Box, Beach, Beer – Busan Baby!!!

18 Apr

Why oh why is the weekend only two days long?  When I become president I will call for a three day weekend!  Anyway, that is besides the point!  Yesterday Nicola and I had an “Amazing Race” to Busan.  My parents got a good deal on sending me a box with more of my clothes to Korea.  As I am currently a big guy living in a small man’s world finding clothing and shoes that fit is close to impossible.  Because my parents used a private company and not one of the big ones such as DHL or Fedex they could only get my box as far as Busan.  So I had to collect the package at Gimhae International Airport in Busan.  The package arrived on Friday.  As I was between apartments I used my schools address.  When the package arrived at Incheon International Airport they notified the school.  On Friday, Gimhae International Airport phoned my school no less than 7 times.  The first phone call was to notify them that my package has arrived and that I can come and collect it on Saturday.  Great.  But then the following 6 calls were to inform me that I will not be able to come and collect my package because no one at International  cargo spoke English and they will not be able to help me.  So they concluded that I will have to wait until next week to collect the package and pay 100 000 won.  That was absurd.  This was because they charged me a storage fee and then the delivery fee to Daegu.  I was not happy!  My co-teacher told me that is was better to do it this way as customs will not search my box if it is delivered to Daegu.  I don’t mind if customs searched my box because there’s nothing illegal in it – or so I thought!  Also they wanted me to fill out a commercial goods invoice, now what I could gather from my co-teacher is that they want me to pay duties on the goods in my package.  This was absolutely crazy as all the goods in the box were used personal effects.  Jeepers.  So I skyped my parents and they then phoned my recruiter who is actually married to a Korean.  1,2,3 and she sorted everything out.  She actually phoned Gimhae Airport to clarify things.  She then phoned me to tell me that I will be able to get my box on Saturday but I have to be at the Airport before 10 AM.  When I later spoke to my mother about the package and informed her of all the drama she started to get worried.  Why?  Because after they completed the inventory she added a few surprises, like pain killers, diced biltong (biiiiig no-no) and sweets.  Oh dear!  I saw that I was going to be arrested.  Anyhow, that didn’t stop me, so Nicola and I went to Busan.

We woke up at 6 AM yesterday, took a cab to Seobu bus terminal and arrived at 6:55 am. 5 Minutes before the bus departed to Busan. There was a direct bus to Gimhae but it was full.  It took us an hour and 45 minutes to get to Busan.  Once there we took a cab to the Airport.  My co-teacher was right, almost no English at the cargo terminal.  The waybill and package number I had could not be allocated as my package was sent with Air France.  And seeing that Air France only flies to Incheon and not Busan they said that my package was at Incheon.  It took about two hours to finally find my box and cost about 20 000 won handling fee.  Thats all.  As I went to collect my box under the fierce glare of the customs officials my heart raced!  I going to jail, I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail!  That’s all that went through my head!  I got my box and walked straight out of customs!  Just like that!  phew!  What a crazy morning.  As we left the cargo terminal we found out that there is a city bus that leaves from the airport into the city.  We took bus 102 to the nearest subway!  Then we missioned (with the box) to a Paris Baguette to transfer all the goods from the box to the two bags we brought with.

My box that almost landed me in Jail – Okay a little melodramatic I know!

After we transfered the goods!  I just left the box at the bus stop in the background!

After a light snack at Paris Baguette we took the subway to Heaundae beach!  I was in serious need of some beach fun!  We arrived at the beached and located a locker at the aquarium where we could store our bags.  For only 2000 won!  We headed to Burger King, overlooking the ocean, for some lunch!  The rest of the day we walked about the beach.  Got sand in between our toes.  We tempted the freezing water and soaked everything in!  It was great!  I often found myself gazing off into the distance and thinking I was back in Cape Town!  I am a beach person!  And it sucks that I cannot live by the beach!  Busan is calling me!  We had a nice beer at this Irish pub called O’Kims.  It was truly a great day.  We walked all the way to the little lighthouse and then this magical bridge stared at us.  It felt like we were in San Francisco.  We took a gazillion pictures enjoyed every second of it.

As the day drew to an end we headed back so Sasan subway from where we are supposed to catch the bus back to Daegu.  When we got there at 6.30 pm we saw that the last bus left at 6!  yikes! As we didn’t want to take the KTX we found out that a regular train still runs to Daegu.  So we headed up to the railway station and caught the train at 7.  We got back to daegu in an hour and a half!

What a wonderful day!  Busan, I’ll be back!

Coming soon – my take on some cultural nuances from this cuh-razy place!

Cheers from Kimchiland!

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