Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DMZ take 2

Six of us boarded a bus to embark on a very surreal tour of the DMZ. Our first tour guide was speaking in Korean, and we were lucky to have Gillian with us, who promptly gave us the Welsh/Aussie version of what she was saying. As we arrived at our meeting point, we transferred to another bus, where we found our English speaking guide (T.G. or Buddha for that matter). We unfortunately could not got to Panmunjeom on such short notice so we settled for the tunnel, the observatory and the train station. All this aside, the area is highly controlled by the military, photos were limited to certain areas and our passports were checked upon entrance. You got the felling that tensions were pretty high. Cameras were not allowed in the tunnel. These two guys in front of me decided to risk it anyway. They were detained and escorted away from out group. The adventurer in me wanted so badly to cross that toll bridge, just to see what the other side looked like yet at the same time I knew that it would be the biggest mistake of my life. At the observatory we could see Caseon (Propaganda Village) a statue of Kim Il Seong and the flag pole (highest flagpole of any sovereign nation at 160M tall). You wondered if its been so long that the North Koreans are completely brainwashed into thinking that this was life, always at war or if they knew we were there gawking at them and they longed to join us? Of course in our case it was pouring (Fox Rain) which made things even more interesting.

On another note, I did find out what the Air Raid Siren sounded for yesterday. The American Embassy was taking part in an emergency operations drill. The siren sounded to signal the start of that drill. Wow, I wonder how many panicked. The museum staff certainly seemed to.

Ok- off to spend my last 24 hours in Seoul. More later!

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