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KT & Nizzle’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Location: Seoul, Korea (South)

MapWe finally did it. We made the trip to the DMZ. The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. It was a strange feeling to pass from busy Seoul into wide open land with with armed watch towers and tall fences covered in barbed wire. We learned that many families have been torn apart and are now unable to properly communicate. They had a ceremonial bell that they ring in hopes that surviving family in the north will hear it and those that have passed on will be honored in this way.

I learned a lot about North Korea. I found myself feeling sorry for people that live there and I wish there was a way to know what life is really like for them. The communist state is a one-man dictatorship, ruled by Kim Jong Il. In a country of 23 million people they currently have 1 million members in the military. They gave us the comparison that China has a population of more than 1 billion and they have under 3 million in their military. North Korea enforces universal conscription. For men a mandatory 10 years of military service and 7 years for women.

I do not consider myself educated enough on the idea of reunification to make a statement. I do hope that the current conflict settles down over time. After seeing the wishes of family members and messages hung on a fence because that is as close as they can get, it is hard to not to wish for peace and unification.

I created a photo album of the photos I was allowed to take. They have strict rules on photos and attire. I really was a different experience. North Korea is trying hard to keep the outside world - on the outside.