After enjoying dinner with Jan of the Korean Randonneurs, I catch a subway to Seouyong near Gwangali Beach to catch the 10th Annual Busan Fireworks Festival. The subway train pulls into the platform at 7:59pm and I join the stragglers running towards the beach for the 8:00pm start. It’s hectic but no one is pushing or shoving. Some people push children in prams while young couples try to hold hands as they run. There’s no traffic so we take over the streets. We hear the first official boom as the fireworks start and crane our necks down each alley to see whether we can see around the tall buildings.
I find myself crammed in an alley with thousands of other late-comers. It’s a massive crush but again, there is no aggression so I am never afraid for my safety.
The sky erupts with colour and light. The crowd coos “ooh” and “aah”. Mobile phones are raised to the sky to record the spectacle and share on the ever present Facebook. A few foreigners carry cameras with big lenses but the locals are all using their Samsung phones (I don’t feel so out of place here with my big Samsung Galaxy Note 2 😉 )>
We miss some fireworks from where we are tucked in this corner behind the building but it doesn’t matter. We are here at the festival and still get a grand view of the spectacular production.
And I find myself pinching myself in disbelief at the wonderful experiences I have enjoyed here in Korea. Just being here at the fireworks in this crowd is such a blessing. I find myself unable to stop smiling.
The crowd cheers as the fireworks burst into the sky.
Some people leave the festival so the crowd surges forward to fill the gaps they left. I decide to go with it so see a group of older Korean women holding each other’s jackets to stay together. I grab the last one’s jumper as if I belong and let myself be pushed forward with them. It’s a fantastic experience that makes me think of toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube.
And then I am at the beach with a million of my closest friends watching the fireworks explode into the sky. The finale is particularly spectacular as the whole sky is filled with light and shape.
As the lights come back on I realise just how many people are here. It makes me feel happy to realise that all these millions of people all over Busan have the freedom and health to be here watching something that is put on purely for joy.