Monday, December 7, 2009

My DMZ Trip

(Guest posting, written by a friend of ours. B has coded him General Eikenberry.)

So I woke up this morning very much still intoxicated. I talked to Tex in the car and she gave me a farewell, have fun...kind of talking to. I can't remember everything that was discussed during that conversation verbatim...however, I do remember laughing a lot.

Anyways, I am now on a bus on my way to do some vicarious living because I am such a nice person. With that said, I am going to attempt a nap on the way to my destination...the "DMZ".

Wake up damnit...we are here.

Between countries, there are three security perimeters. The first one is an anti-tank well that runs from coast to coast. The second is a live mine field that runs from coast to coast. The third is a chain link fence with a guard every 100-200 meters. There are also rocks placed into the links of the fence. These are tamper devices, if the fence has been tampered with then a rock will fall and a passing guard will notice.

There are 126 white stakes to show the military border.

X number of years ago, the North Koreans wanted to add a third level to their freedom house to block the old one located just behind it. When this came about, North and South Koreans held many many meetings with engineers to ensure that the measurements for the freedom houses located on each side of the border were exactly the same height.

The military guy...whom we will call Soldier because that is what he is...keeps saying to not point or make gestures. Supposedly the North Koreans take offense to this and might start shooting or something and we don't want that...might break the camera. It got a bit annoying. The thing that was annoying wasn't that he kept saying it, but that he kept saying it because people don't effen' listen. Anyways, on each side of the border, the soldiers are present outside while the tours are going on. However, when the tours are not at the border, the ROK Army soldiers return inside of the freedom house. I am not 100% sure but it appears that the North Koreans keep bodies outside such as on the roof, all times. The soldier said that it was not necessary for us to do this because we have more than enough cameras at this location.

As for the tours, there are 7 English tours, 6 Japanese tours, and 6 Korean tours...every day!

Between the North and South Korean Freedom Houses, there are conference rooms. These rooms are centered and built on the border. When inside these conference rooms, representatives sit on their respective sides. Believe it or not, there is a line down the middle of the table, room, and building.

In 1984 a soldier made a dash to S. Korea through the small tower, which once stood where the freedom house now stands. This was followed by a 20 minute firefight. This firefight took place on the grassy area where the statue/monument stands...called the sunken gardens.

National Geographic has done many surveys of the area that hasn't been touched by man in Korea in 50 years. They have found over 2900 types of plants/wildlife. One of the odd creatures is known as the vampire deer. Instead of antlers, they grow tusks in front of their mouths, which they use to root around on the ground. Also, they are almost completely blind. They can not see clearly past five feet. So these animals tend to run at you to see you better.

We have found 4 tunnels so far, we are going to tunnel 3 which is 73 feet under ground. These tunnels are 2 meters wide and narrower at some points. It really sucks for tall people as well because the tunnels are low in height. The way that the tunnels were found was...

The South Koreans heard noises under the ground. They then filled up the area with water to study it and the water drained out. Therefore they began to dig. When they dug, they found the first tunnel. This tunnel was found in 1974, it was 2 km from the DMZ. It is believed that there are still more tunnels.

We walked down 358 meters at an angle to get into the third tunnel. The walk down/ up is very steep.

OMG...are we there yet? So...we finally made it into the tunnel. Now we are ducking the low ceilings. I have been hunched over for quite some time now.

To build the tunnels they used dynamite sticks evenly spaced out, so the roof is very jagged. We reached the other end of the tunnel. At the end, there is a locked metal door with a gun hole for shooting. Ok...time to head back up.

Fucking shit hole...I just power walked the whole way up. Talk about an effen' work out. I am now sweating my ass off and my legs are pissed. Regardless, it was an awesome work out. I must say that when I reached the world again, that first step on level ground was amazing.

Thinking back on what I just said...I would like to clarify that my legs were pissed as in mad...I did not walk so fast that I pee'd all over my legs.

Ooooh, video...

North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. The war lasted 3 yrs and 1 month. Then a cease fire treaty agreement was created.

The DMZ is undergoing a new development for the preservation.

Just finished lunch, I had bulgolgi again. It was good but I think what I ate the other night was better because of the sauce that was used. Alright, now a pit stop and then to the observation platform.

So, we are almost to the platform and the woman told us that we can only take photos on the platform, not from within the building. Also, while on the platform, we can only take photos from behind the line...not in front of it.

On the North side of the border, there are roughly 35,000 laborers employed. These workers make clothing, shoes, watches, and small electronics. These items are then imported into South Korea and sold in the markets. These workers only get a salary of about five dollars.

In North Korea there are around 200 statues of their leader. They believe that Kim Sung Chun (or whatever his name is) is the greatest leader of all time.

Holy shit, I am standing in South Korea...watching it snow in North Korea.'s coming this way. Gotta get out of here.

So, I attempted to take a photo from behind the line but it is too far from the wall on the edge of the mountain. I held the camera up but I was a no-go at this station. I did get some good photos of the bell on the mountain. I am glad that I got to see this because I have seen many souvenirs of this bell and now...I know where it is.

So, my adventure has come to an end...we are back on the bus heading to Seoul. It was an interesting day.


All in all...the Koreans in the North and the South struggle for power! It is all about being better. That is why they keep things the same. Such as the flag sizes, building heights...blah blah blah. By doing this it leaves no margin for one side to come up with a reason to get pissed.

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