Monday, June 29, 2009

DMZ-The Photo Commentary

When you arrive at the Joint Security Area (JSA) you have to sign a disclaimer. I took pictures of some of the more interesting bits for you that include the words 'death' and 'Communist side.'

The (South) Korean soldier is standing in a modified Taekwondo stance. I wonder if there is always so much tension in the fist or just when large groups of tourists are gawking and taking pictures. The right side is South Korea, the left is North Korea.Notice how the soldier has half of his body behind the building? This is so he can keep an eye on the North Korean side of things and yet present a smaller target and get out of the way faster when/if they shoot at him.
This is the North Korean side. The guard pulled out his binoculars and stared at us while we took pictures from afar. Kind of crappy shot but I was trying to zoom in on the NK.The Bridge of No Return. Much talked about in the history books but not very exciting. It is very much abandoned and looks like it hasn't gotten any use since the big prisoner exchange that it's famous for.
There are two adjacent towns, one in South Korea and one in North. When the one in South Korean erected a 100m flag pole North Korean retaliated by building a 160 meter flag pole. Notice how you can't see a flag flapping about? That's because the flag weighs 600lbs and takes quite a bit of wind to get it moving. However, too much wind and it has to be taken down because its own weight will tear it apart. Freud would have had a field day with North Korea.

Because of course, the DMZ makes everyone thinks of flowers.

More later on my feelings/experiences this is just the photo bit. I hate trying to format the pictures with silly blogger.


Rachel said...

Thanks for the pictures. Wow, makes you think. I am sure it was an emotional visit for all of you. You have a good eye for posting informative pictures.

FredL. said...

Thanks for the tour- The second picture kinda makes me remember when I was in the Scouts and we went to Philmont by BUS! We got taken to the Indianapolis Speedway, which was originally paved with bricks, hence the nickname "old brickyard" The start/finish line is all that is left of the brick pavement; a one foot wide stip of bricks across the speedway.

If the situation wasn't so depressing, that picture would be a great starting point for a discussion of the differences between the North and South. As you can saw, the South has paved its side with gravel, whiile the north is concrete. I leave the allegorical comments to each of the other readers.


Josh said...

neato! i like the part about the flag to heavy to wave properly....
glad you didn't encounter any of the problems mentioned in that waiver :p

We would have been sad!

Gently Spoken said...

Nice post. Were you serious about the guard with half his body behind the wall?

Alex said...

Rachel-It really was emotional in that it was quite tense and a bit anxiety ridden. Very interesting though, overall.

Fred-I think I'm more interested in the differences in human rights violations though most of the North Korean public architecture that I saw was very reminiscent of the Communist Russian era.

Gently Spoken-Dead serious about how the guards have to stand. I listened very carefuly to every debriefing and information given to us by our army guide. Almost comical in a very tragic way.

FredL. said...

Alex- I was referring to the differences in the rights of the two Koreas, not the architecture. It is interesting to note, however, that there is a Korean Refugee who has been appointed to the legal staff of O's administration who is an "internationalist". He believes that we have too many liberal rights in the US. I wonder where he got that idea from?