Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hello all, I apologize for leaving my blog in a mire of desuetude and neglect as I trounce about Korea, but I finally have another chance to do some bloggy mcblogblog.

The DMZ tour (the approximately 4 kilometer wide de-militarized zone between North and South Korea for those of you unfamiliar with the term) was unbelievable. The North Koreans actually excavated four tunnels (headed for Seoul) to move troops and supplies (the aptly dubbed "invasion tunnels"), which the South Koreans did not discover until the late 1970s, and the last one was not even found until 1990. I actually got to go down about 265 meters into the third invasion tunnel, where I was literally standing in the DMZ (well, technically underneath it). If anybody has ever seen the James Bond movie "Die Another Day", you might remember part of the plot involves using a concentrated beam of light from a reflective satellite in orbit to destroy all the land mines in the DMZ (they have only found and disarmed about 30% of the mines there) to create a path for North Koreans to invade. The portrayal of the DMZ in the movie is of a barren, stark desert, and completely encased by barbed wire, which is what I expected to see as I poked my head over the wall. The reality is something quite different; it is a lush and verdant field, covered in trees and other vegetation, and if you can block out the guard towers scattered across the area, it's actually quite serene. That juxtaposition of nearly unadulterated forest beset with instruments of war is something truly awe-inspiring, and were I able to take any pictures of the scene I would gladly share them with anyone. If anyone reading this blog is ever in Seoul, it would behoove you to take a tour of the DMZ.

Speaking of pictures being off limits, for those of you sneering to yourselves, saying "well dude, why not just shield yourself and shoot some shots from the hip", I actually considered such a course...until I saw a Korean girl try something similar, only to have an MP appear and quickly confiscate her camera. That was all the dissuasion I needed.

The past few days I've been going between Daegu and Cheongdo (a bit outside of Daegu), although yesterday I went to the east coast of Korea, to the beach! We actually got chicken delievered, right next to the shoreline! Cheongdo is where Jeff's mom's house is (where we have stayed a few nights), and connected to it the Joy Full Restaurant she, and other members of Jeff's family run. I tried the Korean stout offering (Hite Stout), though what the Koreans call a stout, we would probably consider to be something on the order of a black lager. Definitely darker than a regular Hite, and most of the Korean beers, but not as dark as a stout.

My stay in Korea and visit to Japan have been a momumental life experience, and I can hardly believe it's almost over, and that I have to return to life in the US, where now I get to be a college student all over again.

By the way, once I get back to the States (maybe on Wednesday if I have time), I am going to work to get all my pictures uploaded to some kind of internet repository, as now I don't have the time or resources to make that happen. Ideally, I will be able to enact some method of organization, so anyone who cares to view them will have some measure of context. Alright, time to get going to tonight, see ya'll later.

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