Thursday, July 5, 2007


I went on the USO DMZ tour a few weeks ago with Andrew & Dave. We took the early morning subway to Camp Kim, a US military base located in Samgakji, Seoul, South Korea. The tour bus rode the "Freedom or Unification Highway" and took us to Camp Bonifas. Bonifas was a victim in the Axe murders in 1976, when a US-ROK tree-trimming exercise went wrong. The US and ROK (Republic of Korea) soldiers were unarmed and went to trim a tree near Check Point 3, and were ambushed by North Korean soldiers wielding axes. We saw the Military Armistice Commission building and the "Bridge of No Return", where at the end of the Korean War, POW's were allowed to cross over. In the distance, we looked into North Korea's Propaganda Village. It's a small apartment complex development that was uninhabited until opening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in 2004. We also visited the Third Tunnel that was discovered by South Koreans in October 1978. There were 4 infiltration tunnels dug under the DMZ by North Korea, the third was said to be a "coal mine" by officals in North Korea. The tunnel was dug through granite rock, the walls of the tunnel were painted black to look like coal, though none was found in these North-South underground throughways. South Korea build a water reservoir dividing the 3rd tunnel from North Korea, there a series of concrete walls dividing the countries today. There was an eerie silence along the border we visited. The untaxed, sprawling rice farms along the southside, generate 70 Billion Won (75,000,000 USD/annum) were maintained by direct decendants of their Korean families. They live in simplicity, although they have a 9:00pm curfew, and must be present on the farms 240/365 days of the year. The profile of traditional Korean farmers is probably propaganda to the visiting North Koreans, the few who actually do tours on the north side. It was an interesting site, and a definite reminder that these sides are still divided along the 38th Parallel. Though few North Korean soldiers were visible spying on us (from watch towers), knowing that more than 1,000,000 soldiers were posted within an hour into North Korea is chilling. The DMZ is 248 km/155 miles long and approximately 4 km/2.5 miles wide, and is reportedly the most heavily armed border in the world. I won't visit the area again, though, it gave a better perspective while living in the southern half of the divided country.

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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