Around Busan City

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Busan is a port city in the Southern part of South Korea. It’s a wonderful place to go on a weekend trip. I have taken the KTX (high speed train) down several times when I had a few days free.

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Some of the attractions are very unique. For example, Busan has the only UN cemetery in the world, because many of the allied soldiers who died defending South Korea in the Korean War are buried there.

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It also has a bustling fish market, as you would expect in a port city. I am told that there is also fabulous shopping, but shopping has never really been my thing.

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However, my very favorite part is the area part of Busan called Haeundae. This is where you come to see the beach, and it is a beautiful beach.

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There is also a wonderful wooden path along the cliffs where you can see statues of mermaids, lighthouses, and other great stuff.

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I wanted to go to the Busan Aquarium, and you would think that would be pretty easy. The map said it was right on the beach, but I admit, I missed it on my first pass. The entrance is a little shark statue, and the entire rest of the aquarium is under ground.

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The Busan Aquarium is reasonably priced and has a good range of things to see, from turtles to fish, and even a shark tank with a tunnel through it.

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I could spend an entire day there myself, but I really love watching fish swim around. There is something so peaceful about it.

One tank (which is huge) is all full of different kinds of coral and fish, and it has amphitheater seating around it so that you can just get comfortable in the air conditioning and enjoy the view.

I definitely recommend dropping in to give it a look.

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Another wonderful thing to do is hop a bus to the temple near Haeundae beach. They have a sunrise ceremony, which I managed to catch only once. But the rest of the day it is just a beautiful place to enjoy ocean views and see awesome things.


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Some people will tell you that if you have seen one temple, you have seen them all. I do understand this attitude, but to me, they all have their own personality and unique features.

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I find the buildings peaceful and relaxing, the monks welcoming, and the crafts for sale to always be beautiful.

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At this particular temple, they have a special place by the sea to practice rock stacking. This is a Buddhist practice that is supposed to be calming, and I admit, I did find it to be a nice activity on a windy afternoon.

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If you go to Busan and you are looking for things to do, there is certainly no shortage. These are just a few things that I did, and that I thought were fun.

Oh, and I have to add this billboard because I think it is hilarious. In Korea, it is okay to put cuss words in advertisements as long as they are not in Korean. (We do the same thing in the US. I could own a business named a Korean cuss word and no one would care.)

So, here is the Mini Cooper billboard I saw in downtown Busan.

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My Grandmother

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My grandmother’s name is Jeanette Waston, and she has always been a huge force in my life.

It’s not just me though.

She has influenced a lot of people in amazing ways.

She wrote a book called The Orchard City about her hometown, Campbell California. It’s a wonderful chronicle of her town and our family’s history there.

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In addition, she was the mayor of Campbell for many years, during which time she helped raise the money to move the Ainsley House (above) from San Jose to downtown Campbell where it could be preserved for its historic value, and become a museum.

She was involved in a lot of really wonderful projects. Another beautiful example is the Campbell Heritage Theater (below). The building used to be her school when she was young, and she worked hard to turn it into a museum.

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I am so proud to be her granddaughter, and I am so thankful for her influence in my life. Being able to share beautiful moments with her has helped me to understand how government works, and that there is no limit to what a woman can do.

Our last adventure to Sedona was a lot of fun, and as I am thinking of her today, I thought I would share a picture of her, and share how lucky I feel to know her.

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Thoughts On The Southwest

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I was driving across Nevada, and I had the opportunity to think about just how big the US is. When I was a teacher in South Korea, I used to try to explain the scale of the US and just how spread out everything is.

However, I never seemed to be able to convey to my Korean students or my European friends just what it means to drive for 900 miles in one day and still not be where you are going.

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The railroads crisscross the country, and so does the highway system.

By the way, both of those projects were huge and impressive. When you take into account the scale of the US as a country, it’s incredible to realize that rail lines and highways go all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean.

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I guess this is sort of my tribute to wide open spaces. That’s the thing I probably love most about my country.

It’s true that there are wonderful public transportation systems in Europe and Asia. The level of infrastructure is often daunting, in fact.

All countries have their good points, and of course there is too much to list that a person could love about a country they come from.

But for me, it is the wide open spaces and the nature that I love best.

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Anasazi Cliff Dwellings

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Before there were Blackfoot and Navajo and Ute, there was the Anasazi. Current Native American tribes recognize the Anasazi as their ancestors; though no one is sure of exactly what happened to them.

Once, they lived in fabulous cliff palaces like the one pictured above. After this, there is no history telling us of them except for current tribes calling them ancestors.

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As for me, my great-great grandfather was a man named Richard Wetherill. He fought to preserve the Anasazi cliff dwellings for future generations, and so there is something of my ancestry in the park as well.

In fact, that is what brought me to Mesa Verde. I went as their invited guest for the 100 year anniversary of it becoming a National park.

Sadly, my great-great grandfather didn’t live to see the land designated for conservation.

However, park officials credit his letters to Washington and the collections of artifacts that he sent to the Smithsonian as the reason that Mesa Verde is a protected area today.

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Richard Wetherill was primarily a trader and rancher, and his fight for preservation of land was a hobby for him.

As a child, I didn’t really know any of that. I just remember the Navajo blankets in our home, and I remember hearing the stories about coyote and the other tricksters from Navajo legends.

As an adult, I have to say that I am pretty proud of his work fighting to preserve land for the future. I have always felt strongly about conservation, and so national parks are a favorite thing for me.

In addition, I hope that we can all agree that leaving our history for our children and grandchildren to see is valuable.

That’s what is so wonderful about Mesa Verde, because it is preserving land and history at the same time.

I hope you’ll all go to Colorado and see the park some day. It really is breath-taking.

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In fact, even the drive there is impressive.

People miss a lot of the most wonderful things in the US by flying over the land. But, if you drive across it, you really will see some amazing things.

Just a tip from someone who has been all over the west coast, and seen some pretty dramatic scenery along the way.

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