Tuesday, December 2, 2008

DMZ - Part One

The best way to tour the DMZ is through the USO. We were very impressed with how organized and informative the tour was. We had to be in Seoul by 7:15 am. to get checked in at the USO office at Camp Kim in Seoul. We were told which bus to report to and at what time. We ended up with about a half hour wait.

The trip took about an hour and we arrived at Camp Bonifas which is the base camp for the United Nations Command Security Force - Joint Security Area. It is located 400 meters south of the southern boundary of the Demilitarized Zone.
We were given a briefing in Ballinger Hall prior to visiting the JSA (Joint Security Area). We were allowed to take pictures during this briefing. We were also told that we would be told when pictures were allowed and when they would not be.
The picture above is of the current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il and the picture on the right is of his father.

We had to sign a document and I didn't read it so I couldn't tell you what it said. We went back into the bus and proceeded to the JSA.

This was our U.S. guide for Camp Bonifas. He briefed us on how we should conduct ourselves (no gesturing to the North Korean solders) and pointed out what each building was in the area.

You can see the North Korean solder underneath the sign. They added the third level to be taller than the building we exited out of.

A South Korean soldier standing in a Tae Kwon Do ready position. He never moved.

Cameras watching everything.

This is a North Korean building. We were told that North Korean soldiers will mock and gesture to South Korea soldiers from time to time.

Better view of a North Korean soldier. I heard that the North Korean soldiers must serve for 12 years and that North Korea puts the sons of wealthy (if there is such a thing) families in the DMZ because they would be less likely to defect. Their families would be severely punished.

Another view of the North Korean building.

Inside the JSA, we were standing in North Korea. This is the table where talks between the two Koreas occur.

Curt (hubby) with a South Korean soldier and he is standing in North Korea.

North Korean soldier.

We had to get a picture of us in North Korea.

That's me with the South Korean soldier. Nobody else would get close to the soldier. They said it was fine as long we we didn't go behind him.

The Korean soldiers also wear ball bearings sewn into their pant cuffs which ching when they walk. It is meant to sound like there are many of them. Part two coming.


Helena said...

That would be fascinating and very weird at the same time.

I hope to go to North Korea some day. (Not any time soon!) I'd love to visit the Diamond mountain range.

CreekHiker said...

Wow Becky, I had no idea. Very interesting post!

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