Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crossing to the Other Side

A tour to the DMZ or Joint Security Area (JSA) was on the list of things to do in Korea and it was certainly an eye opener. So many rules about what you could photograph and walking in lines it was a little scary.

The Han river has no boats on it (apart from a few little fishing boats) because the Delta where it meets the sea is split into North & South Korean ownership. There is barbed wire and fences all along it.

We got to wear these badges when in the DMZ so hopefully we wouldn't get shot at - it worked I guess.

This village - which is on the North Korean side is called Propaganda Village as until a few years ago there were loudspeakers playing propoganda 24 hours a day which could be heard at the South Korean side. This flagpole is the biggest in Korea and the flag is 36m long and weighs 600lbs. Apparently if you can get to North Korea and get a piece of it then it would sell on ebay for a fortune.The only people who live there are those few who change the lightbulbs and move the flag (which takes 50 people). You can tell I am more interested in the odd details like this rather than the politics.

The village itself is a fake - the buildings are all just shells with a lightbulb in which lights it (evidently gets darker at the bottom)

This it the North Korean building. The blue huts are owned by the UN although they are used by both. The line between the buildings is the border between North and South and is also marked in the room under the table.

When we were allowed to stand on the steps and look straight at the North Korean soldiers (and not to communicate with them at all) you suddenly realised it was more than just boys playing with their toys. They took lots of photos of us as well and if you look carefully at the curtains in this hut you can see them looking out at us as well.

We were able to cross over to their side inside this hut (line down the middle of the floor (under the table) and it actually felt quite strange.

This building is owned by the North and the UN soldiers were taking photos of the people inside who were taking photos of us.

The South Korean army soldiers stand guard exactly half exposed to the North Koreans (less of a target) - boring job I think.

Food - this is ginsing in a bottle - looks prehistoric doesn't it?

You can buy rice grown in the DMZ but I didn't fancy carrying a 20kg sack home.

These were in our local supermarket which we explored looking for a snack. Packaging rules here.

Fancy a game of tennis?

1 comment:

MG Quilts said...

Entirely too cool. I am so jealous.