50 States – 50 Countries – Korea

With North Korea in the news, I thought I would share my photos of South Korea during my time there in 1970-71. I spent most of my time in the mountains & valleys just short of the DMZ where small villages, open markets, mud huts, and rice paddies dotted the countryside.

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Harvesting rice…

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Rice paddies…

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Rice on the way to market…

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Open Market…Kimchi (pickled cabbage) is very popular. They bury the extra in large jars in the summer then dig it up to eat in the winter after it had fermented for several months. Avoid public transportation in the winter because everybody eats the stuff…very powerful! They also make a potent rice wine called makkoli.

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Have baby will travel…

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Home and chicken coop all in one. Charcoal bricks under the floor heated the huts in winter.

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That’s me in the hills just south of the Hantan River…

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Hantan River…

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A converted train track in the 70’s, today it is used for a commuter train that runs south to Seoul, the capital. This is crossing the Hantan headed toward Panmunjom, located in North Hwanghae Province. Originally it was a village just north of the de facto border between North and South Korea, where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement that paused the Korean War was signed.

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One the outposts where soldiers stand guard looking toward the DMZ and North Korea.

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Even 40 years ago a commuter train ran to Seoul from the far north. Looks empty here but the train made 30 stops after we got on at the end stop and the car filled with adults, children, vendors selling food, and livestock (mostly chickens).

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Yes, it gets cold in South Korea and it snows. Lakes, ponds, and rice paddies all freeze over, providing lots of places to ice skate.

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Seoul Train Station

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Ancient Seoul was once a walled city…and is filled with Buddhist temples…

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Seoul Korea 1970-71

Kids loved having their picture taken and practicing their English.

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Traditional papa-san outfit…only seven family names in Korea, the most popular is Kim followed by Lee and Park.

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Anybody remember pay phones?

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Big celebration in this Seoul park as everybody comes out for a book/pamphlet burning of propaganda from North Korea. You can see the pile on the far right before they set it on fire.


Richard Allan Jones is an author, actor, musician, and world traveler. You can find his novels, “Drafted” and “Identity Check” on amazon.com.


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