Goin' the Distance at the DMZ

In all likelihood, Kristin and I will be visiting South Korea in April, as the guests of Mayor Hwang-Ju of Gangjin. We started looking at the Korean travel site tonight with Hyeon Ju about the places she recommends we go (though her mayor would like us to stay 3-4 days in Gangjin, she says that we'll be bored after 1 day... LOL!).

She gave us a few suggestions and I've stumbled on some others -- there doesn't seem to be a shortage of places to trip through in South Korea. Though we're drawn more to rural Korea and are considering doing some backpacking on Jedudo Island and visiting the tea plantations and temple sites that remain, there is one place that I very much want to see first-hand: The Demilitarized Zone. I blame this desire to see the DMZ on having suffered through far too many Alan Alda monologues during my childhood years, as my parents became increasingly addicted to M*A*S*H.

I came across this bewildering paragraph on the Official Korean Tourism website and I'm afraid this may only be the tip of the commercialism iceberg we need to brace for (my emphasis).

This DMZ tour includes a visit to Odusan Unification Observatory, where visitors can experience the sadness of the division, a Korean art and culture tour to Heyri Art Valley, and the thrill of driving go-karts at Kartland, located at the Unification Hill parking lot.

Earlier today I was going to post a short, snarky mini-rant about the NBA's pathetic money-grubbing decision to play "GEICO" at the NBA All-Star Game instead of the playground classic, "HORSE". Though as embarrassing a decision that may be, I can't help but think putting a go-kart track at the site commemorating the peace agreement to end the Korean War is something so absurdly inappropriate that not even a sleezeball like David Stern would dare consider it.

Though I wouldn't be surprised if he's at this very moment trying to find a sponsor willing to work some slogans into the national anthem.


Jon Smolenski said...

I was in South Korea a few years ago for work and it was a really good time. Some places I would recommend if you can travel would be to Seoul and the Seoul Tower and there is a little area up the hill from Yongsan Military base called Itaewon that has some great shopping and is somewhat more touristy.

Also not sure if your a fan of the spicy foods but if so then try Kimchi.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT AS I MADE THIS MISTAKE. If you go somewhere and want meat...make sure that you order Bulgogi (marinated beef) not Kulgogi (dog).

Doug Walsh said...

Thanks Jon. Yeah, I heard about Itaewon. We try to avoid the touristy places when at all possible, especially if they're near military bases.

Seoul Tower looks pretty cool. We're mostly going to be in the southern end of the peninsula near Gangjin and Gyeongju but do hope to spend a couple days up north in Seoul.

Kimchi is awesome!