Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My last trip to Busan - Lotte Giants game

So after the whole debacle on Friday afternoon, I met up with Dallas and went to the gym. When we got home, I cleaned up and he helped me organize. Then I got some things together because our friend Eve was coming into town and we decided to have a sleep over and drink wine and vent. We also had planned to go to Busan on Saturday and I wanted to stick with that plan, so I packed for the weekend too.

Eve got to Jinju pretty late, but it gave me enough time to be totally ready when she arrived. Then we all walked to Dallas's apartment carrying tons of stuff. All of us were gross and had a parade of showers, then drank wine out of old Nutella jars while Dallas did my nails. Eve fell asleep pretty quickly and we were getting up early the next day, so we tried to go to sleep early too.
Game day nails - Lotte Giants in their colors of black, white and orange.
The next morning we woke up and got ready to go to Busan. I don't think we got breakfast stuff, but we split an apple on the cab ride to the bus station. I think we both fell asleep on the bus, at least for a little while. We got into town quite quickly, then looked at the subway map to figure out how to get to the stadium. The next thing we did was hit up a coffee shop. We got iced coffees (I know - strange for me but it was actually a chai latte, so it was ok) and breakfast and used wifi to book a motel - although the area indicator was way off - more about that later.

After breakfast, we took the subway to the stadium area to buy tickets. Apparently they didn't go on sale for another 2ish hours, so we attempted to buy them online, but ran into a bunch of hassles and then decided to just wait it out. Dallas wanted a hat, so we looked in the gift shop and saw a couple of cute ones, but figured we'd find a cheaper/better one later. Then we went to some sporting goods stores around the area looking for eye black - the patches you put under your eyes if you're playing outfield - because he wanted those too. Dork. We went to about 4 shops looking for the best ones because they all had some sort of branding on them. Then we went to another coffee shop where we got juices and played sporcle trivia games to kill an hour or so.

After waiting, we went back to the stadium and waited in line for tickets. We were pretty close to the front of the line, but had to wait for maybe 30 minutes before the windows were going to open. While we were waiting, Dallas went and got us water and ice cream and the couple in front of us cracked open some beers, then the tab broke off their can of nuts and the man walked around trying to find something to bang it open. He finally succeeded! The weirdest part about the ticket line was that people can apparently leave something (for example a newspaper or a beer can), walk away, then come back later and claim the spot. This happened in almost every line and I didn't know what to do. One girl behind me got pissed at one guy who clearly cut, but he was older so she couldn't really say anything. But we got decent tickets without too much of a hassle.
Gate to enter the stadium
After we got the tickets, we still had a couple of hours before the game so we walked back to the subway and went to the big Lotte department store. We split some chicken thing and each had a kebab in the food court, then went up a billion escalators to the sports section. He found a hat he liked a lot and even though it was more expensive than the ones we saw earlier, it was really nice and good quality. After lunch and hat purchases, we decided to cab it to our motel since we didn't really know where it was. It was a good thing we did because it was in the middle of nowhere and we never would have found it walking. It was called the Inca (I think) and the lady was really nice and the motel itself was decent, it just wasn't close to a subway stop at all. The bathroom was really nice and big though. We dropped off our stuff, then cabbed back to the stadium to meet Eve. She had other plans earlier in the day in Jinju, but took an afternoon bus to come meet us for the game and to hang out after.

The cab dropped us off right in front of the stadium, which was closer than the subway station we had originally tried to go to, and we walked down to the corner to get Eve. I've talked about Korean baseball before, a long time ago, but to recap if you don't want to read the old post: Korean baseball is sort of like American AAA ball. There are cheerleaders and a group leader who directs things like dancing and cheering and chanting - lots of chanting. The batting team gets to cheer and (especially if you're the home team) the fielding team can randomly chant at certain things - like at the pitcher.

Decked out for the game

Cheerleaders (in their second of three outfits) and the group leader guy in the center.
The best part about the chants, in my opinion, is that quite a few of them are American/British songs that they just changed the words to. For example, some of Lotte's chants are come on feel the noise, I love rock and roll, and their theme song of sorts, which is Glory, Glory if I'm correct. Part of the reason we decided to stick with the plan to go to the game was that a Lotte game was on my Korean bucket list. Giants' fans are really active and get into the game more than fans from other teams and I wanted to see if that was true.
Slightly blurry, but I wanted you to see the big finger that Dallas got instead of thunder sticks.
Somehow these weird duck things are the mascots instead of something that resembles a giant. I just...Korea.
Another fun thing about Korean ball games is that you can bring anything you want into the stadium. Before we handed over our tickets, the three of us stopped at a CU and got soju, mixers, cups of ice and I think Eve got a beer. We brought all of that into the game and nobody batted an eye. In fact, they have beer and soju vendors right outside of the stadium, like peanut vendors in the States. Another cultural difference is what you eat. Instead of hotdogs and popcorn, people eat fried chicken and dried squid. We decided to roll with it (in fact, Dallas was super excited about it) and around the 4th inning or so, we bought and shared a box of fried chicken. We did not do the squid. The last fun fact about Lotte is that in the 7th inning, they pass out orange plastic bags. Originally (at least this is what I read somewhere) it was to help with trash pick up, but fans started putting them on their heads. This was one of the things I was waiting for and got probably unnecessarily excited about.
Bag heads!!!

The field at night
We waited until the bottom of the 8th inning before deciding to call it quits and try to beat some of the crowds. We left the stadium and hopped in a cab, who had no idea where to go and ended up calling the motel from the card I had. We got back to our room, took showers and got dressed to go out. While we were getting dressed, Dallas turned on the TV and found Nickelodeon, which was showing iCarly, and he found it hilarious. So I gave him the breakdown of the show, but I don't think he's watched it since. I don't know why, but for some reason we didn't take any pictures that night, which is so not like any of the 3 of us.

We decided to start out and Thursday Party, and once we got there, just ended up staying. We sat next to a group of 3 guys who were probably college aged students. They looked like they kept wanting to start a conversation with us, but were too shy about it or something. One of the guys got pretty tipsy - I think it must have been his birthday. At that point it was our turn to play darts, which was one of the reasons we decided to go to Thursday Party - I like having something to do at bars and they are one of the few that have darts or other games. I kicked butt, which made Dallas sign us up to play again because he doesn't like to lose.

Then, another group of 3 guys sat next to us. These guys looked like maybe they had been to another bar earlier and were much more talkative. We discussed giving fake names if asked, but we ended up telling these guys our real ones. One of them was super into Eve and wouldn't leave her alone. He was also really loud and apparently a bit of a spitter. The other 2 were pretty nice and spoke really decent English. We ended up playing group darts - 2 Koreans and Eve versus me, Dallas and the other Korean. The losing team was supposed to buy and do a shot. This was the weirdest part of the night.

I've talked before about how in Korea there is no such thing as being gay, but that there are 1-tons of gay guys and 2-straight guys touch each other in ways gay guys don't in public in the States. It's very odd. In some ways I like the fact that men can hold hands or hug or whatever and it not be looked down on. In other ways, it's just weird. And I'm not saying that from a gay/straight perspective, but it's just strange to see anyone repeatedly grab someone else's butt. Which is basically what happened. As a way to distract the guys on one team, the guys on the other team would pretty much molest them - butt grabs, running their hands up their legs, touching pecs etc. They didn't touch me or Eve (well Dallas did) but they felt it was ok to touch Dallas and each other. Again, I am not sure why I didn't take pictures of this.

Our team won (woot - 2 wins for me! electronic darts is so much better than real ones :) )and instead of just buying shots for the losers, they bought shots for everyone. I requested anything but tequila. So what did we get? Tequila. Luckily they did bring salt and lemons, but still - yuck. We all took the shot then we were done with drinking. We sat at the bar and talked for a little while longer, which is when we saw another group of guys at the table behind us come in with ice cream cones. It was kind of awesome. Then we went home and watched the very end of Harry Potter and went to sleep.

The next morning, Eve woke up really early. Our room had darkened windows, so it was pretty dark in the room, but she didn't want to wake us up so she sat on the floor and looked at her phone for awhile. I think she was playing Candy Crush. We finally got up, got showered and dressed and headed out to find something to eat for breakfast. We couldn't find a good breakfast spot and ended up going back to the Indian place we had gone to a few months earlier. We split a curry and a pizza and everyone had a lassi. Then we went shopping at Zara and H&M. Well they went shopping and I helped. After H&M, Eve decided to head out since she had to take a train back to Seoul. Dallas and I got coffees and then walked around for a little while, then we decided to go home too. We made it on the bus, then fell asleep again. It makes me kind of sad that I didn't think to take a picture as this was our last bus ride together. Oh well. I don't remember what we did when we got back - I'm sure we had dinner somewhere and/or went to emart or walking or some combination of the above, but I honestly don't know. This is why I need to write posts sooner!

Even though it was kind of sad because it was my last trip, it was a good weekend and it took my mind off of everything that was going on. It was also one more thing that I got to cross of the bucket list - I left with only 2 things left, so I can't feel too bad about that. I'm glad I got to spend some time with Eve and do a final shopping trip with Dallas (well in Korea, I know we will go again once he gets home).

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