Whit and I have been busy planning for our upcoming vacation time, which hasn’t been easy since the school has changed it approximately five times since they first told us last week. (To illustrate for you the Korean system of planning or lack there of, our vacation is in two weeks. Two weeks AFTER they told us when our vacation time was.)
We have decided to stay in Korea and do an island-hopping tour of the peninsula, to see some places that are off the beaten path and do a little camping.
But one idea we were considering just two days ago was a weekend jaunt into North Korea. Sound crazy? Well. It’s easier than you would think these days. From South Korea, foreigners and South Koreans alike can pay about $300 to go from Seoul into the Diamond Mountains in North Korea, located just over the border in one of the last frontiers of the Iron Curtain.
There are loads of rigid rules and regulations: no cameras, no phones, all your visa information turned in, and rules that require you to stay within your travel group and not wander beyond any fences you’re not supposed to cross and other common-sense rules.
But today, as the beloved (that’s sarcasm) South Korean president made his first inroads to open communication with the North, a South Korean tourist was shot in this same touristy area of the Diamond Mountains by a North Korean guard.
While this is scary and crazy and helped us make our decision in NOT taking the exact same tour, I must mention that the South Korean woman was wandering into forbidden territory at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. Not smart.
The tours are now suspended, to say the least.
And we think we’ll just stick to our island adventures in the south. The places without armed militiamen. So much for that adventure! (At least for now.)