Episode 4

Episode 4

Travel To Korea

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We decided to go to Busan with Jihyun this weekend. There is Busan International Film Festival in Busan right now, we thought we would see both the festival and Busan. Busan is a port city in the south-west of the country and also the second largest city in Korea.

We decided to go to Busan by high-speed trains called KTX. These trains were so long and fast that they had 18 wagons and were traveling at a speed of 305 kilometers per hour, reducing the 5 hour drive from Busan to Seoul to 2 hours. When I got on the train, it looked incredibly familiar inside, I couldn't understand why. It was as if I had ridden before. I thought that I should get up and go to the toilet for a while, but as I passed through the corridor, an excitement filled me for no reason, my heart began to beat. It was as if someone was going to come out, something, a… Zombie! That's when I understood. This train was exactly the same as the train in the movie "Train to Busan - 2016". Just enough to make you feel like you're in the movie!

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Like subways, KTXs also had wifi, so we spent most of our journey online. In any case, physical tickets were no longer used, uniformed officers were checking the passengers with their mobile devices by visiting the cabins without asking anything to the passengers.

We rented a house in Busan from Airbnb. The flat was on the top floor of one of the multi-storey complexes. In Korea, the keys we now know are almost never used, instead every apartment has a digital combination lock. For this reason, we entered the house with the password he gave us and settled in, without ever meeting face-to-face with the owner of the airb&b. The house we rented was a bit small, but as it was on the top floor, it had a very nice sea view.

We walked there first as the place we were staying was close to the famous Heundae Beach. Along the way to the shore of the beach in Heundae were posters of films shown at the festival.

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The area was full of local and foreign visitors coming for the festival, and there were attendants in almost every corner to help the visitors. The big stage for the festival was now set on the sands of the wide Heundae beach, which had no place to step away from the sun loungers in the summer, which was empty due to the autumn. During the festival, interviews were held with the directors and actors of the festival films on this stage.

It was possible to see how much importance was given to cinema in Busan, through a road called Cinema Street. On this road by the sea, posters of important movies shot in Busan were printed on the wall. Further on, there were molds of the hands of famous directors and actors. Since these patterns were open, you could put your own hand inside and compare. So I ran and put my own hand on the hand of Kim Soo Hyun that I love so much, it turns out that my hand is much smaller than hers. :)

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In the evening, we went to Busan's fish market. This place was very similar to our markets, except that all the stalls were full of fish. The market was very large, spread over several streets, it was possible to find many different kinds of fish. Most of the fish were freshly caught and kept alive in a small aquarium. When I saw the stalls filled with raw fish, at first I thought we were just here for a walk. However, some of these stalls have restaurants right next to them. You would choose the fish you wanted from the counter and bring it to the restaurant, and they would prepare it and bring it to your table.

After dinner, we went for a walk. At night, the streets of Busan were lit with colorful neon signs. Now the festival was quite lively with the crowd. Everywhere was full of cheerful people who were walking around eating street food or enjoying Busan by watching street performances.

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Since we would return early the next day, we had limited time, so we reserved the day for touristic trips. In the morning, we first visited the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, which was established to commemorate the martyrs of the Korean War. There was also a section reserved for Turkish soldiers, where we paid our respects to our martyrs. Then we went to Gamcheon Cultural Village. It was a lovely hill full of colorful houses. This place, which used to be a slum, was renovated with a project developed by the Korean Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports. The houses were painted in sweet colors, cute graffiti was drawn on the walls, small statuettes were placed on the streets, thus turning them into tourist destinations. After Gamcheon, it was time to go home, whereas there were many more places to see in Busan. On my way back to Seoul, I wished I could come back to Busan.

The fifth part is coming soon...

Author: Pelin Özer

Illustrations: Merve Uygan