We decided that a visit to the Demilitarized zone on the border of North and South Korea was a destination not to be missed. A new train has been doing the journey for a year now and it looked interesting It has three cars, each designed with a different theme and with a different message. We were in the ‘peace’ carriage and I kick myself for not checking out the others.
The train takes about an hour and twenty minutes from Seoul Station to Dorasan Station. You whizz past the countless high-rises and gradually more green appears on the horizon. After brief stops at Neunggok Station and Musan Station, the train pulls over at Imjingang Station. It’s necessary for all passengers to detrain for a while to identify themselves and be given a tag to hang around their neck. Once you are approved to enter the DMZ, you can get back on the train again accompanied by soldiers.
The train is jolly, with entertainment and live crosses to the hostesses who conduct games on the TV screen. I found that annoying considering the sadness behind the miles. But I’m in another country and experiencing another culture and I look at things a little differently with my Western ways so I have to be culturally caring.
The bling busses drove us to the border.
There were dozens of them carrying tourists and onlookers.
In my mind I could see the documentary The Secret State of North Korea presented by Frontline in January 2014. If you ever have the chance to see it do so.
The crowds lined the overlook. People jostling for places and I got a smack in the glasses by this lady who needed to see it more than I. Thanks Possum.
It’s a sobering thought, that so many people are living such a segregated life in the distance. The average monthly wage in North Korea is $47. The Average monthly salary in South Korea is $5692.
Interesting facts really.
It’s a poignant reminder how good our lives are.