By Lou Rothenstein
A bit hard to believe that most of this city and country has been rebuilt – looks like completely in some areas. The only building I recognized was the old train station, the palaces and gates of the old, old Seoul, and areas on Yongsan Compound. Some might miss the Old Korea as it is very hard to find.
A bit hard to find the old-time scenery, even rice paddies. They are different, much farmland is covered with greenhouses. Re-forestation seems to have occurred. Didn’t have time or inclination to hike the hills much. High-rise in Munsan-Ni, quonset huts all gone in 2nd ID, multi-lane expressways, all make this a bit of a different country.
ROKA 1st Inf Div has a pretty good DMZ show at one of our old OP’s, and the whole of things look like a good tourist attraction. I talked with one ROKA who spoke good English and told him of our old radar and LP’s along the DMZ and he said he read about them in ROKA literature. We talked about how cold it was in winter there, particularly the Chorwon area.
We could take a few pages out of their book on security. They have some special purpose police vehicles allowing destruction of flaming barriers, buses that are bullet-proof and modified to prevent attachment of things under or up the tail-pipes, etc. Tomorrow is Buddha’s Birthday, and they have heightened security days before. On a visit to the Blue House area, everyone/thing is made digital. Even airport arrival at Incheon International includes facial photo/scan with passport and a couple of fingerprints.
Talked with a Korean War Veteran on a tour. He was on a tour sponsored by the ROK Government for U.S. and U.N. War Vets. They are provided most of a vacation, tours, shows, a formal dinner – their way of showing thanks for our help. He extended his stay to see more of the country. He felt it was something he needed to do for a long time. If you know of any Korean War Veterans who haven’t re-visited, they might check into Korea Veteran return tours.
Today it is shopping and a visit to the Korea War Memorial/Museum. Wife surprised at the difference in Vietnam and Korea. More English in Vietnam with people who deal with tourists/signs, etc. Also the large numbers of Korean tourists in Vietnam.
4.5 hour flight gets them a resort stay, 2 rounds of golf at the price one a single golf round in Korea.
Could not find any OB beer. The newer brands are not bad. Converting currency is not a problem, everybody including taxis use VISA.