Sunday, March 14, 2010

Preparing to cross Europe; News about Korea

With less than a month until we leave for Europe, we have been finalizing flight plans between countries, making rental car arrangements, and are very pleased that experts on water and environmental issues have agreed to meet with us in Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
But the big change recently is about Korea. We have been invited to join a group from Pasadena going inside the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone, from South Korea on June 25, the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Pasadena has a sister city relationship with Paju, near the DMZ. The group will be visiting the only S. Korean village inside the DMZ to dedicate a new medical/dental clinic. Access inside the DMZ is very restricted, so this is a special opportunity. We hope to learn about the environmental recovery, including many endangered species, in the DMZ where, except for the two small villages maintained by South and North Korea, human presence has been generally absent for 60 years. After our stay in Paju, we will finish our week in Korea with a visit to Seoul to meet with the largest environmental NGO in South Korea to learn about the controversial "4 Rivers" project. South Korea is planning to build dozens of dams and channelize many miles of river across the nation, a plan that may have serious consequences for wetlands and migratory waterfowl preservation efforts.
First comes Europe, however. We are excited about traveling across Portugal, Spain, Sicily, Greece, and Turkey between April 13 and May 23.

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