Forbidden Korea, the north I mean

I must say that when blogger Stana Ferrari shared a photo, it triggered this post. The feature image is lifted from her visit to the recluse of a country that is North Korea. Now this one’s not on our bucket list as we are loathe to fund Mr Kim’s missile tests.

While there has been some opening up of the country, it seems that for most folks life under the Kim regime does not get better with time. So it is a surprise to see photos of a metro station that appears modelled on what we expect to see had just seen in Moscow in 1.5 month’s time (mosaic of photos below lifted from the web). Can’t wait really! Been there! Its fabulous!

There is probably a lot more in the web about the country and recent events do not endear us to it, though it is always the common folks that suffer. I mean, Mr Kim does not look like he is starving right?

On the other hand, there has really been an increase in the number of tour packages offered to North Korea over the last 2 years. Tourism is certainly one important foreign exchange earner for the reclusive country and more than 100,000 Chinese tourists are said to make the trip each year (varies depending who you quote). And the North Koreans want to grow the tourist number to 2 million!

Well people are a curious lot. That yearning to learn the unknown is something that had driven the human race to virtually all corners of the globe. It drove the age of exploration (well partly due to economic urges too) and eventually and unfortunately colonization. But it is also driving us to try to reach out for the stars.

A small amount of research though is necessary (though we are not planning), and that has to do with the history of the Korean peninsula. Not the recent one, but one that spanned centuries in the period of 37BC till sometime in the 600s.Gorguyeo extent You should not be surprised that the Goguryeo state (a contemporary of Han China) actually had territories that extend to present day China’s north eastern provinces. Well if you are not a history buff, perhaps you might be.

That should give a clue to you on the seeming complex relationship between China and the Koreas (specifically the North). Today there are archaeological evidence of Goguryeo (considered a proto Korean state) in Jilin province. Some literature out there actually links Goguryeo to be the progenitor of the name Korea.

Anyway, as trigger from this post I picked through my Korea history books and started re-reading some parts of them again. Interesting thing is how history do not repeat but they rhyme.