Day 503 of Traveling the World, Busan, South Korea. June 29, 2019.

Can you believe the first two photos are the entrance hallways to our hotel, Hilton Busan, and not sets from Star Trek?? The hotel opened in 2017, and it is so exciting to see some unusual and interesting architecture after staying in so many ordinary hotels over the past 500 days. As seen in the third photo, every floor has two chairs facing the Sea of Japan, while the fourth is a cafe facing the shore that keeps quite busy during the day. Breakfast in Asia continues to amaze us. In addition to the standard American offerings of cereal, sausage, bacon, eggs, and pancakes, this hotel features…two or three kinds of rice, green vitamin (spinach), lentils, stir-fry, dim sum, noodle soup (prepared to order, and marvelous), ox knee soup, seaweed soup, sautéed anchovies, two kinds of spicy Korean pancakes, miso soup, steamed mackerel, smoked salmon, a full salad bar with salad dressings, bulgogi (Korean barbecued meat), and abalone porridge…to name just a few. There is also a fruit and yogurt bar with five kinds of yogurt, and a fabulous dessert bar with apple pie, pecan pie, tiramisu, bread pudding, chocolate cake, and if you can believe it, an eight-tiered chocolate fountain that runs continuously! It is something to see! We get free breakfast, as we are Hilton Diamond members, but for everyone else it is $45 per person. Imagine, if we had to pay for it, our 11 days here would total $990 just for breakfast.

There is a coastal walking path outside the hotel along the coast, and there are three photos taken from the path. You can see a woman who successfully and joyously climbed the rocks, and then two photos of something that delights and fascinates us….Korean stacking rocks. In the Celtic world, they are called “cairns,” and here, people pile rocks, sometimes precariously, on top of each other, making a wish. If the stack remains, it is said your wish will come true, but if it falls…..well, you know. People are welcome to add rocks on top of stacks already made and also make a wish. Aren’t they pretty, though? In some ways, they look like tiny pagodas. It was so delightful to stumble upon them without knowing they would be there.

Next, there are two food pictures. The first looked so unusual that we took a photo without having any idea what it could be. Do you see the containers with what looks like dried weeds? One whole container costs 10,000 won, about $10. I asked the hotel staff what it was, and the question passed to four people before we arrived at an answer…it is agar, a gelatinous derivative of seaweed, used in soups. We engaged a chef for help, and he told us that a container would feed 20-25 people when boiled, so the true cost is just 50 cents per person. The next photo was at the grocery store bakery. As you can see, sweets are lined up on a table for people to pick out their own. Pastries in Asia are not normally found in glass cases. Those in the forefront are croissants that are very, very liberally loaded with powdered sugar! The woman you see was cutting the pastries so that each different pastry could be sampled.

The last photo is from the Grand Hilton Seoul…rules for the Fitness Center. The way No. 6 is worded, and the fact that it even needs saying……