Sunday, July 5, 2009

Busan: City of Tomorrow

So over the course of Friday and Saturday, a majority of the group took a roadtrip to Busan (a major port city and tourist attraction ala` Cleveland to Ulsan's Akron.) The first group partied and clubbed as mentioned in the previous blog, the second group left in the morning and took taxi, bus, subway, other subway - and mainly went shopping. Led by our fearless leader - So-Yeong (who was awesome, she really stressed herself out trying to keep track of 19 students running across a city she wasn't even from.) we went to a big shopping center.

Remarkable observation: I'd noticed in Korea that the "popular" name brands were kind of everywhere. Not like, American Eagle or Hollister, but Polo, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss, etc. While talking with Kyu-hun (who eventually met up with us while we were shopping) he implied you have to buy names in Korea - because non-name brands are probably badly made Chinese imports, that fall apart after you wash them once. Its interesting how that has impacted their culture, cause they're used to clothes being Ex-PENsive! Even for average people. I tried to explain how in America, you're popularity is somewhat affected by who you wear ie: Abercrombie/Fitch vs. non. Dunno if it got across, but I'm def going to have to take Kim to a mall in American when I get home.

Then we went to another mall - Shinsegae, the largest department store in the WORLD! Guiness approved. Didn't buy much there, but met up with some of the partiers from the previous night. Eventually when we were done shopping (didn't buy anything there) we split into "goign back to Ulsan" and "wanted to take a boat ride around the Harbor and see the city at night". I did the latter, led by Van De Kamp (Korean student) who btw confirmed he got his name from Desperate Housewives - lol. The boatride was really cool, and even tho we missed one of our busses back, we made the next one half an hour later and got home at like 1am.

Remarkable observations: The clothing thing noted above.
Korean's "4th of July" is August 15th, marking their independance from Japanese rule.

Remarkable facts: In 2007, 50% of all 5,000 won bills (about 5$) were counterfeit! Leading the government to massivly overhaul the design, which now features almost 2 dozen security features on the 1000, 5000 and 10,000.
On June 23, 2009 - the Government released the first 50,000 Won bill -- the first Korean currency to have a woman on it.

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