WW iv: Busan, Beer, Beach, Birthdays


I always get excited when there’s a reason to celebrate.  To me, a special occasion is a festival, a new pair of shoes, real cheese at the grocery store, good wine on sale, quality mushrooms, and good people.  Save a new pair of shoes, I’ve been celebrating a lot lately.  Some fantastic people have had good news, great opportunities, gigs, and my personal favourite: birthdays.

This past weekend, the Hwamyeong Weekend Warriors had another amazing and busy weekend.  Friday I was supposed to go to a beer festival but some of my EPIK friends decided against it and Centum City is just too far to venture out alone.  I got an amazing pizza (Rio Carnivale from Pizza Maru).  This pizza is made on green tea crust and has tomato sauce, steak, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and is topped with two kinds of sauce.  It’s also got a stuffed crust.  No, I didn’t gain a gazillion pounds this weekend (actually, I lost!) but I did indulge a bit (sharing is caring, amigos).  After a bit of a catch up, the other 2 musketeers and I put our heads together and skyped my parents back in Canada.  My Mom’s facial expressions wow-ed the crowd and my Dad cracked a bunch of jokes about my getting sea-sick.  To those of you offended when someone says: “you’re acting like your mother” I’m so sorry.  My parents are awesome and I’m glad they got to meet a couple of the most important people on my Korea journey.

 The next day I woke up late and it was a scorcher.  We were concerned as there was still a typhoon warning in effect.  Waking up Saturday morning was more uncomfortable than I’ve been in a while.  Summer heat in Korea is hotter than hell.  Regardless, I got a workout in without AC, then headed down to Gwangalli to meet up with some gal pals.  We had a vegan lunch at “Jack and the Beanstalk”.  Get off at Geumnyeonsan station exit 5 (I think) and head straight a couple of blocks, turn left, walk a couple of blocks and you’re there.  The food takes an eternity, but it’s pretty good if you’re looking for lots of veggies at a reasonable price.  We shared a salad and a veggie burger but the real winner was the vegan bulgogi bibimbap with tons of tasty mushrooms and cabbage (GET THAT if you go.  It was soooooo goooood).  After that we rolled down to the beach, put on TONS of sunscreen and rocked out to good beach vibes and great tunes c/o S.

We really only had a couple of hours at the beach before we were slated to meet up at Sushi Berry.  This is one of my favourite places in Busan.  A tiny restaurant that actually serves up North-American style rolls with amazing service?  I’m all over it.  The chef is so kind – he chats with us like we’ve been friends forever (I’ve only been twice now) and he made an amazing vegetarian roll for our friend.  One note – if you’re not into onions make sure to ask for your roll without ’em.  A couple of the bigger rolls come covered.

After a phenomenal dinner we hailed a cab and ventured over to Centum City Week’s Beer Festival (sponsored by Hite so the only beers were Hite and Max).  For $10 we were given a golden chalice and the opportunity to down as much beer as we could before 10 PM.  Seeing as it was already past 7PM and the line would.not.budge we had our concerns.  The performances seemed cool from the outside but nobody knew why we weren’t moving.  Turns out there was no seating left.  A gentleman in a formal suit wandered through the crowd (after about a 40 minute wait) to deliver this news.  At this point I was pretty irritated and blurted out: “I don’t care.  We can stand!” and so we did.  They gave all of us wristbands and let us in.  I drank my first beer in the time it took them to pour my friend’s beers (sorry, Mom!), and with appropriate libations we were on our way to check out the tents.  There was tons of local food and even some international food from Centum City Mall’s food court.  We danced to the K-Pop music, bumped into other expats, and played some games they had set up.  It was pretty tame.  Eventually we found seating and just relaxed and chatted.  A festival? Not quite.  A good night?  Definitely.

Sunday was all about the beach (again).  L chose the same restaurant at which I’ll be celebrating my birthday for her celebratory brunch (La Bella Citta).  I will never decline an invitation to that wonderful place.  We had phenomenal cocktails with our delicious brunch (I had a mushroom risotto with salad, a soft-boiled egg, a burger patty, and a few roasted potatoes) sitting at a table by the window peek-a-viewing the beautiful Gwangan scenery and diamond bridge.  After our decadent brunch (ps. thanks O! – you are TOO KIND!!!) we peeked into the garden and a man grabbed my galaxy for a super random photoshoot.

Later, I think I spent 3 hours in the water watching a dance competition and swimming to the lifeguard limits.  We lucked out and got to watch The Dudettes perform live in a lovely (because it was both awesome and early) 7 PM set at Sharky’s Bar Gwangan.  It’s not my favourite location because the food and drinks are overpriced even for the area and the food tends to be a little disappointing.  That said, we had a front row table to enjoy good company and great music.

It was an early night (*phew*) and I even got to skype the famjam before bed.  Also, my tan is on point.  If you’re tired of buying sunscreen only to find it’s got whitening agents in it make sure to check out Etude House – I’m not the most tan I’ve ever been but between their sunscreen, exfoliating scrub, and aloe my skin looks really great.

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