APEC 2005 next November. Posted by Hello

Korea 210505e: Busan takes

#1: Newer part of Busan. Posted by Hello

#3: Close-up of old Busan. Blue water tanks look cool. Posted by Hello

#2: Old part of Busan squeezed between mountains and sea. Posted by Hello

#4: Fishing fleet moored near Jagalchi Market. Very fresh fish sold! Posted by Hello

Korea 210505d: Squids and octopuses

The Koreans seem to love their squids and octopuses (octopi?), and anything in between. Stalls selling roasted squids and octopuses are all over the place. Make your selection and the vendor will roast it over charcoals (or press it between two flat electric heaters?), slice them up and serve them in nice packets. Just munch away, and just don't give a damn how your breath smells!

Well, I love them delicious roasted squids too. Go to hell with my cholesterol watch! :-)

#1 Posted by Hello

#2 Posted by Hello

#3 Posted by Hello

Korea 210505c: Still at Jagalchi

...and of course, at Jagalchi, I bump into familiar faces.

#1: I wonder how they cook these? Posted by Hello

#2: Pickled shellfish, anyone? Posted by Hello

Korea 210505b: Jagalchi fish market

On the way back from Euksul-do, I decide to do the famous Busan fish market at Jagalchi. Of course, it was worth all the efforts.

Live sea creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours, are on show for us, heartless carnivores. Just choose the ones you prefer and a guy will scoop them up, slice them and you have your sashimi in no time. You won't get them any fresher than this!

#1: The famous Jagalchi fish (and other sea critters) market, well just a minute strip of it. Posted by Hello

#2: What's this? An aquarium? Posted by Hello

#3: These slimy creatures are like huge worms, intertwining with each other and rolling around. I wonder how they taste. Posted by Hello

#4: Live critters straight from the sea. Posted by Hello