Korea: DMZ trip

 

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I think the DMZ is a place where there is still a lot of pain and determination for control on both sides.  It is the only DMZ – demilitarized zone- in the world, due to a cease-fire over 60 years ago now. Though it was been turned into a split state of military force, painful memory and moments, and a tourist destination. It seems odd that this is a place people would go, on a school trip or historian trip defiantly a place to go, but on a holiday its a bit weird. I was very interested in visiting it as its a once in a life time opportunity, but also because of the history behind it.

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our guide was an american military officer, it was strange because on all tourist destinations and tours there usually just run by a tour guide or group. So to be somewhere where it requires an escort by military force shows how unstable the border still is. As can be seen by the picture above there are several south korean soldiers who are called “rock soldiers” they sever for 21 months. They really do look like rocks too they stay perfectly still and all wear black sunglasses so you are unable to see there eyes, one of the ways to show power. The american soldiers who live in the JSA and serve on the border have a station of 12 months.

The stories we were told while on the tour were both horrifying and yet pretty petty. The 2 flag poles; South putting theirs up first as it was a gift, it stood 100 meters tall, then the north putting theirs up of 160 meters high. The flag poles are probably the one thing that remains the same height as they were originally built. Where as everything else was changed to become equal height, whether it was the guard posts, or even the two buildings that stand opposite each other, in the photo above the building in the background is the north korean building, when it was first built it stood higher then the south korean building did, in some way of trying to show that the north was more powerful and better then the south. The south then rebuilt there building to stand at the exact same height as the north korean building as to so they were equal in power with them but chose not to build any higher so this seemingly petty “Battle” would continue. This seemed quite funny, almost like an older brother always being taller then there young sibling and constantly showing that.

I think one thing that we seemed to be blissly unaware of was how dangerous a place we were actually in, we all kind of giggled when we first saw the american military on our tour bus with his side arm strapped to he waist. We all found it pretty funny and the same time being scared out of our minds when our tour bus stalled and started to roll down the side of the mountain that just happened to have mine fields on both sides. I guess being on a tour with a bunch of tourist and a guide that you’d think those things wouldn’t be real but in a place like that they have to be. it was a little scary, though i think most of us just laughed it off.

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