After a few days of Seoul touring we had enough big city life and ventured into the country on a traditional Korean road trip. We first spent two days in Phoenix Park in Korea (or as it is pronounced in Korean: Poenixu Paku as it is pretty common in the country to Korean-ify English terms which American’s should be pretty familiar with). The skiing there was pretty awesome, as the only two times I’d been skiing prior was at Perfect North in Cincinnati and the literal garbage dump of Alpine Valley in the Metro-Detroit area. We had a good time hitting the slopes and playing up my foreigner card to try and get free refills of coke.
Derek also perfected his ski jumping skills:
Probably most importantly on Monday night I was schooled on the etiquette of Korean drinking which is unbelievably complicated. It could easily take an entire blog post to detail, but let’s just say I was well schooled that night.
The second day of skiing was only a half day. After skiing we dragged our half dead bodies into the car and drove to the Eastern Ocean. When we got there we ate some raw fish and shot off fireworks into the ocean on what was possibly the coldest night of all time. It didn’t help the crappy lighter we had didn’t really work.
The next day we woke up for our DMZ tour day. However first we drove around the coast to see some of the seaside cliffs that spot the eastern coast. We hopped the fence and climbed around some of the cliffs before heading to Yongyong (check??) where we got breakfast and checked out the fish market, which is filled with things that look totally un-appetizing.
Then it was to the DMZ! First of all, apparently Americans love touring the DMZ way more than Korean’s do. Second of all, the eastern portion of the DMZ is situated in the most naturally beautiful regions of Korea. We drove through (look up name of park), which is the Rocky Mountains of Korea just before entering the Punch Bowl which is a famous battlefield of the Korean war. We first got a tour of the 4th tunnel. Discovered in 1990, the 4th tunnel was the North’s most recent attempt to infiltrate South Korea by digging underneath the DMZ. The South discovered the tunnel and drilled a counter hole to stop the advance of the North, when discovered the North claimed they had been mining and ventured too far. Apparently some bomb sniffing dog found some TNT in the tunnel and saved the lives of 11 soldiers, so they were really lathering on the love for the dog in the tunnel tour. The tour guide talked about the dog, who was apparently promoted to Lieutenant in the Korean army, for about 20 minutes.
After the tour we toured the museum there and watched an informational video. While watching the video about 100 Korean soldiers queued up behind us to watch the video. It’s a weird feeling being a few white guys watching a video with a whole standing army behind you, anyway Danny dropped the ball on getting a picture with all of them, but I won’t hold it against him, but we did get a picture with our tour guide.
After the tunnel tour we went to the top of one of the mountains to see an observation post. On the observation post you can easily see across the 1 km wide DMZ into North Korea. It was a pretty impressive experience to look across the DMZ and see North Korean bunkers. We of course took a picture where we weren’t supposed to, and were all about to shit our pants in the picture since we heard someone coming up the stairs.
After a final expansive look at the punch bowl and almost barreling through an Army gate due to Derek overheating the breaks on his car, we finally headed back to the city.
That’s probably enough for this blog post. I’m on the Airplane back to America now and should probably get back to watching Man vs. Food and remembering all the things that make America great.