One of the things I appreciate about Korea is how safe the streets feel. Even in Busan, a city of 3.5 million people, you can wander at night without feeling like every unexpected sound or figure signals danger. The lone man lying on a bench who looks like he’s sleeping is really just…sleeping. The young guys standing outside the open-late food stall aren’t loitering, they’re…snacking on ramyeon. Even when no one’s in sight, the street’s silence is peaceful, a chance to hear the trees move, if there’s wind, or the whir of a floor fan as you pass a shop’s entrance, its owner napping on a mat behind the counter.
Not that I roam the streets alone very often, but, you know, if I feel like it I can. So on my last night in Jeju City, I slowed down on the way back to the hotel, and listened. And looked. Peering through the lens of a camera pulls me into the present moment like nothing else.