The Fog

Nicholas Quirke was both disappointed and amused as he sped towards his day’s adventure on 13 February 2020.  He was very keen to see outside of Seoul and drawn to the border between The North and South.  In particular he wanted to see the ‘Third  tunnel of Agression’ which was an infiltration tunnel built by the North Koreans to take 30000 troops into the south. Unfortunately when booking the tour, one had to have a Guide, he was told the tunnel was shut due to an outbreak of Swine Flu in the North since October. Nevertheless, it would be fascinating to visit the Demilitarised Zone, the DMZ, and see the freedom bridge, and from the Odu Mountain Unification observatory see into North Korea and see the closest town which is a 15 walk from the border. The idea of North Korea is shrouded in mystery And to his and the fellow travellers Eternal disappointment, the views, the mountains, the forbidden land remained shrouded in mystery to them. This was not his day, not his trip in which to have some enlightenment about the strange land, for as the bus drove out of Seoul a mist descended  and despite the hour long journey, by the time they got to the first attraction nothing could be seen of the DMZ. It made the experience, mysterious and ghostly. The sights and memories of the Korean War, the closed bridge, the pleas for unity and the half glimpsed fields of the zone were a moving testament to a country, families torn apart by fear and resentment. Hopefully, by the time they reached the Odu Mountain, they would be able to see more. A flags fluttering close to the obnservation deacon could barely be seen. Absolutely nothing. The day was not a complete failure with the tour ending at the War museum and memorial. The tour ended for him here. there were a number of commemorative and moving memorial, with the most touching being a sculpture called brothers, which depicted the true story of a brother from the North meeting his sibling from the South on tune battlefield and the anguish portrayed in the structures was heartbreaking and set the tone of the visit for. Him. As he looked at the flags of the 21 countries that joined forces to reclaim Korea from the North, he was moved to read the thanks and gratitude from the South Korean people, and the fact that his father, during his national service, had played a small part in their struggle to keep the independence, only so recently reclaimed from the Japanese in1945 bought A tear to his eyes. This was a story he was able to embellish on when he was approached by two Koreans Suyun Park and Mr Lee, asking why he was here. He explained that he was on a tour, but did share that his Father had served in Korea during the war. They advised that they were trying to form a community of the`Korean War Veterans’ descendants and he was the first one they had encountered. They took a photo of him with Mr Lee and shared emails addresses to talk further and share information. The war had always seemed so distant to him but being in the museum, talking with the representatives, learning what happened, the thousands that were killed, both North and South the families torn apart and the struggle to rebuild Bought it’s carnage and in fact his father and all the other participants in the war into a shocking reality. His Time on his return to the hotel was Taken up in first sorting out his move to another hotel the next day, a long conversation with Peng and a 2 hour hunt through the streets surrounding him for a new, Data only Sim. A fraught time and one in which he ended up in an argument with a Korean mobile phone representative. A refreshing ginger tea and a snack in a coffee bar calmed him down before returning to his hotel to pack. He was excited by the new hotel he was moving to and went to sleep looking forward to what St Valentines Day would bring.

4 Comments

  1. Nice to see Billy No-Mask.
    What a great tribute to your dad and also Korea’s trials. Those chaps you met must have been thrilled. The sculptures are also fabulous though it’s the human interaction and chain of memory that will keep it all present as a warning so good for them.
    I am however, just going to say… Vast White Stillness. It’s FOLLOWING YOU. X

    Like

  2. Wow! That fog, really gave it a haunted feel. Such a touching story about the brothers, must have been emotional for you thinking about the part your father played in their history xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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