DMZ How I love Thee…Not

      The Tour Group Mini Bus picked me up at the Hostel then about 8 others and the tour guide a little past 11am on the way out of the city.  The tour guide explained we would meet up at the first stop at the Unification Center with a large group of Koreans and join them on a big bus as we visited the lookout point for near the DMZ then go on to the DMZ and visit a tunnel …the third of four tunnels that was discovered in 1978…the last discovered in 1990.  It was a nice ride into the country and as we got closer we were driving along the river that shared a border with North Korea.  Barbed wire fences were along the river along with guard houses overlooking the river.  This was in case the North decided to launch an invasion from under the river or on the river.  We crossed into the DMZ area and drove to the Unification Village where we were allowed to go pee and grab a snack before boarding the big bus to the Lookout point.

One of many Guard houses

Take a Guess…umm!

Breaded and deep fried corn on the cob.

Dry your dishes and pick up a waffle.

      First we had to visit a train station that used to be part of the Trans-Siberian Railway that went all the way across Asia…in WWII it was easy access for the Japanese that occupied Korea but after the Korean war it was closed.  It anticipation of reunification, it has been rebuilt and ready to go but not in operation. We stopped at the station for a brief visit.

Our Guide but difficult to hear.

One of my friends took the Blue line. She fought off an attempted rape in the middle of the night,

All Aboard

Future starting point of the Trans Continental Railroad

     When we arrived we had been told there was a yellow line that once you crossed it you were not supposed to take pictures only behind the line. You could have your camera confiscated.  When we arrived there were ROK soldiers everywhere.  They were mingling with the crowd and have pictures taken with the children (behind the line) and they were patrolling around the area.  I walked right across the line, up to the lookout and started taking pictures.  Duh.  I didn’t even see the line…even though I walked over it.  Then our tour guide ran over and told me to stop after I had over three pictures.  I quickly ran back behind the line and continued to take pictures of the soldiers with the children.  Then I ran out front and took some more of the building before boarding the bus for the final DMZ tour of the Pavilion and the tunnel.

Notice the Yellow Line…David did Not

Illegal Photo…see anything over in North Korea?

Illegal Photo

Too busy with photo op to notice David taking Pics

      When we arrived at the DMZ tunnel area I was warned the trip into the tunnel was steep and low. You had to bend over and it was close quarters.  The trip down didn’t bother me but the though of coming up a steep incline stooped over in this heat was not worth seeing a portion of the tunnel with the rest dynamited and closed. One other Philipino lady joined me while the other took to the tunnel.  I went the the DMZ pavilion to see some of the history of the DMZ.  We had already saw a brief 7 minute movie about the war and how the DMZ came about.  The last incident was when two North Korean soldiers Axed to death two American soldiers in 1978 at the DMZ.  I never remember that.

Entrance to the climb down tunnel…there is a tourist train that takes you in but we didn’t pay for that.

Finally we heading back to Seoul to my relief.  The tour bus dropped me at a stop near the subway .  I thought they were going to return me to the hostel where they picked me up.  No problem.
         I returned back to my neighborhood. The streets were a bustle of activity yet it was fairly quiet.  Very little street traffic off the main roads.  They were crowded with rush hour traffic.  50 Million people is the Provence of Seoul and around 12 million plus in the city.  When you are entering the city, you are surrounded by huge Hi Rise apartment buildings in every direction.  I couldn’t imagine living in one but that is getting to be the norm now days.  Small town life is scarce and becoming  too costly if the town has anything to offer.  Where do the children play?

          I visited a beautiful Coffee Cafe next door to the hostel. I had a Club Sandwich with  fresh ground and brewed Ethiopian Coffee…mild , medium or strong.  Each cup is individually ground to your taste then drip brewed and served in a porcelain cup.  It was all very good. I had been presented with a menu listing all the coffee they had…very extensive…and the different ways I could have my coffee ground, brewed and served.

Cotton Candy in a Cup

Awesome Coffee Shop

       David Holden, my rock star friend had responded to my request for a visit.  He is taking me out to dinner on Sunday…tomorrow.  Tonight he was performing in another concert and has two more this coming week that he invited me to.  Unfortunately I have to view them on You Tube as I will be in China by Wednesday.  I would have staying longer if I knew it was going to be this nice.  The weather has turned from  a Typhoon to beautiful somewhat warm Sunny days.  Tomorrow I’m returning to the downtown area and exploring another Palace and a beautiful pedestrian neighborhood. Monday, a lot of Touristy things are closed.

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