Run DMZ pt. 1.

Always watching: a North Korean soldier conducting surveillance.

For most people, weekends are a chance to get away from arguments and tension and just relax. Well, not this weekend. Instead of watching endless hours of television with a pint of ice cream carefully balanced on my bloated stomach as I normally do, my friends and I decided to visit one of the most politically charged and conflicted locations on the planet: The Korean Demilitarized Zone. Don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing “demilitarized” about it. This strip of land – 2.5 miles wide and 155 miles long – is filled with over a million land mines and is currently the most heavily armed border in the world. Having only signed a cease fire and not a surrender agreement, these two diametrically opposed nations are technically still at war, and have been for the last 60 years. The DMZ is a fascinating location because it not only embodies so much incredible history, but it is also a physical representation of opposing world views, a line in the sand that says “my way is better than your way.” While one country is a thriving democracy led by a former businessman the other is starving communist regime run by a bat-shit crazy man-child. While one looks to embrace global partnerships and cultures the other has sealed itself off, created the largest military in the world, and is now tinkering with nuclear weapons. The DMZ is where were government, culture, and war all collide – an eerie staring contest with bombs instead of blinks. I could say you could cut the tension with a knife but that would be a gross overstatement, you would probably wouldn’t need more than a spoon. More on this once in lifetime trip coming soon…

A South Korean ROK Soldier stands guard.

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