If you life in southern California like I do, South Korea will seem just like home. The older buildings are different, that’s for sure. But at night, riding in a cab and looking around at all the traffic and well dressed people, you feel right at home.
Seoul is a modern, fast paced city with it’s people hard at work. We went to South Korea to learn about the sad history of the Korean war and the results of the stand off that has lasted all these years.
Our guid is an expert on the Korean war. He has been here many times in the past and seems to have tenuous relationship with his North Korean counterparts. Sometimes it seems that he is arguing with them just to make them crazy. I hope they have a sense of humor. I like fish a lot, but I’d rather come home on schedule than have a free cell and fish for five years.
When we were there, there was still barbed wire on the beaches and we went into the tunnels that the North Koreans had dug to try and invade the south again. We had hoped that things would eventually change for the better. Perhaps now they have.
We went to see the communist countries before they changed, hopefully forever, into fledgling republics or democracies. We are so lucky now to see that some of these countries might turn the corner to freedom and prosperity as we had hoped.
It is impossible to see into the future, and it is frightening some times to wonder might happen there, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
As I told one of our minders in North Korea as I handed him my business card upon leaving the bus one day, “We just want to be your friends and trade with you. If you get out, come and stay with us. I will loan you a car and you can drive and see anything and everything in California.” I hope he still has my card and gets a chance to call me. The offer still stands.