NICK: Japan and Korea, the un-close neighbors
Trip Start Jan 25, 2006
105Trip End Feb 25, 2008
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We asked the Information desk for a map and a cheap good place. Bad idea. I won't do that ever again in Korea. The place we went to was walking distance from the ferry terminal, but it was obviously a love motel: cheap, but also a bit dirty. The bathroom looked like it hadn't really been cleaned, the room was pretty old, and the building was in a kinda bad area.
Ah well, win some, lose some.
We showered (it was a night ferry and we didn't take a shower) and took a nap. We then decided to go to one of the Korean temples in Pusan, Beomeosa
Beomeosa was only a ways outside of the city, but was still accessible by using one of the cities subways. I'm telling you right now, there is nothing that I hate more than something that is poorly designed, and the ticket dispensing machine for Korean subways are the MOST STUPIDEST, RIDICULOUSLY, AND IDIOTICALLY DESIGNED HUMAN INTERACTION SYSTEM ON THE FACE OF THIS BEAUTIFUL (globally warming) EARTH!!!!
Got that out. No, seriously. Even Koreans were having problems with them. Basically, the problems that I have with Korean subways comes down to this: Their money, the Korean Won is incredibly low valued. The exchange ratio for Won to dollars is near ~1000Won: 1 dollar.
Not bad, you say? Now make it so that the highest denomination bill that they make is a 10,000 Won bill.
That means that when you're traveling, your pockets have to be brimming with 10 dollar valued bills
How does this relate to the subway? Well, I guess this is more of my frustration with being tired, hungry, illiterate, and hot/sweaty that made me really irritated, but the subway machines primarily take coins. They occassionaly take bills, but if they do, they have 3 ticket machines connected with one panel that takes paper money. Ashleigh and I hadn't bought anything, so all we had were bills from the exchange office...
Basically, you have to choose the value ticket you want to buy, then run over to the bill machine before anyone else tries to buy a ticket, insert a bill, and hope that it takes it. I did this, seeing as how this must be the logical progression for purchasing subway tickets. In the meantime, people that were standing behind me back at the machine I'd started using were waiting impatiently, and the stupid bill didn't seem to want to be taken. With sweat dripping in my eyes, my stomach growling, I silently yelled at the stupid machine which, by the way, isn't sufficiently labeled to tell you that you can't put a 10,000 Won note into a machine that only takes 1,000 Won notes.
So, after pissing off the Koreans behind me, someone spoke to me in Korean and gestured that there was a small machine behind me that makes change
After some thinking and realization that money can be used to buy small-value items and have change returned, I found a chocolate bar in the newsstand next to the ticket machine that both Ashleigh and I enjoy, Crunky, and was elated to receive coins back.
Finally, revitalized by the coins in my hand, I returned to the machine, pushed what I thought was the appropriate button for purchasing 2 tickets for Ashleigh and I, and got one ticket back. I looked at the ticket thinking that this must allow entry for two people into the subway turnstile. I gave Ashleigh the ticket and tried to follow her thru the gate. No luck.
Apparently, there is no "2 person" button on these machines. I discovered this after about 10 minutes of waiting and trying to understand the station manager's broken English and fluent Korean that the ticket I purchased was a "2 way (round trip)" ticket
After repeating the change conversion problem that I had previously, I bought the same ticket as Ashleighs and we went to the Beomeosa station.
On our walk to the temple, we found cute little restaurant that served us something that I can't pronounce. Ashleigh had spent quite a bit of time studying the Korean characters and the pronunciation structure and was able to actually able to make sense out some of the lines and circles that make up Korean text. Everyone says it's not hard and really logical, but I didn't quite get what Ashleigh explained to me. Either way, the restaurant served us something that they recommended (which is always my question to a server if I don't know how to read the menu) which was a beef soup. It came with tons of little dishes called banchan.
I love Korean food.
We ate and caught a bus to Beomeosa
Beomeosa was beautiful. I really liked how they'd redone the buildings with the paint job and it's location in the middle of a valley. It's really amazing to see the difference between Japanese buddhist temples and Korean ones. Japanese ones have ornate woodwork and are single colored. Korean ones have complex woodwork and a rainbow of colors painted on the outside.
It's almost a bit gaudy.
Still, it's neat to see, especially considering palaces around the world are always amazing sites. I like to imagine ghosts running around the castles, churches and temples in the daily life of ancient times. Sometimes I creep myself out with the vividness of my imagination. I can imagine seeing children walking around or playing games, politicians, battles, etc.
The Beomeosa site was created in 678 AD or something like that, and has been destroyed and rebuilt over the past 1500 years. It was most recently rebuilt in the 1950's after the Korean war. I'm glad they did, it's an amazing temple.
We caught a train (using our round trip tickets) to the beach to look at a bridge that was supposed to be pretty cool, as well as to see what the locals did on their time off. It was pretty nice to be hanging out and enjoying the nightlife there.
Afterwards, we headed back to our dingy hotel, showered, and went to sleep.
What a long day.