Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things), especially when your daughter is working in their backyard.
Well, I'm not sure what I'm going to write, but I feel like the time has come, especially since I'm doing this ghost posting thing for when I'm in Tibet, and it just so happens that Korea is in the news again. Government officials are meeting. The factory in Kaesong (that's in the DMZ) may reopen. Who knows? Geumgangsan tours might even resume.
As with the DMZ, Geumgangsan came with warnings. Do not so much as take your camera out of your bag while crossing the border. There are North Korean soldiers stationed every - what, 100 meters? - to watch the convoy of tourist buses as you pass impoverished villages. They don't want photos of children playing in the dirt, or the farmers working the fields by hand just as their great-grandparents did being published. If they see a camera, they will stop the convoy and search the bus, to make sure no such pictures get taken. We were told not to speak Korean. At all. Partly this is so non-native speakers don't cause a linguistic clusterfudge...Korean is a hierarchical language, and you can insult someone by not saying "-yo" when you're supposed to, or saying it when you're not. We were told not to speak either Kims' names, since there was no way for the North Koreans surrounding us to know what the context was, since we were dutifully not speaking Korean. Finally, we were instructed to give the military installment we came near at one point a wide berth. Two years after our trip, the seriousness of this rule was made clear when a South Korean woman was shot after entering the military area. Supposedly she was warned to stop and go back before she was killed; who knows if that is the truth, as a request for a joint inquiry by the South was denied. Regardless, please see mandate #1: Don't. Be. A Dumbass!
Time Travel Turtle's blog. And with that, I must go finish packing - it is creeping up on one in the morning and I fly out in about nine hours. See you soon with tales from the roof of the world.