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Mike's Adventures in Korea 1994

Table of Contents

Part 0: Pre-Departure
Part 1: The Trip Over
Part 2: Welcome to Korea
Part 3: The Base
Part 4: Song-tan
Part 5: Seoul
Part 6: DMZ
Part 7: The Incident
Part 8: A Return to Seoul
Part 9: UFG
Part 10: The Trip Home?
Conclusion

Introduction

Summer 1994.  All throughout the spring, the media has been reporting that North Korea is building nuclear weapons.  The media is abuzz with reports that by year's end, we may find ourselves fighting a second Korean war.  This time, however, the media says nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons may be used.  The North Korean propaganda spouting crap like "We will rain fire down on our enemies" isn't helping things any.

So, against this background, we are planning a trip to Korea.  The plan is simple - two people from our office will travel to Korea for a one week software installation, just like we did in Europe and Canada.  In fact, it will be easier, because the unit in Korea has contracted out the training.  We just have to do the install and that's it.  An easy trip.

Originally I wasn't supposed to go, but because of a conflict with schedules, I ended up being put on the trip with my co-worker Jim.  Gary, who was supposed to go, had training the following week, and thought he might be too tired from a trip halfway around the world to do both back to back (he ended up making the right decision).  Still, we kept watching the media reports about the "increasing crisis" on the Korean peninsula and trying to figure out what impact that would have on our trip.

Then, in June 1994, former President Jimmy Carter went to North Korea, where he met with North Korean leader Kim Il Sung and reached a breakthrough - the North Koreans agreed to freeze their nuclear program in return for some reactors and fuel.  It seemed things we starting to look up for a change on the Korean peninsula.

Little did we know...

Continue on to Part 0: Pre-Departure