Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DMZ- stands for demilitarized zone

Here we are!  On a cold November day.  minus Ammon, who is too young for the tour.
This was pretty amazing to see. A must if you come to Korea.
You see, they have found four tunnels built by the North Koreans all leading to Seoul. Crazy.
Who knows how many more there are.  That's a scary thought.
Isn't it crazy how close Seoul the biggest South Korean city is to the DMZ? 
 It is hard to believe we live, work, play in such comfort while just a few miles away 
these poor people live such a different life of suffering and oppression.

You can walk down the tunnel, but our tour included the tram down.
I am not so sure that was a bonus.
If you are claustrophobic you will definitely want to skip this one.
I am a little, but I fought through it. ha.
These tunnels are so deep down it is amazing and small.
We had to bend over to not hit our heads most of the time.
Only the older ajimas could walk upright. ha.
Do you like the hats we had to wear?  You needed them.

Look at the entrance to the tunnel.  This was the widest opening.  You should have seen all
the big and tall Americans in there.  You are rubbing the side walls and having to duck it is so low in places.  Only in Asia.  I love how things don't have to be to American codes. ha.
(more on that later. smile)
Anyway, it was quite the trip down.  Then you walk down the tunnel to where they barricaded the walk to the North Korean side of the country.

This picture was in the information center.  There was a lot of cool information, history, and relics to see.  For more amazing pictures inside the tunnel and explanations about each one go here

close by is Dorasan station.  There is this brand new huge subway stop, that goes 
quite a few stops into North Korea.  It operated for a very short time. Steps
were made toward reunification, but North Korea is well........crazy.
I bought a train ticket.  You know, for when they are up and running again.

Freedom bridge at sunset.  It was amazing.
and emotional.
These pictures that were hanging on the wall by the bridge were some of the most 
heartbreaking that i have ever seen.
You really have to read those books I suggested.  They are so good!
(Taken from the bus window on our ride home.)  
They still man and patrol the entire boundary and all along the river. Not a fun job. 
 Especially in the cold.  BRRR.  Seoul has that wet go right through you kind of cold.

Seoul looked so melancholy on the way home, just like I was feeling.
While I am sad for North Korea's hunger and oppression.  They still do 
have families.  Which equals love.  They enjoy a much simpler life.  Life is a struggle, 
but it is simple.  Most of the North Koreans who have defected to South Korea say they 
would not leave N. Korea if they could go back in time. They struggle with the guilt of 
leaving family (and what probably happened to their family. death or concentration camps).
They are overwhelmed by the complexity of this modern world that is
so foreign to them.  They have an extremely difficult transition.
They go through a 6 month program provided by the government here to 
be able to function and to undo all the brain washing.
Plus their educations aren't to the modern standards, and they struggle for jobs.
They also are smaller due to malnutrition.
So many things. So hard. But if anyone can make a reunification work, 
it is the Koreans.


this is a satellite picture of Korea at night.  The south is all lit up with a large concentration
in Seoul.  Then look at the North.  Nothing.  It is almost completely dark
except for the capitol city.  No electricity.
I really hope the light of freedom comes to them soon.

 Until then, I think Jacob might just have to take his turn on border control. ha.

Ok, so it is 1:10am, and there have been loud planes, bugle calls, sirens, and artillery fire all night.
Yes, it is an exercise.  I don't think Ammon should ever join the army.  If he were 
ever in a real battle, he might just sleep through it.
It seems like we should feel unsafe here, but I have never felt safer in my life. 

Bedtime.  Tomorrow bright and early we are going to the Italian embassy
to get our visas!  I hope dave is driving. ha.

Buona notte cari amici!


Anonymous said...

interesting. i don t know anything about the dmz ? area. neat that you could go. history is always fascinating. xoxo

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