Actually, this is the DMZ post. heh. Didn’t want that last one to be an obnoxiously long post.
I left Daejeon with some friends on the weekend of the 13th–very early Saturday morning. We took the train to Seoul and met up for our 9am tour at the USO office. We left a big bus with about 30-40 others in our group.
Blech. I really don’t want to write out all of this. Probably why I’ve been procrastinating.
Anyway, I went to the border between North and South Korea (and stood across the line for a few minutes!–I was in a UN building, so all was fine.)
Our tour guide was kind of terrible because she kept apologizing about her poor English and seemed shy and embarrassed. Which, I’m usually a pretty understanding person, especially in a foreign country…but, why be a tour guide then? If you’re shy and nervous and think your English is crap…why give a tour to 40 English speakers? ESPECIALLY if we’re paying $80-90 a person. How is that fair? I went so I could learn more about the area (and to step into N. Korea), and she didn’t tell us any stories or anything (as with other guides) because she was too embarrassed.
It’s kind of a weird area because they have gift shops and such at the DMZ area…and it’s technically a war zone…weird.
However, I felt the tension more when we went to the JSA (Joint-Security Area) where you can actually see the line that divides the two sides and each country has soldiers guarding the border. They also have you sign a waiver before you can go visit that portion (and not all tours go up this far.)
They also have rules that prevent you from taking pictures in certain directions or against making gestures or pointing when you’re out on the steps looking at N. Korea because apparently they can use that as propaganda.
Interesting tour and another thing off my list, but I REALLY wish that I had a better tour guide so I could have learned more.
*me at the DMZ building–there’s a historical museum and the entrance to The Third Tunnel (which we got to go in)
*me at the JSA (standing next to a S. Korean soldier–apparently the highest honor. Best marks in school, military and a black belt in at least 3 forms of martial arts)
*me on the steps of the building facing N. Korea. (Only could face cameras straight ahead). So that building was actually in North Korea.