9 Apr 2013 – After a week stay…
Mon: Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher dead at age 87. Condolences to her family & friends and may she RIP.
Busan located on the Southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, an area of 763.5km² with a pop of 4+mil and a seaport like SIN. The complex history of chiefdoms in Korea goes back to the Silla dynasty (57 BC – 935 AD), heavily influenced by Chinese civilisation and the longest reign. The Goryeo and Joseon succeeded until the Japanese invasion in the 1500s…
During the Korean War (1950s), Busan was one of the two cities in S Korea not captured by the N Korean army within the first three months of the War, as a result the city became a refugee camp site for Koreans during the war, along with Daegu.
Today it is the 5th largest seaport, SIN is still rank 1st! The world largest department store Shinsegau Centum City is located here. Haeundae Beach (1.7km), most popular beach in Korea had made the Guinness Book of Records (2008) for the largest number of beach umbrellas.
One week is not like when one lives, works, speak the language and integrating with the locals. Fortunate to be able to stay with Audrey and to have a gracious local guide like Jinyoung that made this visit a joy and pleasure. Both are teachers at the Busan International Foreign School. Being there with a local and an non-local provided some educational insights to many beautiful places of interest.
The cherry blossoms were stunning in spite of having to buy antihistamine tablets and eye-drops! How blessed we are to be able to see such natural beauty with the spring blossoms.
Perhaps the expectations about general Koreans being the soft-spoken bowing society (like Jinyoung) is not realistic. Due to some of the unfortunate incidents, the impression now are similar to that of the mainland Chinese, ie can be loud & rude and you can still see people spitting on the streets. Not knowing the culture, society or language, this of course are subjective observations.
Good food and all meals are accompanied with various side dishes of spicy kimchi which are excellent when fresh, especially for cabbage being the most common of the kimchi served. As for soju/rice wine, only had the chance to taste one and it was decent.
Many locals speak only Korean, thus not easy to communicate. Three wishes are to understand, speak and write all the languages! And these wishes have not changed since teenage days… 🙂
Good-bye Busan, an educational and enjoyable trip. On time and uneventful flights safely back in SIN with hopes for Koreans to live in peace and harmony with each other in their beautiful country.
The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own – Susan Sontag