We spent Christmas 2016 enjoying coffee and kimchi in Korea.
We saw Christmas 2015 through from our little-but-perfect flat in Manchester, where we donned onesies and ate ‘out of the tin’ Marks and Spencers Christmas lunches. We could never have imagined that only one year on, we would be sat overlooking a white sandy beach but in -5 temperatures with Dan eating the Korean take on a turkey dinner and me munching a vegetable burrito. We could probably have foreseen the Bloody Mary accompaniment though…
This festive period was a real break for us. I took a break from stressing about learning Japanese and consequently completed zero study. It felt good and allowed me time to recognise that I don’t ‘have’ to study, it is my choice. So I chose to watch far too much ‘House’ on Netflix. But hey, who doesn’t enjoy a large amount of Hugh Laurie over Christmas?! We also took a break from Japanese cuisine and enjoyed our yearly quota in garlic and spicy food! It was divine. I even managed to eat a gut wrenching amount of cheese and pizza based foods. YUM. (Dan prefers to stick to local food ‘when in Rome / Busan / Seoul etc’ but for the non-meat / scared of fishy tentacles eater, Korea lacked meat / tentacle free local foods, so I indulged on all things cheese based). A particularly memorable meal was at the fish market in Busan; our meal arrived with a bowl of whole garlic cloves, kimchi, and other garlic based pastes to eat with the fish. We stank to high heaven, but we were on holiday and treating our taste buds so gave very little cares!
We spent five days over Christmas in Busan and then between Christmas and New Year we travelled to Seoul. Both cities are very different, with Seoul having a modern centre due to its recent reconstruction after the Korean War. The architecture in Seoul was extremely impressive and I indulged in a decent ‘English included’ haircut and some lengthy shopping / coffee shop sitting / book reading days. In Busan, we found more Korean ‘soul’, if you see what I did there…the streets were a little dirty in parts, but the city had character and East Asian organised mayhem at its core. Dan described it perfectly: “it is like Japan and Vietnam had a baby, they named it Busan”.
New Year’s evening was spent back in Busan. We wondered around slightly hopelessly looking for bars, as there were so many on every floor, it became a little overwhelming. After some searching, we eventually found ‘the one’. A tiny little place covered in post-it notes from previous visitors and serving the ‘Coronarita’ or as it shall henceforth be known, ‘The Downfall’. After enjoying some Sex on the Beach, I decided it was time to join Dan in his Corona based cocktail stupor, and ordered two more of The Downfall. The bar owner was surprised, and confirmed several times we wanted two Downfalls. Yes, two please…why was that such a surprise? Well, fast forward an hour or maybe even three, neither of us can remember getting back to the hotel and I think we may have missed midnight…our January the 1st 2017 was delightful, as I am sure you can imagine.
Korea was a great break from our reasonably rural life in Japan. After the madness of the city and more coffee than most people drink in a year, we were happy to return to our quiet apartment in sleepy Shimonoseki. The trip made for a very memorable Christmas and a missing-information-still New Year’s eve. We hope all of our loved ones the world over enjoyed their festive brakes! Cheers (although its only 9am here…) to a great 2017! Who knows where you will be next Christmas…
Check out our photos here!