Sunday, June 29, 2008

USO DMZ Tour

As I sort through the 500+ photos/videos of MC's trip, I'll slowly but surely work on some of the highlights. I'd start with the food posts, but I'm still somewhat incapacitated. It's hard to look at food, nor keep it down, after having foolishly eaten more than a couple pieces of beef a couple days ago. There's nothing wrong with the cows here - it's just that my stomach hasn't been used to beef consumption for about a decade... and I think I'll keep it that way from now on . : /

That having been said, why not start with the DMZ?

We took a tour with the United Services Organization (USO). Their Korean website is a bit outdated so if you're looking to book tickets, I'd recommend calling (+82) 02-7913-4102, as they only do tours on select days and departure times change depending on the day. Alternatively, you can visit the USO office at Camp Kim, a short walk from 삼각지역 (Samgakji Station). The total cost is around $44 for civilians and about half that if you have a military ID.

One fun thing about Camp Kim is their canteen... can't get much more "American diner" than this.



The food isn't particularly good, but it's dirt cheap, and you can find things like grilled cheese, fries, Diet Coke, Snapple, and the best part? Reese's peanut butter cups!



We started off by getting a glimpse of North Korea from afar...



Then stopped off for lunch. Although the restaurant has a variety of options, you're only allowed to choose between bulgogi or bibimbap, as the tour guide calls in the orders before you arrive. Here's a picture of MC's $10 bulgogi... I'd recommend bringing a sack lunch instead.



Next, we visited the 3rd Tunnel, discovered in 1978 and designed by the North Koreans for an attack on Seoul. No photography was allowed in the tunnel, but you can see what it looks like here.



The best part of the tour though, was entering Camp Bonifas, and making our way to the Joint Security Area (JSA), as well as seeing the Bridge of No Return and site of the Axe Murder Incident.



On the soldier's left side, you technically step into North Korea. On the right, you're still in South Korea. (Just don't attempt to go behind the ROK soldier who guards the door to North Korea or prepare to be taekwondo-chopped like a certain someone *cough cough*.)



The South Korean soldiers wear Ray Bans with that stance to intimidate the North Koreans. It's amazing to see soldiers from both Koreas facing each other here... you have to wonder what's going on in their minds.



A North Korean soldier scopes out us tourists with his binoculars.



The Bridge of No Return.



View of North Korea's propaganda village (no one lives here, it's all for show) and the world's tallest flagpole.



North Korean currency.



And finally, videos from the tour...





5 comments:

Daniel Gray said...

hmmm...cool. Hey did you go on Friday, I had a friend go on Friday and she went to the USO beforehand.

Sushi Hyo pictures are coming tomorrow^^

Dan

Richard said...

That's really cool. Ive been to the 3rd tunnel, but never JSA. I was with a Korean family so they couldnt take me to the JSA.

Eh..that bulgogi...it doesnt quite look the right color. I hope you didnt eat that as your adventure into red meat!..if your going to get sick over it..at least make sure you get good stuff :)

Cheri said...

Nope, went on Tues!

As for the meat... no, I didn't touch that bulgogi, heh. It was the good stuff that got me sick, but not the meat's fault, just mine. >_<

dogdogdog said...

heh, I visited the DMZ from the OTHER side. That was a trip :)

Richard said...

That just means you need to eat some more of the "good stuff" :)

Build up your tolerance to red meat!