Sunday, February 24, 2013

I've Got Two Tickets to Paradise...

Alright, it's technically not paradise it's North Korea but hey...semantics!

This weekend, as part of our H.U.A.S.K.B.W.L.B.I.N.L.W.B.L.H.F.O.A.Y.A., "hurry-up-and-see-Korea-before-we-leave-because-it's-not-like-we've-been-living-here-for-over-a-year-already", weekly excursions, Daric and I took a tour of the DMZ and JSA here in South Korea. The DMZ is the De-Militarized Zone and the JSA is the Joint Security Area. It's where a bunch of important, cool stuff happened way back when and happens sometimes in the recent present. I don't want to bore anyone with the details but if you don't know what I'm talking about there's this magical invention called "Google". I highly recommend it. Moving on...

The tour is *supposed* to be for anyone over the age of 11 years old so the kids didn't get to go but at the very least Akira could have gone since there was a kid, around the age of Riley, on the tour with us. ( get me again a-hole!) Daric and I were looking forward to the tour since it's been on our Korean Bucket List since before we got here. If you ever are stationed in Korea, or visiting, I highly recommend taking the tour. It's amazing! I'm also a history nerd so things like that fascinate me. There were many parts of the tour where picture taking wasn't allowed so someone get on inventing a device that can tap into my memories and record them like a movie, stat! Thanks.

not a coal miners daughter
Part of our tour was the 3rd Tunnel, the above picture was taken there. It was so cool yet at the same time I hated it! Explanation for the hate is as follows: I am incredibly out of shape, we walked down about 350 meters which means we had to walk back up those same 350 meters but the best part...IT WAS AN 11% SLOPE!!!! I dare you to put that on your treadmill. Now you understand why I would not like that part of the tour so much. But I'm merely making a joke, I loved the entire day, every last grueling part of it! Yes my jacket was soaking wet (with sweat, yummy!) for the rest of the day since we did that first, yes I wasn't sure if I would be able to climb the stairs in any of the other places we went, yes by the time the bus dropped us back off to our starting point I was beyond exhausted but if I had to do it all over again tomorrow you better believe I would! Fine...maybe not tomorrow or even next week, I'm not sure how long it's going to take for me to recover. *wink* I'm actually not hurting much, my shins are killing me but I think I walk funny so... (sorry train of thought derailed there, forgot where I was going with that)

We also went to the JSA which meant in the conference room we were able to stand in North Korea. The atmosphere there was different than anywhere else on our tour. I could feel it but I can't describe it...surreal? That might be a good enough word. It was something to behold that's for sure. Outside the conference room we were allowed to stand in front of the JSA main building, Freedom House, and take pictures of the North Korean version of the Freedom House. We brought the good lenses for the camera so I was able to zoom in on the North Korean guard outside the building and the camera that was pointed at all of us in the window next to where he was standing. I didn't get the camera out in time to get a picture of the guard looking at us through his binoculars but I did catch him yawning. I think that's a better picture anyhow.

mid-yawn & spy status to the left

 We had lunch at Dorasan train station which is the last train station in South Korea or as they like to say, "Not the last station from the South, but the first station toward the North". This is where we were able to purchase our tickets to "paradise". It was only 1,000 won for two tickets, roundtrip. As of publish date on this entry $1 = 1,085KRW so both our tickets were roughly 90¢...yup. We got to stamp our ticket with a souvenir stamp showing the station name plus the destination of Pyeongyang, North Korea, the first station you'd reach if you were allowed to ride the train into North Korea.

Dorasan Station's motto
North Korea bound...someday...
no really, it's a good restaurant
my bibimbap which was DELICIOUS

for 25K won it better be good for me!

Daric's "BBQ" which was really bulgogi

I have tons more photos but that's going to be all I upload here. If you're my Facebook friend you'll get to enjoy all the pictures of our day, we took 477! Alright, maybe not all but let me get them edited then I will post them for your viewing pleasure. If you're not my Facebook to be you cause I'm awesome!!

And on that note, goodnight, morning or afternoon where ever you are in the world from our history "buff" family to yours!

Seoul sunset

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