With all the recent media attention suggesting that the Koreas are on the brink of nuclear war, the world might be surprised to learn that the cities dotting the DMZ, or demilitarized zone between the counties, are as peaceful and quiet as ever. Sure, there are signs of a military presence and a slight eeriness surrounding the remnants of the darker days, but it is perhaps the marked contrast of these very attributes that makes the natural beauty of the region so outstanding.
Cheorwan (철원), a lesser-known destination on the "security tourism" route, is one of these cities.
Gosh, I've been a horrible blogger lately. After changing my mind countless times, I've finally decided to extend my stay in Korea for one more year with my current school. There was about a month period that I confused just about every person close to me, telling them of my certainty for either staying or going and then changing my mind literally days later. My pros and cons lists were enormous, but what it ultimately came down to was one thing- Is this settled, safe feeling something to be embraced or is it a sign of just that, settling? I tend to avoid commitment and safety and prefer a life full of changes, generally on a yearly basis. For good or for worse, it keeps things exciting. On the other hand, it prevents the deepest and most meaningful of experiences, relationships, feelings, etc. from emerging above that surface that I often linger upon. So let it be said, I'll be here another year with plenty more to explore.
The ever-optimistic and politically-correct train sign. Note that no trains actually run to Pyongyang from Seoul, or vice versa.
I'll spare you the history lesson
about Korea's DMZ - but ROK Drop's post
is detailed, accurate, and full of win. Suffice it to say that the sites you'll see are designed to give you the South Korean version of history. Propaganda is present as you might expect, but manageable.
Brian Fung’s attention to the Korean peninsula is welcome, but not if crackpot campaigns, like a “Peace Forest” in the DMZ is all he can find to report about.
A 13-year-old American plans to visit North Korea this week and perhaps meet leader Kim Jong Il to pitch his idea for a “children’s peace forest” in the demilitarized zone.