Two Great Visits to Busan

Busan is one of my favorite places in South Korea.  The city is dynamic, culturally vibrant, and possesses breathtaking natural beauty.  I really enjoy visiting Busan and it was great to visit the city twice in the last few weeks.  

One of the main reasons I traveled to Busan was to celebrate American Independence Day.  The celebration was held at the Busan Lotte Hotel this year and was attended by 250 distinguished guests.  The U.S. Navy Color Guard participated in the event and they escorted the U.S. flag to the center stage of the ceremony with great fanfare.  The Kwak Young-il Jazz Quintet entertained our guests with a fantastic set of American jazz classics, and everyone had a good time.

Celebrating American Independence Day in Busan!

Another reason I traveled to Busan was to announce plans to upgrade our official facility there from an American Presence Post to a U.S. Consulate.  Our expansion plans over the coming years include increasing Consulate Busan’s staffing, programs, and the services it offers.  We believe these changes will benefit both Korean and U.S. citizens living in the region.  See the press release we published on this for more details:

Busan is famous for its harbor, and no trip is complete for me without making a stop at the ROK Fleet Command.  Recently, I had the pleasure of escorting my sister to attend a reception on the Indian Navy Ship ‘SAHYADRI’ that was visiting Busan Naval Base.  The reception included a Bollywood style song and dance performance.  My sister loved the performance and I was honored to participate in a ceremony highlighting the ongoing naval cooperation between India, South Korea, and the United States.

A Bollywood style performance which my sister loved!

I’m always impressed with how well-informed Korean students are, and the girls at the Busan International Foreign Language High School are no exception.  I recently participated in a town hall meeting with all 580 of the school’s students.  The topics ranged from international affairs to inquiries about my personal life.  No matter what was asked, the questions posed were well thought-out and presented with poise.  It was an honor to interact with such an intelligent group and I am confident that each of the students has a bright future in store for them.

Sejun joined me for a meeting with bright young students in Busan.

A packed auditorium with 580 students!

Talking about international affairs and sharing life stories with the students

Thank you students for the warm welcome!

I also make sure I get to enjoy some of Busan’s natural beauty when I visit.  Since I had heard so much about the scenic views in Igidae, I decided to go there and experience it for myself.  I met with 20 students from Busan Women’s College and we enjoyed a leisurely hike through the park together.  The hike was punctuated by intermittent bursts of rainfall, but the group maintained good spirits and we got to know each other despite the rain.  We worked up an appetite on our hike, so we decided to enjoy a few bowls of 삼계탕 (Korean-style steamed chicken soup) at the Gongwon-jib traditional restaurant.  Nothing is better than a hot bowl of chicken soup on a rainy afternoon, in my opinion, and this was no exception!

Hiking Igidae with Busan Women’s College students!

Once lunch ended, it was time to head over to the Muhak Soju Company and World Liquor Museum to meet company President Kang Min-chul and tour the facilities.  Muhak is one of the largest manufacturers of traditional liquor products in Busan.  The company produces soju and other alcoholic drinks, including plum wine, sparkling wine, and rice wine.  The visit was interesting and informative, teaching me about Korean culture as well as giving me the opportunity to sample a few glasses of “Joeunday,” a low-alcohol Muhak soju.

Experiencing Korean drinking culture at the World Liquor Museum

Cheers to Joeunday and the Muhak Soju Company!

I am a huge baseball fan, so I also attended a game between the NC Dinos and Lotte Giants at Masan Stadium.  My wife and I had great seats behind first base and enjoyed an exciting contest between the two teams.  The NC Dinos are notable for quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Korean baseball league, advancing to the playoffs only three years after being established.  It was thrilling to watch the NC Dinos play on their home turf.

It was great to visit Masan and watch a game between the NC Dinos and Lotte Giants!

The final highlight of my recent trips was when we spotted a delicious-looking chimaek place nearby.  It made for a very memorable (and delicious!) evening and a great way to enjoy Haeundae Beach.   

1 comment:

  1. The world community is deeply concerned about the levels of cruelty of South Korea with the illegal trade in dogs and cats meat.

    Please talk to Korean authorities to end this macabre practice... We must put pressure across South Korea!


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