Travel Diary: A Week in Busan- Hop On Hop Off Busan City Tour
Day Two of my Busan Vacation, I did the Hop On Hop Off Double Decker Tour. When I visit a new city and I want to get a speedy birds-eye view I like to book these tours because it takes me all over the city. If I see something I like then I can get off and do my thing. Considering that I am an Aggressive Planner but a Passive Doer, this is great! If I had to plan a walking tour of an entire city, I might make it 10 minutes away from my hotel before I turned back. I've done the one in Seoul and it was well worth it. The one here in Busan happened to be across the street by the station. Talk about location!
I actually had a good night's sleep. With my new-found knowledge of turning on the air conditioner to block out the Hair Review Band downstairs, I was able to sleep soundly. I had not seen any obvious prostitution and no one had tried to hire me so my initial fears of the area were soothed. It was warmer than I anticipated so I was even able to stuff my coat into my backpack and set my camera for quick shooting. I like to sit on the top in the open air so that I can shoot street signs up close.
As I am waiting for the bus to pull off, I typically ignore the people around me, unless I think they have the potential to end up in one of my shots. A group of 4 older gents boarded and were taking their "Look I'm in a double-decker bus!" pictures. I would usually offer to take it for them but I was wearing a hat, hood, tinted glasses, and a mask, I wasn't worried about pictures of me making it into some nefarious places.
Not all tourists are as to themselves as I am. One of the gents, asked where I was from. "Are you from America?" He asked in a heavy Scottish accent. I nodded my head and whispered, yes. I wasn't surprised when he went on to tell me about how he had been to New Jersey one time but had never been to Chicago. I put my headphones on, mainly to keep my ears from getting cold and to look unapproachable and busied myself with double checking my itinerary.
We pulled off and I was on "Power Shooting Mode". I don't know what it is about having to shoot very quickly that makes me feel like a serious professional. I feel like a hawk sitting atop a double-decker bus, glancing about quickly to find something worthy of taking pictures of. I particularly like bridges; not just to take pictures of but also as a metaphor. The thought of having something that will take you into the unknown or take you over a rough patch is just fascinating to me. This bus crossed 3!
As I saw a bridge coming up I strapped myself onto the seat, securing my bag and making sure that Annie was strapped to me twice, I had this thought: I would be perfectly happy being an Instagram Wife. To be with some hot guy who had to have a well updated Insta profile complete with pictures that I had taken. I didn't have to be in the pictures, and he could just make sure that I didn't go flying off the bus.
Wanted: Instagram Husband
Pretty, shy F photographer, lSO adventurous, photogenic M to travel with. Must be willing to ensure that I do not fall off of things and sometimes carry my camera bag. Multi-lingual a plus! Be warned, if you support my lens buying habit, I may fall in love with you.
This was also probably a residual of being with Hayden the day before. He had figured out my style by the end of the day and started pointing out things that I would probably like to take pictures of. If I had a strapping gent with me, he could ensure that I wouldn't fall while whipping around on a moving vehicle trying to get the perfect shot of the bridge we are driving across. Or when I am leaning far over a railing for a different angle, he could make sure I don't fall, probably into a river. Also, although I am perfectly content with doing Landscape Travel Photography I do miss capturing aware humans sometimes. But for now, I will travel alone, and carry a selfie stick.
We stopped at a light and the Scottish gents, whom I had gathered were either in construction or shipping from their conversation and expertise on construction equipment and freighters, were planning what to have for lunch. One wanted to find a McDonalds, much to the bemusement of the rest of the 5 man crew. Their Korean guide suggested that they get off at Gwangali Beach where they would find an endless number of restaurants that they could check out. The gent who had talked to me earlier threw out the suggestion that they should "ask this nice young lady if she would like to have lunch with [us] somewhere." I ignored them and shuffled through the photos trashing ones that were moving too quickly to be captured correctly. There was, of course, the issue that I had planned to get off at the same stop and have lunch.
Instead, I got off a stop early and snapped some pictures at some miscellaneous pier.
When I thought I had given them enough time to walk around and find a place to eat, I headed over Gwangali Beach as well. Being someone that lived on the Lakefront, seeing a beach in the middle of the city was a little weird. Not that it is Downtown or the heart of the city, but this just seemed different than the Chicago Beaches. Maybe because our beaches are not so close to the street, unless you happen to have one of those secluded beaches near your apartment on the North Side like I used to.
When I say close to the street I mean on the street! I hopped off the bus, you walk down three stairs and you are in the sand! There are quite a few cafes and restaurants across the street. But while I am secure enough to travel alone, go to the movies alone, even dine alone, I was not about to endure this view by myself. Another reason to have an Instagram Husband; so that I can go to pretty restaurants and I get to photograph two different plates! I don't think that my Scottish Friends would have understood the purpose of my joining them would have been for photographic purposes only.
I decided to visit a cafe instead, and had a healthy lunch of Carrot Cake and coffee. Afterward, I took some photos of what I like to call the Black Panther Bridge. If you have seen Black Panther, you may remember that Tacha'la has a car chase scene that ends after crossing a bridge. This is the Gwangdan Bridge. I've heard that at night there is a light show and also the Busan Fireworks Festival is over the Gangwan Bridge.
I tried to go back at night but the night tour was canceled. I do want to go back to the Fireworks Festival. The jury is still out!
Next, Haeundae Cinema Street. This was not on my initial itinerary. There was a stop that had a really nice (and different) view of the Gangwan Bridge and I wanted to take a couple of photos there. But then I found all these cool statues and it wasn't a long walk to the next stop, which was on my itinerary. I believe that this street has been a shooting location for several dramas and movies. It is, however, a shrine to the movie-making process and a tourist trap. Apparently, late February is not the peak of the Busan tourist season.
I did make it to the next bus stop but unfortunately, my ankle was not pleased with me and I didn't make it into the observatory. My final stop with the Busan International Fil Festival Pavillion. I had read that there was an awesome market there, and great food, but I didn't see it. *Sad Penguin*
For dinner, I found a little restaurant that had Solantang on the menu. I had also read that Busan was known for its signature Solangtang and I wanted to partake. I found a little place near a taxi line, which I had also heard are the best places to find food. I went back to the hotel and rested for a bit, planning to do the night bridge tour, but as I mentioned the tour was canceled. Or maybe I don't know, I didn't see the bus. Probably for the best honestly; shooting moving low light images would have proved to be a pain and I had another day of walking the next day!
P.S. Send Captain Crunch and Grits!