One of the first surreal experiences of the trip was a tour of the DMZ. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a swath of land cutting across the Korean Peninsula, separating the north from the south. Its an area meant to buffer the tensions between the two countries, which are technically still at war. The tour itself was about 7 hours and was fascinating, strange, and eerie all at the same time. We got a lot closer to the border than I thought we would be able to. Actually, we got to cross the border briefly when we entered one of the blue conference rooms below. We were accompanied by both US and Korean soldiers.
We also got to tour the Third Tunnel of Aggression, a tunnel designed for a surprise attack by North Korea. It was discovered by the South in 1978 and there are thought to be up to 20 more undiscovered passages. The tunnel was dark. And very tunnely.
View of the North Korean Visitors Center as seen from the steps of the South Korean Visitors Center.
Top: Kjong-dong, the North Korean Propaganda Village, left: Republic of Korea soldier, right: diorama showing digging of tunnels from the North to the South.
Top left: me and Greg, North Korea in the background. Top right: my family, uncles and cousins on the tour. Bottom pictures: We could look at North Korea from the balcony of an observatory, but could only take pictures from behind the photo line.