DMZ, Dora - South Korea

The Line of No Return

Military time off
South Korean soldiers visiting the Dore DMZ photograph themselves.
At the wheel
Bus driver at Dore military complex.
Dorasan's recent history
Electronic panel depicts Dorasan station's recent past.
camouflaged concrete
Camouflaged building next to the Korean demilitarized military zone in Dore.
observation tower
Military personnel control the movements of the North Korean army beyond the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas
painted train
A painting exhibited at Dorasan Railway Station shows a composition that runs along a railway line connecting Seoul to PyongYang.
binocular line
Binoculars placed to allow visitors to observe the Demilitarized Zone and North Korea.
visiting soldiers
South Korean military scrutinize North Korea's border line.
Military Visit
Woman leaves a Dore observation platform that is handed over to the military.
photo line
South Korean soldiers cross the line to where visitors can photograph in Dore, South Korea.
dream train line
A panel at Dorasan train station, which once linked the two Koreas but remains unconnected to North Korea
George bush jr
Photograph exhibited in Dorasan, shows the presence of former President Bush at this train station.
Korean War Memorial and Museum
Military silhouettes at the Korean War Memorial and Museum in Seoul.
War memories
Military man observes a reenactment of the Korean War Memorial and Museum.
A nation and thousands of families were divided by the armistice in the Korean War. Today, as curious tourists visit the DMZ, many of the escapes of the oppressed North Koreans end in tragedy.

On the fringes of Korean relaxation, lively nightlife and the capital's growing sophistication, there is a military atmosphere in Seoul that is hard to escape.

Poorly camouflaged in the urban environment, South Korean and American soldiers appear all over the place and concentrate on the vast Korean War Memorial, where they discover the past of the conflict to which they were handed over and photograph themselves between planes, helicopters and decommissioned tanks.

Korean War Memorial and Museum, South Korea, No Return Line

Military silhouettes at the Korean War Memorial and Museum in Seoul.

Even if symptomatic, this light activity says little about the old confrontation between the Koreas that tore apart the original country and prolongs and threatens to annihilate the artificial nations that are left of it.

Sheung Lee and Alex. The Providential Hosts of Seoul

Sheung Lee, our hostess in Seoul works at a publishing house until late. He arrives home on his knees and has no time or patience for great tips.

Alex, a polite Singaporean friend of hers, visits her frequently. In a room filled with Winnie The Pooh stickers, she lectures on the strongest South Korean themes – from the “miraculous” kale kimchi to the popular surgeries that Korean women use to enlarge and westernize their eyelids.

He also makes a point of explaining to us in detail what we cannot miss in the city. Sheung Lee listens from the living room and can't resist participating, despite the dark circles under her eyes and other signs of exhaustion: “And the DMZ, Alex, you're forgetting about the DMZ. They're leaving early tomorrow morning. There's even more fun after the War Memorial.”

Korean War Memorial and Museum, South Korea, No Return Line

Military man observes a reenactment of the Korean War Memorial and Museum.

That's how many young South Koreans end up talking about the place. Like an aberrant attraction. A kind of military theme park that, despite being able to dictate their lives for better or worse, should not be taken too seriously.

There was no reason to distrust the spontaneous advice of a native. So, in the following morning, we got, still sleepy, on the bus that was carrying the visit. In three times, we left the center of Seoul towards the north and the famous 38th parallel.

camouflaged concreteThe Genesis of the DMZ in the Edges of the Cold War

Shortly before the end of World War II, Korea was still occupied by the Japanese invader who increased the power of the imperial army by resorting to forced recruitment of Koreans.

So much so that, in January 1945, Koreans represented 32% of the Japanese labor force. In August of that year, the two atomic bombs dropped by USA about Hiroshima and Nagasaki hastened the capitulation of the aggressors and the end of the conflict.

At the Potsdam Conference, under pressure from the new Soviet threat, the Allies deliberated to divide the peninsula. Against what had been established at the Cairo Conference, they did so without consulting the Koreans.

At the end of 1945, after several political-military episodes, the US and the Soviet Union already shared the administration of Korea. This intrusion led to frequent Korean uprisings.

The process ended with the political division of the country into two rival zones separated by Parallel 38. One, to the north, communist, validated by the Soviets and by the China. And another, to the south, nationalist, defended by the US

North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's plans to invade the south forced the United States to once again mobilize pan-world allied forces to halt the spread of the communist sphere. The Korean War broke out.

Binoculars, South Korea, Line of no return

Binoculars placed to allow visitors to observe the Demilitarized Zone and North Korea.

The Advance and Retreat that Divided the Koreas over the 38th Parallel

From June 1950 until 1953, both sides advanced and retreated above and below the 38th Parallel. And, irony of ironies, after the long and destructive conflict, once the armistice had been decreed, they were very close to their original positions.

North Korea (DPRK) and South Korea (RC) were then renewed, separated by a Korean DMZ, a nobody's territory between two heavily militarized borders.

We stopped for the first time at the third of four infiltration tunnels excavated by North Korea which, when faced with its discovery from the south, claimed to be used for extracting coal, despite the fact that there is no coal there.

As we move through the semi-darkness of the interior, we are amused by the eccentric guide's explanation that the black stains we see on the walls were also the work of the North Koreans who dyed the excavated granite in order to illustrate the theory.

Dorasan. The Railway Station from Que Nem o Sonho Departed

This is followed by a passage through the Dorasan train station that once linked the north to the south but was deactivated when the North Koreans closed that border after accusing the south of fueling a confrontational policy.

George Bush Jr, DMZ, South Korea, No Return Line

Photograph exhibited in Dorasan, shows the presence of former President Bush at this train station.

Among the images displayed, there are those of a visibly intrigued President Bush's visit. And, above all, that of a graphic and color panel that exposes railway lines Asian and European departing from that station and the Korean Peninsula.

It's a dream that South Korea still harbors, even though the pride of the communist regime continues to bar its land connections.

Railway line never completed, South Korea, Line of no return

A panel at Dorasan train station, which once linked the two Koreas but remains unconnected to North Korea

Dora and the Foggy Glimpse of North Korea

The last stop on the visit to the DMZ is next to the Dora observatory, one of the numerous points from which the South Korean army controls events in the north.

The military dominates the place. The military and civilians present are dedicated to spying on North Korea through the installed monocles. At this point, a strong fog reveals only the gigantic pole (the third largest in the world at 160m) from which a North Korean flag flies which we are told weighs about 270 kg.

DMZ, South Korea, Line of no return

South Korean military scrutinize North Korea's border line.

There are also railings and distant walls. And buildings lost in a brown expanse, dry and inhospitable.

These are the architectural ghosts of Kijong-do, a North Korean village of peace or propaganda, as the South prefers to call it.

DMZ, South Korea, Line of no return

Military personnel control the movements of the North Korean army beyond the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas

The Mysterious Mirage of Kijong-do

The North Korean regime ensures that the village houses a communal farm run by two hundred families. And which is served by a nursery, primary and secondary school and a hospital.

Careful observation from the South Korean border allowed us to conclude that it was, in fact, a Potemkin village built in 1950 at great cost with the real purpose of encouraging the defection of the South Koreans to the north.

And to house the soldiers who ensure the vast defensive artillery network of fortifications and bunkers along the border. It is, in fact, the only North Korean settlement detectable from the south of the DMZ.

As if the poor visibility were not enough, it is forbidden to photograph or film in front of a Photo Line set back from the threshold of the platform, painted in yellow on the ground.

This limitation prevents visitors from making any record of what is on the other side.

Photo line, DMZ, South Korea, No return line

South Korean soldiers cross the line to where visitors can photograph in Dora, South Korea.

Due to the apparent lack of alternatives, we submit to the regulations, but a young couple decides to improvise. She climbs onto her boyfriend's piggyback. Positioned much higher up against the wall, it points a compact machine to the north and starts firing.

For a moment, the boldness amuses the South Korean soldiers on guard who, of course, have witnessed it before. Soon, they comply with their instructions and force the couple first to undo the stunt, then to delete the photos.

From there, any passage north would be final. Or, at the very least, extremely problematic.

This was proved by two American journalists captured by North Korea and saved only because of dictator King Jong Il's admiration for the former president Bill Clinton.


Defenders of Their Homelands

Even in times of peace, we detect military personnel everywhere. On duty, in cities, they fulfill routine missions that require rigor and patience.
Hue, Vietnam

The Red Heritage of Imperial Vietnam

It suffered the worst hardships of the Vietnam War and was despised by the Vietcong due to the feudal past. The national-communist flags fly over its walls but Hué regains its splendor.

Formosa but Unsafe

Portuguese navigators could not imagine the imbroglio reserved for the Formosa they baptized. Nearly 500 years later, even though it is uncertain of its future, Taiwan still prospers. Somewhere between independence and integration in greater China.
Saint John of Acre, Israel

The Fortress That Withstood Everything

It was a frequent target of the Crusades and taken over and over again. Today, Israeli, Acre is shared by Arabs and Jews. He lives much more peaceful and stable times than the ones he went through.
Dooars India

At the Gates of the Himalayas

We arrived at the northern threshold of West Bengal. The subcontinent gives way to a vast alluvial plain filled with tea plantations, jungle, rivers that the monsoon overflows over endless rice fields and villages bursting at the seams. On the verge of the greatest of the mountain ranges and the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, for obvious British colonial influence, India treats this stunning region by Dooars.
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Alone, South Korea

A Glimpse of Medieval Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace stands guarded by guardians in silken robes. Together they form a symbol of South Korean identity. Without waiting for it, we ended up finding ourselves in the imperial era of these Asian places.
Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima: a City Yielded to Peace

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima succumbed to the explosion of the first atomic bomb used in war. 70 years later, the city fights for the memory of the tragedy and for nuclear weapons to be eradicated by 2020.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Architecture & Design
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Christmas scene, Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Shillong, India

A Christmas Selfiestan at an India Christian Stronghold

December arrives. With a largely Christian population, the state of Meghalaya synchronizes its Nativity with that of the West and clashes with the overcrowded Hindu and Muslim subcontinent. Shillong, the capital, shines with faith, happiness, jingle bells and bright lighting. To dazzle Indian holidaymakers from other parts and creeds.
City of Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde
Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Miracle of São Vicente

São Vicente has always been arid and inhospitable to match. The challenging colonization of the island subjected the settlers to successive hardships. Until, finally, its providential deep-water bay enabled Mindelo, the most cosmopolitan city and the cultural capital of Cape Verde.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island that Survived “Survivor”

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Navimag Cruise, Puerto Montt to Puerto-natales, Chile
Puerto Natales-Puerto Montt, Chile

Cruise on board a Freighter

After a long begging of backpackers, the Chilean company NAVIMAG decided to admit them on board. Since then, many travelers have explored the Patagonian canals, side by side with containers and livestock.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Glamor vs Faith
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Christiansted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, Steeple Building
Christiansted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

The Capital of the Afro-Danish-American Antilles

In 1733, Denmark bought the island of Saint Croix from France, annexed it to its West Indies where, based at Christiansted, it profited from the labor of slaves brought from the Gold Coast. The abolition of slavery made colonies unviable. And a historic-tropical bargain that the United States preserves.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Joshua Tree National Park, California, United States,
PN Joshua Tree, California, United States

The Arms stretched out to Heaven of the PN Joshua Tree

Arriving in the extreme south of California, we are amazed by the countless Joshua trees that sprout from the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Like the Mormon settlers who named them, we cross and praise these inhospitable settings of the North American Far West.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
Natural Parks
Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
Lights of Ogimachi, Shirakawa-go, Ogimachi, Japan, Village of Houses in Gassho
UNESCO World Heritage
Ogimashi, Japan

A Village Faithful to the A

Ogimashi reveals a fascinating heritage of Japanese adaptability. Located in one of the most snowy places on Earth, this village has perfected houses with real anti-collapse structures.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Martinique island, French Antilles, Caribbean Monument Cap 110
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
full cabin
Saariselka, Finland

The Delightful Arctic Heat

It is said that the Finns created SMS so they don't have to talk. The imagination of cold Nordics is lost in the mist of their beloved saunas, real physical and social therapy sessions.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.