Saturday, 2 November 2013

Busan Fireworks Festival

Last Saturday marked my one year anniversary of arriving in Korea. It's been a long, exhausting year, but I feel tremendously lucky for all that this incredible country has given me over the last 12 months: unforgettable experiences in countless places I never previously knew existed; tons of cool new friends and acquaintances; adorable children who I've come to love but must say goodbye to; a profound love for kimchi, soju, Korean barbecue, and those little vitamin drinks they sell in 7-11; an incalculable appreciation for how easy I had it in the British education system growing up; and of course, last but by no means least, an amazing girlfriend who's been with me for most of the ride and made it that much more incredible an experience. On Saturday, I celebrated my year's anniversary at Busan Fireworks Festival with Angela and some friends, immensely grateful for my time in Korea so far, and hopeful for my remaining four months here:

When we arrived at Busan's main station we had a quick look at the nearby Chinatown.
As times it felt more like Slavic Town, since there were a ton of shops with cyrillic script.
There were also some Russian sailors walking around.

As we went further down the main street, however, the Chinese influences became more evident.

We later took the metro to Haeundae on the other side of the city, where our hostel was located. After settling in there we headed to Haeundae Beach, possibly the most famous stretch of beach in Korea.

While we chilled out at the beach a crowd gathered around this magician. Strangely enough we'd already seen this guy perform before in Gwangmyeong, my local district of Seoul. Turned out he lived in the same area as me, and he came here to Busan at the same time as we did. Not only that, I was chosen to be magician's assistant!
Popping coins into his bucket from various parts of my body.
The floating table trick.

After leaving the beach we headed down a traditional market.
Near a bus station we found The Little Prince, a character we've encountered numerous times in Korea.
After having a few beers back at our hostel we headed to Gwangalli for the Fireworks Festival. The streets were closed to cars and instead filled with thousands of pedestrians heading to the beach.
Catching some early fireworks on our way to Gwangalli Beach.
The beachfront was extremely crowded and it was hard to find a good spot to view the fireworks. Angela and I ended up shuffling around various tight spaces. At one point we followed a bunch of Koreans onto a prohibited platform of trees but were forced off by security guards.
The fireworks begin over Gwangalli Bridge.

The light of people's cell phones and cameras was almost as bright as the fireworks!

During the finale the fireworks seemed to fill the entire length of sky along the seafront.
After about an hour the fireworks finished and the crowds began to disperse.

We drank beers on the beach for a while.

Some people let off their own fireworks, which looked a little pitiful after the display we'd just seen.
After a meal we headed to Kyungsung University area to celebrate Halloween. Some of us forgot costumes, but fortunately Matt and Kimmi brought a lot of fake blood to help us improvise.

Near one club there were a ton of westerners dressed up for Halloween.

The next day we relaxed before heading to the station for our train ride home.

A bridge we saw from the train station.
Gwangmyeong KTX Station.
A montage Angela made of the fireworks festival.

If you're planning to visit the Fireworks Festival in Busan, I really recommend getting to the beach very early, as it was difficult for us to find a decent view of the entire bay. Also, we got pretty frustrated with the pushy ajummas ploughing their way past us and stealing our spots. It was an impressive display for what it was, but I think if we went again we'd try to view it from the mountains overlooking the city instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment