The Most Anticipated Day: The DMZ

This was the most anticipated day for me out of the whole trip. We were on our way to the DMZ. It is crazy how there is such a major split between the two countries and how tense it is. Being the only one in the world, we were offered such a unique opportunity. We were able to walk up to this observatory that overlooked the DMZ. From there you could see the barbed wire fence running across the land and the definite split between the countries. I was actually looking at North Korea which many people cannot say. On the North Korean side there was no trees and this is because they cut them down so no one could hide. People would be hiding because of a South Korean invasion and they were using the bushes as cover or for North Koreans trying to escape into Korea. We then were able to walk through one of the tunnels created by the North Koreans for an invasion. The tunnel was 435 meters deep and 27 miles for Seoul and was very tiny in terms of width and depth. I had to crouch the whole time and it was extremely uncomfortable. It was designed to hold 30,000 small North Korean soldiers for a sneak attack on Seoul. South Korea found this tunnel and four more and every time North Korea would deny it was their doing and would try to direct the blame to South Korea which is quite funny.

However, I was a little disappointed because the JSA area, the Joint Security Area that has the blue houses where the diplomatic meetings take place was closed. Usually there can be tours of it where you actually get to stand in North Korea for like a second and I really wanted to be able to say that I stood in North Korea. Overall though it was really cool to be able to see this incredibly interesting location and be a part of this historic situation.

Afterwards we drove back into the Seoul and went on the Han River Cruise. It was a 40 minute boat ride that drove around the river that surrounded Seoul. It offered a pretty waterfront view of the city. Afterwards as a fun game our instructor Dr. Yun had the four groups do a competition. The groups were to race to the hotel and the first group to return back would win a free Korean BBQ dinner. We were not allowed to use any cell phones or taxis but would have to rely on asking locals and using the public transportation system. It was extremely fun and I loved the idea because it allowed us to explore the city and by not just using our phones. After about 55 minutes my group found the hotel but unfortunately got third place. Everyone still went to dinner together and Dr. Yun and Dr. Clarke very kindly paid for 50% of our dinner and still paid for the winning group. Once we returned to the hotel I was exhausted and called it a night.

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