Once I got to the subway I texted my EPIK (Public School Teachers) gals and was told we were meeting at 8 PM. It was 7:40 by the time the train started moving and I had 3 transfers to make to get from Hwamyeong to Pusan National University – an area with a plethora of amazing restaurants, bars, shops, and a street dedicated to chicken and beer. Pretty much as close to heaven on earth as I’ll get this week! I raced through the Busan HuMetro system as fast as my flats could carry me. Transferring at Dongnae is a nightmare – don’t do it if you can find an alternative. By the time I reached PNU I was a sweat monster and needed to change. Subway shopping culture is pretty fabulous in Korea, but instead of buying something I could wear to work I ended up getting a $10 t-shirt with the Coca-Cola logo emblazoned in red and white sequins. I’ll take it as a win. I’ll probably figure out a way to wear it to work. The kids will love it. Of course they will – it’s ridiculous.
A short walk up the side street directly out of the station followed by a couple of short turns off the main drag led us to Chicken Street. I had heard tell of this magical place once or twice (and had actually visited it once on a night when we had been to The Basement), but wasn’t exactly sure where we were going. Turns out it’s a great little street full of bars, pubs, noraebangs, bbq and chicken places. We were on the hunt for Chimec175.
The decor is kitchy and cute and reminded me of some Canadian hole in the wall spots like El Furniture Warehouse and The Factory in Vancouver. Those were great spots with cheap food and good times. Chimec175 was no exception, and we asked for two orders of chicken along with our 3+1 beer deal on a citrus-y Heffeweizen the size of my torso.
A and S were biding their time taking a gazillion selfies, and F and I cracked a bunch of jokes. We were all probably “those waygooks” – super loud obnoxious foreigners having the time of their lives. Nobody really seemed to mind – in fact we seemed to have some fans at the table next to ours.
This was one of two platters delivered!
With two orders of chicken you actually get 4 flavours. I’m usually the kind of person who likes really saucy food, but the crispy herb fried chicken was my absolute favourite. We were given salad and really incredible kettle chips and 3 types of sauces (ranch-style, honey-mustard, and a sweet spicy sauce) for dipping. We all had different favourites which worked out well for the crew!
Being in PNU, it’s easy to find pretty much whatever you want to do next. We walked less than a block and found a snazzy noraebang spot that offered a private room for $15/ hour. We ended up staying for 2 hours at no extra cost (how? I don’t know…) and rocked out to ABBA, Nelly, Eminem, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Jessie J, the Black Eyed Peas, Miss and of course, Aladdin. We also made our best efforts to sing A-Pink’s “Mr. Chu” (I think S stole the show there with her awesome Korean singing skills!), Miss A, EXID’s “Up and Down” (where we actually scored above 80 with me trying to sing in Korean…right?!), and of course my personal request: Red Velvet’s “Ice Cream Cake”. This is a song by a girl band sponsored by Baskin Robbins. I’m just waiting until they release a Red Velvet flavour of ice cream – then my mukbang game will be unstoppable.
After two hours in a dry Noraebang (no alcohol – just apple juice!) we headed over to Thursday Party. We expected it to be a little busier considering today is a holiday (today is Friday and it’s Korean Independence Day) but we nearly had the place to ourselves. After a game of beer pong (S and I won, but it was a close game for sure!) we headed over to The Basement to play darts. It was getting late and I was on the tired train so I hopped in a cab and $12.36 later I was home and in bed.
G and I had planned to meet up around 11 AM to check out the newest, freshest, not yet built gym in Hwamyeong.
Velocity Fitness Busan is a chain of 3 existing locations in Seomyeon, Gwangalli, and Dongnae. The new building kiddie-corner to the officetel in which I work has a florist, a coffee shop, a cell-phone store, a Paris Baguette, and will soon be home to my new gym. Yes, I am straying from Eco-Gym for a fancier, younger model (take that, men!).
I’ve paid a small deposit and once the gym is open in October I’ll pay the rest upfront. At my current gym the package is $400 for the year paid every 3 months. Velocity Fitness will be $520 for the year paid upfront, which is a pretty significant discount from their regular prices. Rather than just having treadmills, stationary bikes, and free weights I’ll have access to all that as well as additional Zumba, Body Pump, and other Group Exercise classes too. I opted for the cheapest package and G went for the upgrade with unlimited Yoga. I haven’t taken a yoga class in Korea just yet, but considering it’s not hot yoga I think I made the right decision. We’ll also get uniforms and lockers as a value-added service. Not too shabby for $43.33/ month!
After signing the contracts we headed over to the snazzy new Paris Baguette next door. We already have a Paris Baguette (and a Twosome Place, and Cafe Pascucci, and Starbucks, and To the Different, and the Venti…) but this one is right on the main drag super close to work. They have salads with chicken, bacon, tomatoes, and hard boiled egg – something for which I have been desperately searching! Salads are so inconvenient in Busan – you either have to make them yourself (not the kind of grab and go convenience for which I’m often searching) or spend an arm and a leg (Agit, I love you but $10 for your wonderful ricotta and tomato salad just can’t happen every day). All the calories are listed with the price, so I can feel confident in keeping my macros in check.
Other than that, today has been pretty relaxing! Slept in, watched Masterchef and Suits, and am planning on a quiet night in seeing as the Weekend Warriors will surely be up to no good tomorrow. Beyond Seomyeon and a baseball game you’ll just have to wait and see what kind of trouble we get into…
Update: Velocity was a bust. I ended up joining WINS Fitness instead as they were already open and Velocity kept pushing back their opening day. I’ve managed to drop quite a bit of weight (still some lbs to go, though!). For breakfast, I mix Cellucor protein powder (120 calories and 25g of protein!) with water in a shaker bottle (all available at iHerb – click here for 10% off your first order!). I have a 99 calorie granola bar as a snack, go through 3 – 4 L of water every day, have a turkey sub for lunch loaded with veggies and only the tiniest bit of mayo or mustard, and for dinner I usually make some combination of a protein (one of chicken, ground beef, eggs, bacon, or cheese), squash, peppers, and salad. On the weekends I allow myself to go out with friends and enjoy a nice meal. Once you shift your perspective from short term restriction to a long-term habit of fueling your body, making healthy choices is a lot easier!