The DMZ Tour went well, as explained by what I did and didn't do:
1) Didn't get shot
2) Didn't start a war
3) Did see a North Korean officer spying on the capitalist, tourist pigs. And being good tourists, we all took pictures of him!
By the way, I'm standing in North Korea in the first picture. Despite our casual smiles in these pictures, you could definitely feel the tension in the air. As you would expect, the soliders in the DMZ were very serious. They reminded me of a couple Army guys I know who've been in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly these were guys you don't want to mess with.
That big white building in the background .... that's North Korea.
And those blue buildings behind Erik .... they're shared territory. The Demarcation Line (the line that splits the 2 Koreas) runs right through the middle of them.
A quick history lesson on the DMZ. At the end of WWII, Korea was taken from under Japanese control and was divided between America and Russia. After a short time, both superpowers agreed to pull out. About this time, the North decided to speed the reunification process by conquering the South. And they almost did. But the South called for help and the US and a dozen other countries answered and pushed the NK back to the border with China.
Then the North called for help. And a million Chinese troupes came pouring over the border. They pushed pushed the US-SK army back to the current boundary, where the lines stabilized. A cease fire was then signed (NOT a peace treaty). This is why the two Koreas are still technically at war. They agreed to create an area 2k from each side of the dividing line, called the Demarcation Line, as a demilitarized zone. And thus we come to the present and the tragedy it has produced.
Barbed wire, mines by the millions and the most heavily armed border in the world
60 years of seperation
The Bridge of No Return. So named because at the cease fire, prisoners of war were given one chance to choose which Korea to live in. And once they chose to cross or stay, there was no return.