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A war zone with a gift shop? My visit to the Korean DMZ

Photo by Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
A family pose for photos at an observation deck overlooking the Demilitarized Zone at the Goseong Unification Observatory on South Korea's northeast coast.

Experience Magazine, December 2022

The gateway to South Korea’s border with North Korea looks like a carnival. Decades-old amusement rides — a merry-go-round, bumper cars, a Viking ship — greet visitors to Imjingak, a park just south of a restricted military area. A newer attraction stands across the parking lot: a “DMZ Peace Gondola,” an aerial tram with cars painted bright red, yellow, or white.

The gondola lifts passengers across the Imjin River, revealing a surreal landscape of playfulness and menace. Barbed-wire fences and military guard towers line both riverbanks. Below the northern gondola station, a large red triangular sign reads “MINE,” in English and Korean. Red, yellow, and blue pinwheels, twirling in the breeze behind the fence, spell out the English letters “DMZ.”

Continue reading at Experience Magazine.

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