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Written on: Saturday May 5th, 2012

A journal entry from: November 2011 until...

A week flew past in Busan in the lovely company of my hosts Scott and Krysten. I did a little bit of walking over mountains, lots of eating and even more going out.

Looking at my photos I see that I haven't captured many of my favourite moments - like when I got my boots fixed. It struck me that getting my boots fixed while travelling is something that I really enjoy. Odd that. I guess I like my boots but I tend to wear the heels down unevenly, I like the idea of repairing rather than replacing things and I have a soft spot for cobblers. One of my favourite movie quotes is from the film Hobson's Choice where Hobson, when approving of a husband for his daughter says of a cobbler: "You're a backward lad, but you know your trade and it's an honest one." Not that any of my cobblers have been backwards, or lads for that matter.

But at least I did take a photo of the diabolically hot, black-pudding ddukppoki that I had in the Nanpo markets. I would have walked away after the first fiery bite, but I saw the lady who had just served me on the street stall, while pretending to chat with the neighbouring vendor, was looking at me out of the corner of her eye with a sly grin. Although she looked sweet and innocent like a million other ladies on street stalls, she was in fact a Fury from Hades and had served me up something she scraped off the bottom of the river Styx. I feel sure she was making a bet with her colleague (probably another Fury - you know what they are like) about my ability to eat what she had served me. And I knew what the stake would be...
Not wanting to lose my sole (as I mentioned, I had just had my boots fixed - coincidentally for the same price as the ddukppoki) I stood at the stall and slowly, cleaned my plate. I was sure that I was going to be haunted later by the stygian treats as they made their way through me, but there hasn't been any sole inside me for some time - at least since the great seafood on Phu Quoc, so the only thing that passed faster than I would have liked was my time in Busan.
Oh - and I found out that it is impossible for an Irish/Australian passport holder on a tourist visa here to get a tourist visa for China. IMPOSSIBLE! The woman at the Chinese consulate suggested that I should have got one last time I was in Ireland (as I am in Korea on my Irish passport). When I said that that was 4 years ago her next suggestion was that I could go to Tokyo and maybe I could get one there - but she wasn't sure. Not the most helpful advice of all time.