Thursday, June 18, 2009


Day 463
When I woke up Mr. Sea was in the kitchen making breakfast. I do like to try local food, but I have a real problem with getting down noodles in the morning, I just can't face it. They were also really spicy and came with a side of soup. I really don't know how I got it all down.

I then took the extremely efficient subway system to the War Memorial of Korea. I got a bit confused though and accidentally entered thru the side entrance and not the front. If I had gone the right way I would have missed the memorial to Americans that died during the Korean War. Each state was listed with the people it lost.

This was less a memorial and more of a museum. The bottom floor was about Korea's early history. I think that every child under 7 in the country was there. The first room was filled with busts of famous military leaders, or just a room full of people holding a funny hat contest. I couldn't really tell. The rest of the floor was on various periods in history and the weapons of each. I wasn't terribly interested in this so I moved quickly thru.

The reason I came here was to learn about the Korean War. It's often referred to as the Forgotten War because we just don't learn about it. I hardly remember anything about it myself that didn't come from MASH. After WWII Japan lost control of Korea and it became it's own country, and stumbled into the cold war. Both the USSR and the US wanted control. The USSR ended up with the north and the US with the south. In 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea and took the capital, Seoul in just three days. With the help of UN forces a counter attack was prepared. The combined forces took back Seoul and advanced all the way to the Chinese boarder. This annoyed the communist Chinese and they helped to push the front back to the 38th parallel. In 1954 a cease fire was signed and the DMZ fixed at the 38th parallel. The border is still set here.

The second floor consisted of information on UN involvement. The first room had a section dedicated to each country that helped. There were statistics as well as a mannequin meant to look like someone from each country. There was also a picture of a war monument for each country, but oddly nothing said where these were located. The British monument was actually dedicated to the Commonwealth. This includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada, each of those countries had their own monument. I guess it was just a bit odd.

There as a rather interesting movie on the war assets that each country had in 1950 prior to the North's invasion. In almost every category, including weapons, food and people, the South had more, and not just a bit more, a whole lot more. It's amazing to me that the North managed anything at all.

The museum then moved into information on the refugees and then to about the different divisions of the Korean army. The top floor had a submarine and a bunch of different large weapons to be checked out. I had been wondering for some time where all of the kids had gone off to. At the end I found them all in a giant play area. I don't blame them really, the ball pit did look like more fun than learning about war.

After the museum I headed to a shopping area for some lunch. I was pretty famished and happy to see that Dunkin Donuts had bagels! I then went back to the hostel to work on my journal.

That evening pretty much everyone at the hostel went out for an amazing seafood dinner. I don't even like the types of things that we had. I wouldn't have tried it if it wasn't a communal thing. Everything was just amazing. I can't believe that I stay away from seafood so often! We didn't get back to the hostel until after midnight and I climbed right into bed. Unfortunately the two girls from Hong Kong in my room were in and out for the next few hours and they kept turning on the lights. It took me ages to fall asleep.

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