Travel to North Korea
It was unlikely I would be killed at the DMZ, despite our tour guide’s insistence to the contrary. If a shell didn’t get us, she insisted, a misplaced step into a minefield would. Or barbed wire. Or DPRK soldiers springing from a secret tunnel. Surprise! I quickly wrote it off as melodrama playing to the expectations of giddy tourists like myself.
Half an hour’s drive from Seoul brought us to the coast. Security fences laced with barbed wire lined mile after mile, watchtowers set at regular intervals. Drawing closer to the border we passed through numerous armed checkpoints, over ditches bristling with razor wire, stretches of flat ground marked as heavily mined.
I sat up straighter and wondered if I should take the tour guide seriously after all. My excitement for the visit remained, but a sense of dread grew heavier in my stomach. The guide had been trying to scare us, but clearly there was reason to be scared.