Monday, March 12, 2007

North Korea Adventure

Day two in the Stalinist state started out with a breakfast at the hotel. For some reason they don't believe in bacon and eggs and insist on rice and kimchi. The hotel was a western style hotel and had a nice view from the window.

We were bussed to the trail head of the second hike. All of the tour groups go at the same time so we were jockeying for our position on the trail. The trail followed a river up the mountain and so offered some beautiful waterfalls, gorges, weeping walls and bridges.

The trail branched at the top but we weren't allowed to proceed because we didn't have the proper gear. They neglected to tell us the trail was iced over and that we might need crampons. It was still a beautiful hike.

We lunched at the trail head and had a traditional North Korean meal. It was very similar to South Korean fare but the kimchi was less spicy.

On the way down the mountain we stopped at a Buddhist temple that was being repaired.

We then did some souvenir shopping in the main hotel complex area. We took a shuttle up the road and got a picture of a painting of the Great Leader. The doormen at the hotel had to take the picture to ensure we didn't crop the painting. Rules state that the picture must be full and complete of the painting.

We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon shuttle hopping and so rode another shuttle to the other hotels. They surrounded an inlet from the ocean and looked across to a North Korean city. We weren't allowed to take pictures. Along the way we got closer to some N. Korean peasants, military personnel, and everyday life.

Finally, we boarded the bus and headed back home. It is strange to call S. Korea my home.

As we left the N. Korean boarder control check station we heard a series of gun shots in the distance. They were at least a half mile away but it was still a little unnerving.

No comments: