The ship docked in Busan some time during the middle of the night, making me miss the show of the pilot coming aboard. When I awoke (6am) the stevedores were already hard at work, and it was actually the sound of cranes and crashing containers that stirred me from sleep. I ran outside and grabbed a couple of shots.
Around 7 I ate a hurried breakfast with the other passengers, then went up stairs to finish packing (we had been told the other day to be ready by 10, which is when the port agent would come to pick us up). Maybe an hour later I received a call telling me that someone had brought a modem on board and that there was internet in the crew’s rec room. I ran down with my phone to look over some 100 or so emails I had accumulated since I left (most of it was spam).
The port agent was a little late, and I was a little shocked to find that he was a twenty something covered in high fashion, most notable of which was the large gold Gucci belt buckle. He came aboard, had us (Stevan and Jane were disembarking with me) sign many documents, then told us to get our luggage, which we hauled to the upper deck. The crew was nice enough to bring all our collective luggage down, so we could avoid going up and down the gangplank with it.
At the bottom of the gangplank we found the port agent’s car and piled our luggage inside. Docked just in front of our ship was the Hanjin San Diego, the ship I used to cross the Atlantic in the summer of 2014.
The port agent drove us to customs, where our bags were searched. Stevan broke right into his Korean with the staff there, partially because he may have been trying to hide something. The port agent then drove us out of the port and to immigration, where we got our visa stamped. Stevan tried to negotiate the price of our entrance down. I think he may even had succeeded, although just a bit. We then asked him if he could take us to my hostel, but he said it was too far. He then began to drive us into the heart of Busan. I didn’t notice it as much as he had driven us around the port area, but one we hit the roads outside the port agent drove like a fucking maniac. He swerved in and out of traffic, between buses and cars like a man who wasn’t interested in living much longer. I also noticed that Korea was not nearly as clean as Japan.
After driving for what seemed like forever, we ended up at an international bank somewhere in the heart of Busan. I withdrew some money (this would later prove to be unnecessary, as all banks and ATMs took my bank card) and then we were driven to the central station of Busan and left us with some taxi drivers
(two of them, as we were terribly overburdened with luggage) to drive us the rest of the way. Neither of them had any idea whatsoever where my hostel was, and the two taxi drivers and the port agent had to discuss it all for a good five minutes. Finally the younger of the two taxi drivers (who was a good 20 years older than me) had the sense to look up the hostel on his smart phone. My taxi driver followed theirs.
Busan is huge, and it was a good 20 minutes by taxi to my hostel on the extreme other side of the city.
I was glad to get there and put my luggage down for a few days. The hostel, however, was completely booked, so Jane and Stevan were not able to stay there with me. We decided to leave their bags there and get some food while they decided whether to stay or move on to Seoul. After walking around for a good half hour, we settled on some restaurant. Stevan did the ordering, and got us a little bit of food, several beers, and a tiny bottle of something called Soju. Soju is slightly flavored, water-down vodka, or thereabouts. You shot it, apparently with your meal. Admittedly, i does the trick. We returned to my hostel to soak up more internet and drink more beers. Jane and Stevan ultimately decided to head to Seoul that day, and just as they were leaving a powerful headache came over me. The Soju apparently skips the step where you sleep for eight hours and gives you the hangover right as soon as the drunk wears off. I ended up crashing around 6pm. Damn you, Soju!