The backdrop of Gyeongbokgung, a large mountain, was also an item of interest. Bill explained that the best location for a place, according to Korean tradition, is between a mountain and a river. The flow of water would guarantee good fortune for the future of the family, and the mountain offered strength and protection. For this reason the palace was built with the mountain to its back and a moat-like body river of water flowing through its front courtyard.
Because of the rain, there wasn’t much to see or say through the mist around the observatory looking in to North Korea, save for a tree or two that may have still been in the South. Nonetheless, we were still required to stay behind the photo line (which was right where the observation deck roof stopped, so there was no shielding us from the rain). I'll have to go back. Behold, North Korea:
The trip down to the 3rd infiltration tunnel was better. I officially spent Halloween in a dark creepy tunnel used for the purpose of North Korean invasion. Like all of the tunnels they found, it was headed toward Seoul, and it was one of their longer endeavors. We had to wear hard-hats because it was rather short and narrow. Scott talked about this tunnel on an earlier visit to the DMZ, (at www.fourteenhoursaway.blogspot.com).
We also had a chance to see Dorasan Station, the train station built with a railway to Pyeongyang, in the event of reconciliation with the North. This would also allow for land travel to other parts of the world, which South Koreans are otherwise incapable of doing because of the Northern blockade.
Getting back into Daegu after the DMZ on Saturday was an altogether different adventure. The plan was to arrive back at 7. Enter the worst foreigner in Korea, Patrick. There is one teacher in the EPIK program who is like a badly written character in a movie- the kind written without realist qualities that make them human. Patrick decided to insult and inconvenience all several hundred of us without a care. Each time we set out, he decided to switch buses. On Friday he went from bus 2 to 3, Saturday morning from 3 to 1. He did this, of course, without telling the people in charge of attendance, making us 20 minutes late on Saturday (which made us then miss our time slot at the DMZ to watch a documentary and slip another hour behind). When our POE supervisor, Angela, told him he should go to bus 2, he told her he was going to stay on bus 1. Never mind that Angela's boss was also on our bus. After telling her no three times, his bus 2 tour guide came on and asked him why he had no common courtesy for others, and he told her he liked the bus 1 tour guide better. In the end he didn't leave.
On the trip back to Daegu, we stopped at a rest area and were told 5 minutes, because we were already so behind schedule. After 20 minutes, nobody could find Patrick. He wouldn't answer his phone, and people were searching the whole rest area for him. He had gone back to bus 2 without telling anyone. Incredible. We were then caught in a wave of traffic, and didn't make it to Daegu until after 10. That was 3 hours later than scheduled (and 40 minutes behind the arrival of bus 2). At this point everyone on our bus needed special arrangements, because the buses stopped running out of Daegu at 9:30. When Angela was explaining alternatives, our bus driver started shouting rapidly, causing Angela to stop, smile, and tell us "Oh, he is talking about the Patrick." I wonder if he'll be allowed to stay in the program after this one. We did have one small justice. He left his bag on the bus so he had to wait for us to get in.
Several of us decided to stay in Daegu anyway, so for me it wasn't terrible. Plus, it was Halloween, and foreigners in costume were abound. I managed to catch Swine flu, but not to worry, I didn't bring it back to Andong.