The last full day.
The morning started out with me waking up as usual, I just for some reason didn’t do my blog post. I apologize for that.
But today we got to go to the De-Militarized Zone! Yessssssss.
After the whole group arose and met downstairs at 8, we went to a bakery and hopped on the bus. We really had to be punctual today, and thankfully everyone understood the importance of the day.
Curiously, before we drove to the DMZ, we stopped at a really fancy hotel (I think we picked up like 4 people there). In fact, it may have been the fanciest hotel in the city. There was also a high-end (like… ridiculously so) shopping center (it doesn’t feel right to call it a mere ‘mall’) below the hotel. It was nice to look at, however. But then, I saw it.
A huge. Green. Glowing. Inviting. A sign.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts — “Hot Doughnuts Now!”. So you know where I spent the rest of my time.
At this point, I discovered that there are two universal things: Coca-Cola and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
But I digress. We took about a 45 minute drive to the DMZ, but our tour guide (who actually spoke pretty good english) was talking to everyone on the bus about the Korean conflict and some of the events that happened. Having never taken a US History course that covered the events of the Korean War, most of the history was news to me. When she wasn’t talking, Laura (the assistant director of sorts) and I talked about Korea, our thoughts about it, our lives in America, and took some funny pictures. She’s really cool. And then we napped.
We then approached the borders. We stopped at some monuments to those who had died following the treaty signed in 1953. From these locations, there were some military trucks driving around, and we could see a military training group from a couple of the monuments.
Once we got to the actual DMZ, I learned some cool stuff about it: The actual border extends 2 kilometers into each country, The Chinese assisted the North Korean Side, and North Koreans and South Koreans are forbidden by law to talk to one another.
I do recall Brandon talking to our tour guide (who had impeccable English) a bunch of random questions that everyone thought was funny. That kid.
And then it was time to head back. We took the bis back to Seoul. I was either talking to Laura or asleep. Then: The Fulbright Office. It vas here that the group met the amazing Mrs. Shem. She was indeed great. All of the JCs also got to go around and say what made the experience so fantastic for us. All of us showered praise on the program, and her. rightly so. We each got certificates and amazing glass stand thingies. So cool.
Then: dinnertime! And it was the best dinner in recent memory. Ve vent to this space called simply “The Buffet”. It was one of the nicest, most upscale places that you have ever seen. Yet, it was a buffet! I had four plates of deliciousness. Then, upon my suggestion, we went around the table and we each gave our favorite experiences of the trip. A fun time was had by all. time to head back — but not without a quick detour first.
GLASSES SHOP. There just happened to be a glasses shop right next to our hotel! I, Laura, Seok-Woo, and Saachi all went in to get some new glasses. After much deliberating, I decided on the only white ones in the store (are you surprised?). As it turns out, my prescriptions were so uncommon for Koreans that the shop owner would have to order them, as opposed to the others who were getting theirs right out of the shop. Not cool. So, after I talked to the guy (with Seok-Woo’s translation), we decided to get them mailed. I gave him the address and everything, and we were ready to head out. I knew that it would be a while till I saw those again.
Then, we came back to the hotel. All of the other JCs saw HP7 P2, which there was no way I was doing; which meant that I missed out on the huge make-out party that they had. At first I felt guilty, but then I realized that I didn’t want to mar my memories of everyone. So, instead, I talked to Vinnie for a while (who said that I was very professional, but too rigid at times). Then I slept, and slept well (in Vinnie’s room, as I switched out of mine since that’s where the party was).
That was my last night, spent alone
(I’m SO SORRY for being months late with this. There really is no excuse.)