I Live In Korea

My name is Ben Gwynne. I USED to teach English in Incheon, South Korea. Here's some photos, stories, videos, etc.

Sep 23, 2009

Demilitarized Zone 101

This past weekend I went to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea….

What is it?

The DMZ is a strip of land between South Korea and North Korea which neither country can enter. It is also referred to as the 38th parallel and is the most guarded border in the world.
* Taking pictures of soldiers is not permitted! (except for me)

Are you allowed to go there?

Only if you are with a tour operators. Joe USA or even Joe Korea cannot visit the section we went to. When you go you don’t need a passport, they don’t charge you money, ask you any questions, etc. You just go there, agree to not take any pictures of any military people (wink), and that’s it.

Why the hell did you go there, isn’t it dangerous? That Kim Jong Il is crazy!

It’s not dangerous, no more dangerous really than going to the Mexican……….nevermind. It’s not dangerous though, the strip of empty land is extremely wide (up to 2.5 miles at some points). So there are North Korean troops pretty far away, completely out of sight, and they are probably standing their doing nothing just like the South Korean troops were doing.

Sounds lame then, was there anything cool about it?

Yes, there were some cool things. We got to visit a 2 mile long tunnel that went from North Korea to South Korea. South Koreans didn’t discover this tunnel until 1975, so it was used by North Koreans to invade South Korea (I’m sure in North Korea they say the opposite though). The tunnel is “big enough that a tank can fit in it” (albeit a small one considering my head hit the ceiling on numerous occasions).

We got to visit an observation deck and from a distance could see North Korean military outposts with my diesel camera lens.

What else?

At night we had Korean BBQ, and someone on the trip brought Poi with her. Poi is popular in South East Asia, basically it involves dipping things in gasoline and twirling/spinning them around. I have no experience using the things she brought, however I am always game for a challenge that involves the possibility of getting seriously injured.

The next day we woke up and visited some memorials for South Korean troops, and then harvested some rice to get some legit Uncle Ben's.

Miscellaneous shots I took along the trip….

Oh yeah, I also went bungee jumping…..


Maggie said...

great blog! i'm definitely jealous of your adventures. i can't believe you can bungee jump without screaming.

Sunny said...

Ben Teacher, you have so much phototechnology!

How the f did you not drop the video camera?

Ben Gwynne said...

Thanks magster! And thanks Sunny! I tightly tied the camera cord around my wrist. I very very very very very smart!

Laprel said...

looking forward to the blog when Black is over there. Cant imagine the trouble you both will be getting into.

How did the S. Koreans never know a 2 mile long tunnel existed!?!

Ben Gwynne said...

I'm going to try and stay trouble free in Korea. Though considering what happened the last time Black and I hung out I guess there is cause for concern.

There's tunnels going from Mexico to the US as well that we don't know about. Every once in a while the DEA will find one which is used to transport drugs. It happens.