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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Haeundae where "My Hovercraft is full of Eels" (Day 244)

We are now in Haeundae where “My Hovercraft is full of Eels” and John Cleese said.

“I can see the sea!” I cried as I looked out of the Airbnb window. We’d arrived at our next Airbnb after an easy journey by Express bus and metro, and are now on the 24th floor in a wonderful trendy apartment, two blocks back from Haeundae-gu beach, Busan. It’s better than being in a deluxe hotel, we have a kitchenette, hidden behind tall folding doors and a washing machine. (Ooh - I do like to keep the clothes washing up to date!) Slivers of view can be seen of the golden beach and calm sea gently caressing the shoreline in between high rise blocks, one covered with mirrored glass, reflecting the metropolis back at me. A bit different from the view of the massive Steelworks plant from our previous place! We tried to get the air con on; definitely much needed in the mid-30s heat. Damn, it won’t work. Tim called up our host Jay, the panel of the wall wasn’t working, she described where the hand control was and our issue was easily rectified. She said she would pop over to check we were ok and we are so glad she did. About 30 minutes later there was a ping on the door. It was Jay, a beautiful young lady and so friendly. It turns out that she spent 10 months in Cambridge learning English and travelled all around the UK and Europe. We stood chatting for some time and then she generously offered to take us out for a drive. I knew Tim was getting hungry, yet we couldn’t miss this opportunity. We hopped in her car and drove around the area; Jay pointing out various great eating places. She seemed to know many quite intimately. Gradually we drove up past a lovely wooded trail and over a disused rail track, now converted to a walkway (will be exploring these in the next few days). After parking up and a short climb we came to the Daritdol Observatory 72.5m over the sea. Anyone with a phobia of heights should definitely avoid it, or have a session with me beforehand. We needed to put on shoe covers before walking on the deck – not a great look! The Observatory featured a couple of long glass floor panels and another area with an open grating, both giving an excellent view of the rolling waves 20m below. Glass panels surround the decking and it was a bit disconcerting that two of the panels were shattered with a thin police tape over them. I wonder how they broke. It was definitely dinner time so the three of us walked to a fish restaurant that Jay recommended where we grilled our own food. Seafood and Eel was our choice. I’ve never had eel before and seeing them in the tanks outside restaurants, swirling around all snake-like is really not appealing, however, it’s good to get out of our comfort zone and try different things once in a while. The great thing about this kind of eating, like a bbq, is that the cooking slows down the meal giving more time to chat. And did we chat! Jay or her real Korean name is Im Soon, is a delight and it’s as if we have known her for ages. She is a Special Needs teacher, teaching 6 children at a time Korean or Maths, in a nearby elementary school. She loves travelling and we so enjoyed hearing about her experiences in different countries including the kindness of the incredibly poor people she met in Myanmar. One of the funniest stories, (I did mention I would include it here), was when Im Soon was studying English in Cambridge. She and a group of international friends cycled to Ely and went to one of the typical English tearooms there for a Cream Tea. When they returned to college, their teacher asked if they enjoyed it and the response was that it wasn’t as good as they expected. It turned out that they had put the clotted cream not on the scones but in their cups of tea! How we laughed! And I am sure that we have done a few faux pas on our journey and will continue to do a few more. A delicious meal very well cooked by Im Soon, different types of clams, scallops with the eel which was very tasty – I thought it was going to be more rubbery, but no, it’s just like fish. Im Soon cooked the spine so it was crispy, which is a Busan speciality. Who would have thought that we’d turn up at our Airbnb and then have such an amazing adventure with our Host! She really is such a poppet. Afterwards, she drove us around a bit more, highlighting various activities we could do. Within a short time of us arriving back to our wonderful Airbnb, Im Soon had emailed me details of 6 different places. What a gem! A great host and a new friend. I think we’re going to have a great time here in Busan.

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