Seoul, KOREA –
The constant hustle and bustle of this society never seems to fade.
On every street are
numerous original stores and specialty shops. Though Korea has its fair share of
globalization – McDonalds and Starbucks are well established – the real spirit
of the Korean economy lies in small, independent restaurants, shops and vendors.
The dizzying array
of signs in the cities here and their innumerable occupants are myriad in number
compared to any American city I have visited or lived near, including
Minneapolis, Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
What one has to
remember is that Korea is smaller than my home state of Minnesota. And if you
include the fact that only half of the country, South Korea, is being discussed,
as well as the truth that about 70 percent of the country is mountainous, this
area called Korea that the visitors get to know is actually about as big as
concentrated space is exploding with life. That might be reason why the energy
of my home country always seems irresistibly vivacious and never-ending.
Going back to Korea
allowed me to look at everything from a fresh perspective. I became more
appreciative of the Korean culture and what this country has to offer.
There is a saying in
Korea that goes, "The smallest chili pepper is the hottest."
It seems obvious
that this phrase applies to Korea itself. This often overlooked country in Asia
may be tiny, but within it, there are many charms and surprises that will spice
up your visit.