On April 3rd, the Indian expat community in Busan, South Korea hosted their traditional festival known as Holi. It was celebrated on Haeundae Beach from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets were only 10,000 Won.
I was hesitant to attend Holi Hai because there was a 100% chance of rain all day in Busan. But it didn’t start raining until after the festivities had ended. I couldn’t believe my luck.
Navigating the train station was confusing, and I found my train 5 minutes before it left. There were two Americans on my train who had ended their teaching contracts, and were traveling before returning home. The girl had taught here for two years, and the guy had taught for seven years. I want to save up enough money to travel around the world, so I asked him how much money he managed to save in seven years. He said $40,000. I’d be happy with $30,000.
A Pakistani guy was on my train. He approached me when we arrived. He was on his way to Holi too, and offered to let me follow him. With the help of a Korean man who was working in the metro station, we were able to buy our one-way passes to Haeundae. During our hour-long metro ride, he asked me a ton of questions. He asked if I had a Korean girlfriend. I said no. Then he asked if I have an American girlfriend. I said no. He said he didn’t believe me. He said according to movies, all Americans are obsessed with being in relationships. Then he said I should get a Korean girlfriend because she would be obedient to me forever. I explained that I am content being single for now.
He asked how Americans feel about Pakistan. He asked me if I’m voting for Donald Trump. He said most Americans claim to hate him, but he’s rising in the poles; so that doesn’t add up. I didn’t have much to comment.
After exiting the subway, my Pakistani pal went to meet up with his friends, and an elderly Korean man offered to show me the way to the beach. While walking there, he asked if I’m an American. I said yes. He said, “Obama good?” Once again I tried to avoid a political argument. Then he said: “Syria. ISIS.” It didn’t sound like a question, so I didn’t know how to respond. He eventually trailed off and I found the beach.
There was a crowd circled around a street magician. About half the crowd was made up of foreigners, so he spoke English. Every time he did a trick, he said the word “magic” several times. I watched him for a few minutes before heading to the registration tents.
After the event kicked off I managed to find my friends in a sea of people from all over the world. We had an amazing time together. The beach that day was full of bright colors, warm smiles, positive energy, and good vibes.
When we booked our train home there were no seats left, so we had to sit on the floor between people’s seats. Our tickets were about $6 each. The hour and a half ride was not as bag as expected. The woman sitting next to me gave my friends and I a handful of sun-dried persimmons. Then some seats freed up for the last leg of the trip, so we got to sit comfortably for a little while.
After getting lost in the train station again, we found the metro. After we all transferred to our own lines home, I was sitting next to three elderly people. I must have looked like a hobo because they all gave me their bag of apples and oranges. Korean people are so generous and thoughtful.
I can’t wait to do this again next April.