Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby Buddhas Inc.

Yesterday we decided to finally get zee butts in gear and see one of the many Buddhist temples in Pusan. From what I've read, almost half of Koreans claim no religious preference and the other half are Christian or Buddhist. The practice of these two faiths has been influenced after centuries of Korean Confucianism. We decided to hop the subway over to Beomesa Temple, which according to my Lonely Planet travel guide is "Busan's best sight." It was founded in AD 678 and all of the original structures have been rebuilt because Korea has a long history of being invaded and conquered by it's neighbors.

The subway ride itself was awesome --once we transfered to Line 1, the majority of the ride was on an outdoor track so we were able to peep a lot of the city while riding. It reminded me of certain lines in Paris where that would happen unexpectedly and was always a nice change from the monotony of a metro ride. We hailed a taxi to the temple entrance because it was a looooonnggg, hilly haul to the top of a mountain. I'm amazed at how cheap cab rides are here --that one was less than 3 bucks and you don't tip! Awesome.

The temple site consisted of many separate buildings situated near the top of a mountain. It was beautiful. Going from temple to temple, there were many people who were meditating/worshiping and I felt uncomfortable somewhat invading a private moment so closely --even though it is a major tourist site and they're probably used to ignoring visitors. It was so interesting to observe and see another religious practice. So calm, quiet, and peaceful. I felt lucky to witness something new and different.

After walking around the temples for quite awhile, we walked to a nearby creek area where people were laying around, dipping their feet in the water, and snacking. I'd do some monk-ing there --it was pretty dang picturesque.

Afterwards, we ate samgyeopsal, which is barbecued bacon-type pork that has a mean side spread. Note the photos. I'll have to do a lone food post because there's just too much to cover already. Other than the accidental chicken feet order, food has simply been amazing. And hey, one of my students that likes chicken feet swears it's good for your skin sooo...if I come home with the skin of a 2 year old, don't ask any questions and don't be jealous. Okay be jealous.

As fatty as it gets in Korea.
Czapstick mastery. 

Post-dinner, we scored Michael a quick pick-up basketball game. Actual courts are hard to come by here so you gots to take advantage when you see one. Did a quick run to the local Lotte, catch all grocery/sporting goods/electronic goods/instrument store and watched "Memento" at home. Maybe it's just me but after having seen "A Beautiful Mind," I wasn't floored by the ending. Sorry Memento lovers.


Today's Daily T-shirt will actually be sponsored by my to-go coffee cup. Enjoy.
Espresso of Street
"when I walk on the street
            with my coffee,
                       I smile.
I feel so good and happy.
            magical thing!
it's a cup of coffee."

"Allons! whoever you are, come travel with me!" Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road"

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