Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Videos from the Parade

I have to use two different editors for the videos...otherwise it takes forever to upload the pictures. So here are a few videos from the parade. My camera wasn't taking very good pictures...so I took a couple of short videos instead.
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Happy Birthday Buddha!




The Latern Festival and Parade in Seoul for Buddha's Birthday was amazing!  It was really hard to take good pictures of the laterns...my pictures don't come close in capturing the beauty of the both the parade and the lanterns at the Temple.  But here are some to get an idea....

Lanterns during the day...

In case you can't tell...they aren't in a form of a Pepsi sign...this is the Korean Flag of Lanterns
Some Performances...
Some Monks making a sand mandala at the Street Festival...
Lanterns lit up at night...
Caitlin and I with our Hand Made Laterns
The Temple
Lanterns even on the ceiling of the Temple...
Koreans are CRAZY about their cell phone.  I'll be in the middle of a conversation with a Korean and they will pick up their phone mid sentence without excusing themselves.  In Korea, no one misses a call...not even at a Temple!
Lantern Parade
Texting during a parade...
These women gave me some of their lanterns after the parade!
We were at the very end of the parade route so we were given these lanterns after the parade!

Monday, May 17, 2010

DMZ






The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea.  The DMZ extends 2 km on each side of the Armistice Line.  It is the most heavily militarized border in the world.

First we went to ImjinGakImjinGak is the farthest civilians can go by themselves to the North Korean Border without permission.  ImjinGak was built to console those who had to leave their homes in North Korea.  Here, there is an altar where those who cannot go back to their homes can pray for their ancestors on New Years Day or Chusok Korean Thanksgiving Day.
Altar


The Freedom Bridge was used to exchange prisoners during the Korean War.
The ribbon says...WE WANT PEACE
I guess this means they don't want us to go into the DMZ...
You can see the Freedom Bridge continue into the DMZ...
This train was shot down and bombed during the Korean War...this train used to run North and South crossing today's border.
I really liked this monument.  Not very often in many travels abroad have I hear positive things about the United States.  This monument was dedicated to the United States for their involvement in the Korean War.
The next stop was DMZ!  We went into the DMZ to one of two small villages for lunch.  These large pots contain fermenting soy beans...which we ate for lunch.
Now for the moment I was waiting for.  South Korea has found 4 tunnels that North Korea has dug to get into South Korea.  We took a look at the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel.  The 3rd tunnel is only 44 km (27 miles) from Seoul and was found in 1978.  It is 6.4 feet high (at most) and 6.8 feet wide.  It is 239 feet below the ground!!  If North Korea was successful at this attempt, 30,000 soldiers could have made it to Seoul within 1 hour!!  There are now three barricades in the tunnel.  We saw the first and there are two more after...it is heavily guarded and there are several surveillance cameras as well.  Unfortunately we could not take any pictures in the tunnel...but here are a few outside of the tunnel.
This depicts putting North and South Korea back together...
Next stop...Dora Observatory.  Here we could see a good view of North Korea.  Both its' "Propaganda Village" and Kaseong City.  The Propaganda Village is a village North Korea supposedly set up to make people think North Korea is a prosperous country.  But when looking into the binoculars, you can see no movement in the small village.  The only movement I could see was a group of North Koreans burning ditches.  Unfortunately the photo line was guarded and we could only take photos behind the line...which made for pretty much no photos of North Korea...  Here is what I got...

North Korean Mountains...that's it...
Photo Line:(
Bell Tower ringing for Peace!
Last stop...Dorasan Station.  Dorasan Station was built/restored in 2000 by donations of several South Koreans.  Dorasan Station would be the last stop before heading into North Korea.  By building this station, South Koreans are trying to show (once again) that they want to unification with North Korea.  This train station remains "under construction" until Unification.

This is a wall of names of South Koreans that donated money in order to make this station possible.
It's all ready to go...with Pyeongyang (North Korea's capital) as it's next stop...
Once this line is complete...you would be able to connect the railways from South Korea to Europe!  How amazing would that be...
We bought our ticket to Pyeongyang for 400 won...waiting for the train...
hmmm...no train...let's enjoy beer and chips instead!