Between Tension and Excitement
Pavel-to-DMZ Place 8. Camp Greaves Youth Hostel
When I was a student, I went to an amusement park earlier than the opening time. It was to run across the amusement park as soon as it opened, when no one is there, to the ride that usually had a waiting time of more than two hours. The smile of the employee who inspected the tickets and let us into the amusement park, and the excitement of the moment. Even though I did not enjoy rides that much, there was a sense of freedom. It made me imagine a huge space with no one as if I had rented an entire amusement park.
While crossing the Tongil Bridge in a car, we reached a checkpoint. As if it were a daily job, a soldier skillfully checked my identification and let me inside. There was no smile. After going through several car barricades, the road came out again as if nothing had happened. I had entered the civilian control line. Signs on the road read Kaesong, Pyongyang, and Panmunjom. The scenery did not change much because it was only within a few hundred meters behind the civilian control line. Roads were still without cars and nature was peaceful. But the atmosphere became heavier. The space inside the civilian control line was empty like an amusement park that greeted me, but there was more tension than freedom. However, there was a slightly different thrill. A thrill of being in an unknown place.
I arrived at Camp Greaves Youth Hostel with a feeling somewhere in the middle of tension and excitement. It remodeled a base used by the U.S. military unit, equipped with exhibition spaces and walking paths, as well as accommodation. It was nice to have an exhibition hall remodeled from ammunition dumps and to have artworks everywhere, but the nature was particularly amazing. The sound of bugs, birds, and the shaking of leaves was so beautiful, and the sign that said, “beware of snakes on the walkway,” and a frog that I found on the handle of the exhibition hall also looked so pretty. It was quite romantic that humans and nature coexist in a space where the military units have left.
Coming back out through the Tongil Bridge. On the way back after receiving my ID I left at the checkpoint. At a time when we were thinking it would be nice if we could come here again to get some fresh air without checking our ID, a flock of birds flew freely across the civilian control line as if they were laughing at us in the sky.
We introduce Camp Greaves Youth Hostel in the civilian control zone as the eighth place of pavel-to-DMZ. Entering the civilian control zone, you can experience a strange combination of past, present, and human and nature. I believe it will be a great opportunity to think about the DMZ in that way.
Camp Greaves Youth Hostel is a facility in the civilian control zone, so reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance, and group accommodation is only available for more than 20 people. It is a place worth visiting as much as the tricky procedure. Since you have to go through the checkpoint, make sure to make a prior reservation through the website below before visiting.
137, Jeoksipja-ro, Gunnae-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea / https://dmzcamp131.or.kr/