Friday, May 18, 2012

DMZ Tour and a bit more about Seoul

Alas, the DMZ half-day tour was something of a disappointment.  First, no Norks (that's only at the Panmunjon on full day tours)!  We only went to see Tunnel 3 (or as our over-caffeinated tour guide "Catherine" called it "Tunner 3"...) and the observation hill, where you can see the two flags (N & S) not far from each other.  So, yes, OK, I did see the NK "propaganda town" (where no one lives) and the stripped-bare mountains (firewood).

"Tunner 3" (I like her version better) was the third one the South Koreans found.  A defector told them it was near a certain landmark tree,  The SKs dug a few wells and pour water down them.  And when the NKs would set off dynamite to advance through the rock, water then blew out of one of them.  The Tunner encroached some 300 meters into SK.  The Norks then said it was a SK trick!  That SK dug the tunnels.  The SK engineers then pointed out that the holes where the dynamite blew could ONLY have come from the north.  Then the Norks said they were mining coal...  And put coal dust over the granite...  Pretty lame, guys...  And they want a nuke...

At the observation post on the hill, you could only vaguely make out the North, partly because of haze, and partly due to the distance (the DMZ is 4 kms wide, and there is an inner fence which divides the DMZ into the approximately equal areas that the Norks and SKs patrol).

Turns out there IS another DMZ in the world, an Aussie on the tour mentioned to me that CYPRUS is still divided, so I was in error about there only being just one DMZ left.

The tour ended by NOT dropping me off at my hotel (where I was picked up).  They just dumped us near the city center.  I did not have my Seoul map with me, making a bad assumption that they would bring me back to where they picked me up.  Lesson learned: When in a city I do not know well, ALWAYS bring my map (or "BMFM" to you cognoscenti).

I shared a nice laugh with the late night crew at Z Chat, I mistakenly wrote DMA rather than DMZ, then someone else said either was better than the DMV...  Well, I thought it was funny.


I mentioned our over-caffeinated tour guide.  Well, considering that all four men here in Korea with whom I worked with (that I had extended conversations with) work 60 or more hours per week, I guess they need it...  There are PLENTY of young people (etc.) who only put in their 40 hours, but they are not the ones who will wind up running the show.

Seoul is over-saturated with coffee shops, both ones we know well in the USA and lots of their own chains as well.  LOTS of coffee houses, with people doing their thing on their Samsung/Android smart phones.  It's even worse among the young here in Korea than in the US, if you can imagine that.

This is the only city I can think of where it is MUCH easier to get coffee than beer, and even harder to get booze!

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