An exceptionally dangerous cup of tea.
I signed up to Boingo’s $59/month global roaming plan for Korea & Japan because I’d heard that getting Internet access was troublesome, and 3G data is an eye-bleeding £6/megabyte on O2. I needn’t have bothered; in S. Korea there is free Wi-Fi on virtually every street corner. In both Korea and Japan every hotel we stayed in, bar one, had free, unlimited CAT5. Japan had surprisingly few Wi-Fi hotspots, free or otherwise. To locate Boingo hotspots you can use the iPhone app – this requires data roaming to be turned on and a bandwidth-sucking Google Maps interface to be used. The nearest hotspots were invariably a long walk from where we were, despite us being in popular tourist centres. Most hotspots seemed to be in branches of MacDonalds which are often smoke-filled. On the few occasions I made it to a hotspot location the access point didn’t exist or I couldn’t connect. Verdict: don’t bother with Boingo when travelling in Asia.
Paulo’s Jagalchi Fish Market video – watch the whole thing, or jump to 00:39 for the sea penises if you like that sort of thing.
So it’s good night from me .. and good night from him. Night!
We spent most of the day at Shinsengae, the world’s largest department store – certified by Norris McWhirter’s eternal spirit. This place makes the Bull Ring look like a Spar. Packed into 14 floors was; a 3-storey golf driving range, a roof-top park, an ice rink, art gallery and SpaLand – one of Asia’s biggest hot spring spas. After we’d hit a few hundred golf balls we went to the spa. The male-only section was quite alarming as you have to bath naked and I was fairly nervous I might accidentally brush up against someone’s winky. Luckily no international incidents occurred and we spent over 5 happy hours here, including a very nice session in the relaxation room watching the F1, drinking beer and eating smoked eggs. For the privilege we paid about £12. A tremendous way to finish this epic tour of Japan and Korea!
I already mentioned that South Korea seems to have one of the highest ratios of LCD screens to flat surfaces anywhere in the world. On the Busan subway the screens were actually in the tunnel itself. In this case showing adverts for something religious, perhaps services given by a local evangelist. There must have been plenty in a row because the images lasted a good 10 seconds whilst on the move. Wasted on this lot though as they were facing the wrong way.
It’s not clear what kind of disasters they might need to manage at Jalgachi Fish Market. All the eels legging/slithering for it at the same time? More pictures of Jalgachi in this set. It’s funny how some places are so much easier to photograph than others.
The insanity of Busan’s Jalgachi Fish Market. We saw the utterly alarming sight of live “sea penises” (I’m sure Paul will be along with his video soon), as well as tons of eel, squid, abalone, king crabs, giant mussels and even baby octopuses, all live and kicking. Turns out Paul is scared of the sight of eels, did you know? Upstairs you can sample the fish by ordering the Korean version of sashimi; hoe (pronounced as in the ‘whe’ of when) which is rather chewy compared to the Japanese version. The leftovers go to make a light fish soup which is served with plain rice and the inescapable kimchi.
Fair enough, really.
Sumo tournaments are held in specific months of the year. Unfortunately there are none in October, but Hakata is gearing up for the Kyushu Basho which is held in November. Annoyingly for the Japanese, all the recent yokozuna (the highest grade sumo) have been foreigners. The current reigning champ is Hakuhō Shō, from Mongolia. But now there’s a new challenger in the ring!