West Norwood blips

By KandCamera

A day trip to North Korea...

Sort of.

I went to the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea today. It's got to be one of the strangest places I've been. It's described as the most dangerous border in the world but there are still tour groups taken there every day. This is the Joint Security Area right on the military demarcation line. The blue buildings are owned by the UN. The one on the left is where the armistice agreement was signed. The building straight ahead is in North Korea and is full of military personnel although we could only see the one soldier standing guard at the front. On the southern side of the line, there are South Korean and US army soldiers.

The place has the strangest feeling. It's tense, but the US army guides crack jokes. You know that everyone is armed and ready for anything to happen at any moment. There is a long list of rules to follow, including where photos are allowed and aren't, a strict dress code and absolutely forbidden is making any gesture or acknowledgement of the North Korean soldiers. Sometimes they come over to the tour groups and make comments or take photos. That didn't happen today.

The extra is taken in the building on the left. The soldier is standing exactly on the demarcation line as am I to take the photo. When we walked to the other side of the room, we were technically in North Korea. As our army guides pointed out, that room is the only place you can cross from South to North or vice versa without risking getting shot at.

If you visit North Korea, you can do the same tour from the other side. Must be interesting to hear the contrasting history given by the guides!

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