On Saturday we decided to go the DMZ. The DMZ is the area between North and South Korea. It is actually a very interesting area. Seoul is only 35 miles away from Seoul and as you drive up north you drive along the border. There is a fence on the side of the highway with guards posted every 100 feet. They are making sure that people are swimming across the river.
The DMZ tour was interesting for a couple reasons. First of all our tour guide Angela was hysterical. She was telling us stories about how North Korea has been trying assassinate S.K official but fail every single time. It was a very interesting tail.
When you arrive at the DMZ you have to go through a military check point where they check the passports, though I am pretty sure they do that just for the tourists. Then we started to drive towards this train station. As we drive, we pass "freedom village". Freedom village is inside the DMZ but they get some great perks. First they do not have to pay any bills, they dont have to pay taxes, they live rent free and i am pretty sure they get a small check every month. Of course the downside is the whole living in the DMZ. There is another village that was called hope village or something.
So the first stop was this trainstation. It is a station that is supposed to connect North and South but that has been put on hold. So right now its just this huge and beautiful trainstation, that is not being used at all. It did have the nicest bathrooms I have seen so far in Korea!
After the station we headed off to the 3rd tunnel. In the 70s S.K started to find these tunnels that connected the two sides. It was discovered that N. Korea was probably planning to bring their troops through for an attack. So they these tunnels have been found and the 3rd tunnel is the biggest. All the tunnels have been cut off so now you can go for a visit in it! So we rode down the tunnel in the "roller coaster", their name not ours. On this roller coaster we had to wear helmets which we thought was funny until we started walking. As we walked in the tunnel we had to keep ducking, which was okay for everyone except Todd. He smacked his head 3 times, one time so much that it stopped all the tourists. On the way back up we walked which was the hardest 10 minute hike of my life.
After the tunnel we had to watch this video. It was one of the craziest movies ever. First it starts with this rapid video flashing which did nothing for my hangover. Then there was a little girl who was crying as she sits in a land mine field. They then go through all the history of the two Koreas. Then they explain that in the last few years there have been major changes with the friendship pact. Then a butterfly comes down and starts to make the barbwire disapear, and the mines and all the war like things. The next thing the butterfly did was make benches pop up. The video then explains who Korea when reunified will show everyone in the world how to live in peace......um
I am going to assume that this was down when someone was on a lot of drugs one night and could not have guessed that North Korea was going to set off a bunch of nukes this week....
Anyways after the crazy propaganda video we headed to this big hill where you can looking N. Korea. Its actually very silly but hey it in was interesting. We paid 50cents to look through really high powered telescopes to look in to the villages, it was a little creepy.
So that was more or less the DMZ tour. It was a little silly and I feel like it marginalized the conflict just a bit. But I am glad that I went on it. There aren't many pictures though because they would not let us take pictures in more places, in case we were spies, but the ones I did take are pretty funny!