So wonderful is Busan, even for a business traveler like me, used to cross cities at high speed, being left with only a few pictures that will stick to my
I drive around this 3.6 million people town, the second largest in Korea, with cabs providing you as a service the radio voices of anchors that debate among them unknown things that delight my attention. Every sentence of theirs terminates with a sigh of surprise, and I try to convince myself that I know why.
The cab crosses the tunnel built under the mountain that takes me to the sea-side of the city. The mountain is covered by a foggy cloud, like in those vertical oriental paintings of Nature, and its view prepares me for the surprise of the open spaces and the Ocean on the other side. I like this Ocean. Here too the view is clouded by a misty fog, hiding Japan and its history. I wonder if Hiroshima’s mushroom was seen that day and what silence it brought in the eyes of the Busan fishermen.
Today fishermen are easily forgotten. They were here 50 years ago. Today Busan is like New York City 50 years ago, incredulous at its growth and still full of hope, with its Verrazzano bridge, its towering new skyscrapers, its Chinatowns and its Times Squares. Tomorrow Hillary Clinton and Queen Rania of Jordan will be here at the Conference. Like me, they will only touch the surface of the Korean culture, of its portentous growth, of its pride. They will be gone soon, nobody will notice, like in New York.