My friends and I this past weekend were some of those very same tourists as we made the trek to Busan for the annual Haeundae Sand Festival which marks the official opening of the beach for the season. Haeundae Beach is one of the most (if not the most) popular beaches in Korea, and we were not to be disappointed.
Friday was a long day that started with myself and Lindsay trekking to the gym at 7 am, and it was non-stop go from there. From the gym I went to the dentist where I got my new crown that I posted about on Friday. I felt like a very important person to be live blogging such an experience. Really, I was just bored. From the dentist I went to school, and then from school straight to the train station where we grabbed a quick bite to eat, got on the train and then headed to Busan.
Busan is about three hours away from Seoul by KTX --which stands for Korea Train eXpress-- so it being around 1 am by the time we got there we didn't waste much time in hitting our beds to get some much needed rest to enjoy our Saturday.
Saturday caught me, and I'm ashamed to admit it, doubting that Korea will be everything that it says that it's going to be, because dressed up in our beach finery as we were, Saturday was COLD.
We had to wear our jackets and huddle together for warmth. Where was all this 30 degree weather that we had been experiencing in Seoul? Of course Seoul is inland and very crowded, so I guess the temperature change was to be expected, but we were still a little disappointed that our day celebrating the opening of the beach for the season didn't involve any basking in the sun.
There was still lots to see and do though, including listening to an orchestra play (on the beach!) and looking at some pretty amazing sand sculptures.
Some people went out after, but Amanda and I stayed in a watched movies and were down for the count by about midnight.
Unlike our first day the next day was gloriously wonderful. The sun was hot, but not sweltering and after we checked out of our hotel we headed straight to the beach as we were having to leave that day and didn't want to miss out on any of our much desired beach time. The weather was beautiful and the hot air made us think that the water must also be warm. We tried our best to get in but to little avail. The water was freezing! Two girls actually made it all the way in for a brief dip, but I was not one of them.
We left the beach around 4 pm, went to the train station and were home at our apartments to recover and get ready for Monday around 9:30. A pretty fabulous weekend if I do say so myself.
Even though this was the end of our weekend, this post would not be complete without the following picture of Korean beach attire. On Sunday it was hot. Everyone with white or black skin was in a bikini, bathing suit or swim trunks, but the Koreans around us were all dressed like this...
Jeans, long sleeves, huddled under umbrellas... and they brought so much food with them! It was like a picnic in the sand where you hide from the sun. Koreans are know as a group to be pretty obsessed with the color of their skin. There are many many beauty products here to help you whiten your skin and it is very common to see Koreans on a sunny day with a parasol or with an umbrella so they can avoid the sun when they have to go somewhere outside. Amazing cultural difference!