Monday, September 27, 2010

Demilitarized Zone & North Korea

First stop on the tour: A train station they built (Dorasan Station) a few year back with a big hooplah and ceremony dedicated to uniting North and South Korea. Unfortunately, things didn't quite go to plan, and the train station, still fully functional, has remained unused for years.

The inside of the train station. I would have wandered further in but they don't let you past the turnstiles!

 My first view of North Korea! It is also North Korea's first view of me. See the they guy on the steps looking through binoculars? Awesome!

The standard picture of me throwin' up a peace sign in front of North Korea. The blue buildings behind me are UN conference buildings that straddle the border.

We were allowed in the blue building. We could even walk into the North Korean side! After a few minutes, we noticed that the North Korean guards had come REALLY close to the building. The guard in the picture above is literally 3 feet away from the South Korean border.

A picture of the South Korean guards in the building with us, with the North Korean soldier outside. I don't think they come this close to the border often, so people were keeping an eye on them.

Suddenly more soldiers starting lining up outside the window. This is the point where our tour guide started getting nervous!

When we were escorted out of the building we could see that they were giving a couple of North Koreans a tour of the Demilitarized Zone! 

After South Korea erected a large flagpole on their side of the border, North Korea retaliated by building a flapole almost twice as tall, with a flag that is something like 30m long.
We were also told that, when looking through binoculars, one can see that all of the buildings around the flagpole are uninhabited; in fact, the "windows" are simply black pieces of wood nailed into the cement walls.

Standard touristy shot.

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