Sunday, July 31, 2011

DMZ Part 1

Marshall and I took an all day ITT (Information, Tickets, and Travel) trip up to the DMZ last week.  The ITT office offers trips to many different places all over Korea, and are very affordable. The great part about these trips is that they take care of all the travel arrangements for you, and offer tour guides.  Since I can't possibly remember all the great info that we learned on our trip, I'm going to post a few links, and you can read some of it for yourself.

Having just finished reading Still Life With Rice, this trip was perfectly timed.  This book is fantastic (I highly recommend it!), and helped me come to a greater understanding about what life was like in Korea during the time of the Korean War.  The Korean people have truly been torn apart, and have overcome so much.  Just riding through Seoul on our tour bus, I am amazed at how successfully and quickly South Korea has rebounded from being nearly destroyed.  From everything I have heard and seen, the Korean people want nothing more than to have their entire country united once again, but most of all they want peace.  I hope in my lifetime this happens for them.

The first stop on our trip was at Imjingak Resort.  This is a park filled with monuments and displays, right along the border of the DMZ.  This park is visited by millions of South Koreans each year who come to pray for their lost family members and ancestors buried in North Korea, and to pray for reunification.  They look across the border at the land they cannot visit, and the people they may never see again.

This is a giant bell, waiting to be rung to celebrate reunification.

There is a wall full of stones from different places all over the Earth that have been at war, and now are at peace.

Some of the stones in the Peace Wall.  There is one from Massachusetts, honoring the Revolutionary War in the US.

These are ribbons tied onto the fence separating the two countries.  Each ribbon contains a prayer for a loved one still in North Korea, an ancestor buried there, or a prayer for peace.

This one is in English.  "Pray for God's grace and His peace be upon North Korea".

The park is right next to railroad tracks that run all the way up to the border of North Korea, but are not allowed to cross.  This old train was one originally that used to make the trip across the border, before the two countries were separated.  If the border was opened, trains would be able to travel all the way to China and beyond, like they could before the border was closed.

The South Korean guard actually looks nicer than Marshall.

This bridge goes right up to the edge of the Imjin River bridge,until 1998 it was the only bridge that still crossed the Imjin River into North Korea (of course you are not allowed to cross it).

Fountain shaped like the unified Koreas.

It was a hazy day, but you can see the bridge crossing the Imjin River.  At the end of the Korean war, thousands of captured soldiers crossed this bridge back into the South, into freedom.

At the gift shops outside they sold North Korean beer (or so the sign says). 

We also picked up some North Korean money.

This little gal guarded one of the shops.  Her front and back nails are painted different colors.

That's it for now, more coming soon!


Anonymous said...

I remember our DMZ trip - the gate with all of the ribbons was so sad to see! But one of the things that made it even more depressing was looking across the border with the viewfinder and seeing the complete and utter lack of trees. No wonder the (South) Koreans are so big on planting trees...
Did you go into the tunnels at all? That was an interesting place, and the propaganda video they showed was rather interesting!
By the way, THANK YOU so much for the name banner for Isaac! You are so sweet :). I love having a piece of Korea for him! Thank you for thinking of us :).

familyofmgms said...

The tunnel is in the next post! :) You are very welcome Sarah, if you think of anything else you want from Korea- we are here for about another 5 weeks!