Solo travelling

6th July – Hidden parts of Busan

Toastmasters, the public speaking club

Today I decided to wake up early as I had to find a way to the Toastmaster meeting that started at 10:30. I arrived to the venue one hour earlier so I went to find something to eat. Even though there is a kitchen to cook, I’m too lazy to buy any food to make. I ate an udon noodle soup. Then I went to the meeting place.

If you haven’t heard of Toastmaster yet, it’s a non-profit organization where you can practice public speaking, leadership skills and belong to a supporting community all around the world. Once you are a member you can visit any Toastmasters club anywhere in the world. I belong to a Hungarian club but while travelling I aim to visit the local Toastmasters Club as well.

In Busan there are many club, but only one could fit into my schedule. The name is Burning Brunch Toastmasters. Through the main TM website I could find the date and place of the meeting. After the members finished with preparation they started to ask me who I was and throughout the meeting I was a guest that had their attention. As we talked it turned out I was from Vietnam, a member of a Hungarian TM club and I participated in a Korean club which was in English (No confusion). They talked to me a lot and gave me suggestion what to see in Busan.

Usually a meeting consists of three parts: prepared speech, impromptu speech and evaluation. Every meeting has around 2-3 people who prepare a speech that they will present in front of the members. Then the impromptu part is when a speaker get a random topic and have to talk about it in 1-2 minutes. At the end is the evaluation, where the evaluator evaluate the prepared speeches. What was good and what needs to be improved. During the meeting there are different role such as host, timer, ah counter etc. Every role helps you to improve your speeches and gives you more confident in life.

The difference of Burning Brunch TM club is that they have a quiz part at the end. Which means the quiz master will ask questions about the actual event relating to what the speakers, role takers said. This is unusual but fantastic as it requires the audience to pay attention to the speakers.

At the end there is a general evaluator who evalutes the speech evaluators and the role takers. The event went down with a good ambiance. I asked them to take a group photo so I can show it to the members in Hungary. They invited me to have a lunch with them but I had already had a schedule with my host for a food tour.

The food tour at Gukje market

The food tour cost me 45 USD but it was worth it. We went to Gukje market, near Jagalchi Fish market and tasted different street food. I ate egg bread (Gyeranppang) , fish cake with a rice cake filling (Eomuk), grains that are grounded then mix it with water (Sunshik), this one was the best, sort of pancake that contains many vegetable and bean (Bindaetteok) and drank cooked rice malt with suger (Sikhye). (I didn’t take any picture unfortunately). I was so full that couldn’t even breath. During the tour my host told me many interesting stories relating to Korean history, culture. The most interesting story related to Ami-dong tombstone village.

Cultural villages

Tombstone…???

After hearing her story I went there right away to see if it was true. According to the history after the war and Japanese occupation people moved to Busan but they were very poor and didn’t have a place so they had to move to the mountain to live. Ami-dong was a Japanese cemetery that time, but no one took care of it, as the Japanese left. So people built their house using the tombstone of the Japanese who were buried there and built their house on the cemetery. You can watch the video here. If you walk around the house and see Japanese name on the stone or wood then it’s a tomb from cemetery. I looked around but didn’t find any. To be honest the streets between the houses are very narrow. The houses are near each other. I was afraid when I walked between the houses. It felt as if I did some investigation and tried to uncover a mighty truth behind the houses.

Ami-dong from the high

The other reason it became interesting is because the colourful houses. The houses are on the side of the hill closely to each other but it’s colourful. The village next to it is Gamcheon Cultural Village that gained a lot of attention from the tourist. Over there, many tourist come and go. There are also souvenir shops so comparing to Ami-dong Gamcheon is more popular. Therefore Gamcheon is better built and cleaner. In term of appearance both village has colourful house, so you only see the difference when you are there.

Street art at Gamcheon village

Beach

After that I wanted to go to Songdo beach but couldn’t find it. Instead I took the metro line 1 and went to Dadaepo beach. It is said that watching the sunset there is very beautiful. I wanted to wait for it, but the sun only goes down at 8pm. I had to wait for 30 more minutes to see it, but I was exhausted and I didn’t want to go home in the darkness. I didn’t wait for the sunset and headed home instead. However I realized it wasn’t scary to move around at night.

Dadaepo beach

The next day my host invited to the church and after that I spent the whole day with hiking in different part of Busan. I will let you know the details tomorrow. 🙂

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