Saturday, April 16, 2011

The USO DMZ Tour

Yesterday morning bright and early (early at least) we left our hotel with Tom and Ellyn to catch the subway about a 10-minute walk away.

Five minutes into it we realized we'd forgotten our camera so started all over again.

Despite all that, we arrived at the meeting place for the USO tour in ample time.

DMZ, of course,stnads for Demilitarized Zone, the dividing line between North and South Korea.

The USO tour is somber yet fascinating. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and our view into North Korea in the distance was much better than usual.

We stepped into North Korea in the meeting room we visited, watched carefully by two rugged-looking ROK soldiers, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses, so as to show no emotion. They stand at "ROK-ready" attention, a sort of Taekwondo posture with fists tightly clenched at their sides.

These soldiers, and the ones outside, are there for the protection of tourists (and to make sure we don't wander anywhere we shouldn't), and only have to stand in their rigid postures for the 30 minutes or so that the tours are present.

There will be a lot of photos to follow, but right now our only computer access is a desktop in our Holiday Inn room.

It was a fascinating day. Our dining spot last night was an okay seafood buffet in the hotel's main restaurant. It's obviously a special location for locals as a number of birthdays were being celebrated, including that of a cute one-year-old a few tables away.

One pleasant oddity: the wine list featured a number of South American wines, and we enjoyed a reasonable Chilean Carmenere for about $25.

Today is more leisurely and involves some sleeping-in. Our destination is a 4:00 p.m. meeting with Daniel of Seoul Eats for our four-hour Night Dining Tour.

We'll have to go light on lunch. To be blunt, our three meals so far haven't tremendously excited us about Korean cuisine past our experiences in Korean restaurants at home (we've thoroughly enjoyed a variety of kimchi and chilled kimchi soup), and we're looking forward to experiencing what Daniel has to showcase.


Dennis Warner said...

Chilean carmenere - my favourite red wine these days! I wouldn't have thought you'd find any over there though.

Kathy and Brian said...

It wasn't great but it was good and eminently drinkable - for a little less than $25 a bottle.