I have missed American food so much that I actually ate at McDonald’s for the first time since I was probably fifteen years old. Nothing cures homesickness quite like a Big Mac and a Coke. In all honesty, I still feel quite lost in this country, and to be perfectly truthful, I do not expect to ever feel as though I can navigate it successfully. Then again, success is a pretty nebulous term; I suppose success for an uncultured specimen such as myself, it pretty much just means that I lived.
We continued our company visits today, first with Jinsan Marine Management and then with Hyundai Heavy Industries. The former was more-or-less a supplier of pieces for ships, as well as a wholesaler. They are apparently a pretty big deal, but to be perfectly honest, their CEO lost me several times during his presentation. It was lengthy, and a lot was said, but I really think a lot of his meaning was lost in translation. Nevertheless, I appreciate him taking the time to meet with us, and I can also appreciate that it was such a different type of business than anything we had seen otherwise. Most of what we have seen in Korea is extremely sleek and futuristic; this felt blue-collar and industrial.
Hyundai Heavy Industries felt much the same way, but was far cooler. I have never seen a shipyard before, and I can still barely believe how large those ships were. Three hundred meters of steel, propellers as large as buildings, tens of cranes lifting massive pieces of metal into place; the whole atmosphere was a sight to behold. A three hundred meter long boat is something you just have to see to understand. Further, the history of Hyundai is exceptionally inspiring, and I am a complete sucker for feel-good stories. A man escapes his farm life, sells a cow, and starts one of the largest companies in the world; that’s nothing short of amazing.
Tomorrow we head top Hyundai Motor Group, and frankly, cars are much more my speed than boats. We also travel to Busan, our final destination; I’m excited to finish up.