Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DMZ – Demilitarized Zone

We finally got in an actual tourist group to visit the DMZ! The DMZ is the Demilitarized Zone, or the border of North and South Korea. It was an all day journey and had some pretty strict rules as far as taking pictures went. I didn’t bring my nice camera, so you’ll have to make do with the pictures my dad took on my smaller point-and-shoot camera.

First, our tour guide was absolutely the cutest woman on earth. She was really excited and wanted to share the history with everyone. She was always very chipper and happy. When we started on our way, we first headed to a monument area honoring a few different individuals who served Korea. I’ll post those pictures below.

After this stop, we went to the freedom bridge and saw the old metro line that was used to enter North Korea. It’s no longer in use, but the tracks are still there. We went to the end of the Freedom Bridge where messages and flags are hanging on the dividing barbed wire fence.

We then saw the steam engine that used to cross into Korea. It’s incredibly old, but so huge.

We had lunch at a traditional Korean place, and it was really good. We got to talk to the other people on the tour bus with us, one who was a girl from the UK, another man from Ireland, and a family from L.A. The father was Asian Dave. I say that because he was so much like my uncle Dave, but Asian. He and his family were really nice and loved to talk to us, so we all had a good meal together.

After that, we went into the joint meeting room between North and South Korea. There, we actually crossed over into North Korea on one side of the room. We were able to take pictures with some of the South Korean guards who were there for our safety. The picture below is of mom with one of the guys, on the North Korean side. The guards were incredibly intimidating (which is exactly what they were supposed to be), but really amazing.

We were led out of the room and able to take pictures of the outside. The big grey building is North Korea.
Peekabo, I see you too. The visible North Korean soldier was watching through binoculars. If you look to his left and to the bottom of the window, you can see another pair of binoculars. That was another guard inside watching and filming what was going on.

These were the only photos that we could get in the area, but it was an amazing experience. If you ever come to Korea, I’d definitely say it’s something you have to do.

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