On the southeast corner of Busan extends Haeundae Beach, most famously known for holding the Guiness World Record for the most sun parasols on a beach at once. Haeundae (pronounced Hi-oon-day) is one of the locales in Busan that draws tens of thousands of sun seeking tourists and honeymooners from around Asia each year. Lucky for us, by the time Shane and I went with some friends in early September, beach season was more or less over-- more room for us to stretch in the sand.
The locals who were there huddled under rows of large umbrellas rented for the afternoon. Herein lies a stark cultural difference between the foreigners and the Koreans: foreigners want sun on their skin, Koreans tend to prize lighter skin shades. Not only that, the umbrellas aren't just stuck in the ground helter skelter, but instead are arranged in a fixed grid pattern, each umbrella's edge bumping the next. The result is that each group is surrounded on each side by another no more than four feet away. If the umbrella group in front of you also rents beach chairs with their umbrella, you can say goodbye to your view of the sea altogether. These beach bums didn't seem to mind.
The Sea of Japan borders Busan, though Koreans tend to call it the South Sea because of the historical friction between the two countries.
We six, in celebration of Courtney's and Leah's birthdays, took turns crossing the street for cold beers from a convenience store. Unlike the group of US soldiers next to us toting a cooler of Bud, we opted for Korean beers-- mainly Cass and Hite. My happy discovery of the day was Cass Lemon, a shandy-esque light beer, perfectly refreshing on a humid day.
Shane and I switched between dips in the water and cans of beer, until our pale Wisconsin skin could handle no more. Shane's skin was burnt for a week.