Archive for the 'War Zone' Category

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WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE !

ABOVE : KAESONG NORTH KOREA

On September 15th TotalAdventure flew Jeju Air from Sapporo to Seoul. Japan has a higher standard of living than the USA and South Korea is close. Both have recovered from total destruction and destitution over the 70 to 80 years. What is shocking about Korea is that a man made line splits one country between one of the wealthiest and progressive societies in the world, across from the poorest and most repressive. Above, we look across that line.

TotalAdventure stayed at the beautful Hotel Entra Gangnam, in the famous neighbirhood of the same name, Seoul has a population of just under 10 million. The View. Gangam is the trendy shopping and dining neighborhood know for ” Gangam Style.”

Gyeongbokgung Palace dates from 1395. The complex once had 7000 rooms ,but was mostly destroyed in the Japanese Occupation. The grounds are slowly being restored.

A Pagoda view not unfamiliar throughout East Asia.

On Saturdays people like to dress up in traditional attire. Costumes can be rented.

An Effigy of A Court Official.

Clerks & Bureaucrats.

Worship of Lord Buddha. The ceremony is Confucian and can be observed when you WATCH THE INTRODUCTORY VIDEO AT TOP OF PAGE.

The Korea War Museum is massive .The war is central to both Koreas and both sides profess to reunite some day, hopefully not if the war reignites. The monument signifies the split and atop, two brothers, from each side, meet in battle and briefly hug before returning to killing each other.

North Korean MIG and prop plane.

This Soviet Limo was a gift to Kim Il Sung – the Great Leader. It was captured by US troops and given as a gift to the the widow of a US Army Colonel killed in battle. Now in the War Museum.

The war is embedded into society.

Food is a major reason to visit South Korea. Above is octopus in ink and seaweed.

Haejangguk – A hot and filling soup for breakfast, accompanied by dumplings.

Beef Bulgogi grilled tabletop , along with many dishes including spicy kimchi.

K Pop stars at the top pf Lotte Tower – at 1855 feet, 583 m the 5th tallest building in the world. WATCH THE VIDEO AT TOP OF PAGE.

The main ficus of TotalAdventure’s visit to Korea was to visit the Demilitarized Zone – The DMZ the line where the two Koreas, still at war ( USA included) observe a tense truce. The main mission was to visit Panmunjom where North Korean,South Korean and US soldiers face only inches away from each other. However, that was closed due tot the foolish deserter Travis King, running over the line.Repatriated by the North – he is now in a Texas military prison awaiting charges in desertion punishable up to death by firing squad), as well as child porn.

Through a telescope, the city of Kaesong North Korea. From Mt.Dora we were about 5 miles 8 km away.

Also pictured at the top of the page, the sign praises Great and Dear Leaders.

DMZ Rice paddies.

The South Korea Won is currently 1354 to the US Dollar. This translates to moderate prices ,slightly cheaper than the USA.

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TotalAdventure has promoted adventure tourism all over the world, as a way for people to get to know each other’s cultures , without divisive politicians getting in the way. Indeed the last several years have been tough with the ” War on Travel” first instigated from the USA , then COVID restrictions , literally shutting down the whole world. Just as things were looking up, war began.. Until 3 weeks ago, TotalAdventure offered about 25 amazing trips , many in Siberia, Altai and even in Kamchatka. For obvious reasons they are temporarily not on offer. In addition, transport to the starting points is quite difficult , if not impossible. Governments themselves do not suffer, but the wonderful people whose lives depend on tourism , along with their families, will suffer greatly. With the cessation of hostilities we hope to offer these incredible voyages again soon. From TotalAdventure’s 1993 trip to the Russian Far East – vestiges of a more hopeful time – Please read and watch the video here at Russia’s Wild East.

Mar 9th
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Click Above Video To Watch.

The Highway From Asmara To Massawa Drops Over 8000 ( 2500m) Feet In Just 100 Kilometers. We left early morning temperatures not far above freezing arriving to close to 90 ( 32C) on the coast.

At the entrance to the city is the Palace of Emperor Haile Selassie. Though he was murdered by the Communist Derge in 1975, his palace continued to be used by officials until it was bombed by the Ethiopian Air Force in 1991, when Eritrea began its’ War of Independence. To this day, it is still in ruins, like much of Massawa , in contrast to well preserved Asmara.

The visa to enter Eritrea is only good for Asmara itself. To travel anywhere else in the county , an interior Travel Permit is required. This took about 2 hours to acquire the day before. One must arrange transport as well. The driver’s name and the car’s license number are listed on the permit . TotalAdventure passport number deleted for security purposes.

One must carry the receipt as well, to prove that the 51 Nafka ( $3 ) fee was paid.

Along the highway there may be toll collectors.Baboons demand bananas in order to allow cars to pass without harassment.

Massawa architecture is more Ottoman than Italian.

Statuary Of The Lion King.

Barbed wire – possible live bombs inside of another palace.

The port on the Red Sea – almost all ships from China.

On Haile Sellasie’s Porch.

L – 1011 TO Nowhere.

Wartime damage un repaired after 30 years. But people live here.

Its’ been a long wait for the bus – about 45 years.

Bottled water plant , shuttered in the 60s.

Mothers and Children.

General of the Troop.

1930’s Graffiti.

Returning to Asmara – high above the clouds.

The New Generation Of Eritrea !

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Vietnam Voyage Is A 23 minute excursion from Saigon to DaNang  by air, from DaNang to Hue by train and then from Hue to Hanoi by air. TotalAdventure explores the main sites of the 4 historic cities with culinary adventures ,such as cobra snake in Hanoi.

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No words can describe this Hell on Earth, from only 40 years ago.

Senseless death in the name of pure communism.

Slammed against the tree.

In the middle of the night.

From Our Time – 1977. Beaten with bamboo staves, to save bullets.

No Hope.

 

Jul 2nd
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TotalAdventure is getting all caught up today in Bangkok, before we leave for Qatar tonight. Here’s a few more from Hanoi in June. Above, the Ho Chi Minh Tomb. Unfortunately Uncle Ho was off to Moscow to ” have a little work done ” , so we could not see him.

In the brutal Hanoi Hilton.

An injured John McCain.

The exterior.

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Siem Riep is not just the joyful city of Angkor. Like all of Cambodia , it was a vicitim of a 30 year war perpetrated by distant powers in addition tot he genocidal Khmer Rouge.

Mines to booby trap rice paddies and cattle grazing areas.

Mines from All over – Russia,China,USA.

The results of mines.

Jun 14th

Hue

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While Hue remains a warlike image in the minds of many Americans, due to the 1968 Tet offensive, it is a city at peace .

Sampans glide the river.

Evil spirits are kept at bay.

Street Food is incredible !

The Pagoda.

Water Buffalo on their way home for the evening. 

Making honey at the Pagoda.

Dinner by the Pearl River.

Jun 14th
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After two days in Da Nang, TotalAdventure moved on to Hue on the Reunification Express. Unlike other things in Vietnam, the train has not changed at all, except that the French built cars we rode in in 1993 are now 25 years older. “Express” is a hopeful term, as it too nearly 3 hours to cover 43 miles( 70 km).Beautiful views.

Hue is the exact center of Vietnam and incredibly beautiful.

We’ll move this later , but our travelers will surely enjoy this beautiful videoof a bridge in Da Nag.

Jun 14th
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Like everywhere else in Vietnam , Da Nang has changed immensely since TotalAdventure’s first trip in 1993. 50 story buildings, many of them luxury hotels, dot the skyline in a city known as a large US Army base in a major combat zone, especially  in the late 60s.

We climbed to the top of the Marble Mountains ,where we took in the view of China Beach , an R&R spot for the US Troops, and the South China Sea.

While the Marble Mountains were surrounded by US Troops, the caves within them were major operating bases for the Viet Cong. This large cave was a hospital for the wounded. The Americans could not penetrate. Instead, they bombed the mountain from above, finally opening these holes after months of round the clock raids. By that time it had been vacated. The cave is now a Holy Shrine.

Da Nang restaurants have excellent seafood. This is apparently stonefish, which if stepped on means immediate death or loss of a leg.