North Korea – Inside the Hermit Country (Part 3)

Contents     Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

 

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Time for bed… Korean style
Wasn’t to bad actually. Supposed to be good for your back!

 

 

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Eating Korean style
We stayed the night in Kaesong at the Folk Hotel where you dine and stay in the traditional way…. on the floor!

 

 

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And yes, that is dog!
At least it’s not boiled cat!

 

 

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Taedonggang Beer – very good
This excellent beer, unlike the Ryugyong Beer brand, tasted a bit like a German wheat beer. There wasn’t much to do in Kaesong that evening except drink copius quantities of beer and soju.

 

 

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Asp liquor anyone?!
Simon buys gifts for the folks back home. Strong liquor with a dead snake in it. …lovely. I have to confess, I bought a couple of these and took them back home. It only occurred to me, after unpacking, that if the customs officials opened my case and saw these, there would be major frowns of disapproval!

 

 

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Partying with Mr Kim
Mr. Kim was THE party animal! While everyone went to bed, I decided to thrash him at pool, but he just kept on playing and drinking. He was very quiet on the bus the next morning as he was nursing a quite severe hangover. I had some aspirin which I offered to him which he reluctantly accepted, but after taking a couple, he was as right as rain!

 

 

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Kaesong Village Hotel
The next morning after a particularly wet night, we were greeted with this idealistic view of a traditional Korean village. Actually, it’s a special open-air hotel for visitors like ourselves.

 

 

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Kaesong
Early morning activity on the streets of Kaesong. Kaesong is particularly famous for its ginseng known in Korea as Insam.

 

 

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A school in Kaesong
I’m disappointed I couldn’t fire a few snaps at the real Kaesong, but I managed to sneak this one of a school on the outskirts.

 

 

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The Reunification Monument, Pyongyang
Very impressive structure which can be seen for miles while approaching Pyongyang on the road from Kaesong. An Iraqi friend of mine commented that it had similarities with the giant crossed swords in Baghdad.

 

 

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Traffic conductress in Pyongyang
An attempt to put traffic lights instead ended in failure I was told.

 

 

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Inscription inside bookshop
…..ok?

 

 

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Inside the local bookshop
We went inside this bookshop where you can find a ‘wide’ choice of titles including ‘Proverbs: English & Korean’ and ‘English For You & Me’.

 

 

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Propaganda posters for sale
Each one is individually handpainted and costed about 30 Euros each. I gave a couple to my sister who displayed it in her downstairs bathroom!

 

 

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The USS Pueblo
I’ve been into many warships in my time, but this was a truly bizarre experience. We spent most of our time fumbling around in near pitch-black darkness inside the Pueblo.

 

 

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Confession from the USS Pueblo
A little blurry perhaps, but an interesting read. You might need to click on the full size view by clicking on the image.

 

 

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War hero next to USS Pueblo
Supposedly the only US warship in captivity, it posed as a research ship with the intention of espionage into North Korean waters. The American prisoners were later released after a formal apology. This soldier boasted that he was responsible for capturing the USS Pueblo. Whether he actually was or not is pure conjecture in my opinion.

 

 

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Boat on River Taedong
We had lunch on this boat taking in all the riverside sights. We had the whole river to ourselves despite the fact that we were in a city of over 2 million people.

 

 

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One hell of a dining experience!
We had great food in the form of a sort of portable barbecue unit while being given a boat tour around Pyongyang. In the background is the Tower of the Juche Idea.

 

 

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Barbecuing on the boat
Here you can see our Lithuanian friend looking cool with his sunglasses while he tests whether his meal has been cooked thoroughly enough.

 

 

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View from the boat
Statue at the base of the Tower of the Juche Idea.

 

 

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View from the boat
We had a grand view of the Pyongyang from our boat while taking in a particularly fine barbecue lunch. If you look in the background, you can see that everyone seems to be wearing the same thing.

 

 

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Tower of the Juche Idea
An elevator took us to the top of this tower to admire the view of the city. Juche is the ‘self-reliance’ ideology of North Korea.

 

 

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Street scene by War Museum
Looks like any typical suburb with lots of tenement blocks except for the propaganda of course! Check out that light column!

 

 

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Opposite the War Museum
Typical building opposite the massive Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

 

 

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Mural in War Museum
Mural of Kim Il Sung inside the entrance to the opulently-titled Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. I only wish I could have read Korean because this museum is a real eye-opener!

 

 

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Our guide at the War Museum
I remember seeing her in the first episode of a British documentary, Holidays In The Axis Of Evil.

 

 

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Exhibit at War Museum
An artist’s rendition of brutality during the Korean War. The museum generally portrayed America and Japan in a rather bad light.

 

 

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Poster in German at War Museum
“Who is preventing the peace in Korea?” states the poster in German.

 

 

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War wreckage proudly displayed
They seem exceptionally proud to display bits of war wreckage. In fact, this enormous basement is simply full of it!

 

 

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Confession of a soldier
Photograph of a soldier confessing to war crimes displayed at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

 

 

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Panorama in War Museum
A huge revolving panorama at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum depicts scenes of victory over the United States.

 

 

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A high school in Pyongyang
Bronze statue poses at the entrance to a high school in Pyongyang.

 

 

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Portrait of Kim Il Sung and Son
In the school lobby, one can see a picture of Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, with the backdrop of Lake Chon on Paektu Mountain.

 

 

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English class
North Koreans impressing us with their English skills at the high school.

 

 

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Chemistry class
Took me back to my, somewhat, less successful days in chemistry class! Yes, I remember trying to blow up Mr. Britten’s class back in high school in Colorado!

 

 

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 Propaganda poster in school
Colourful handpainted poster in one of the school’s corridors.

 

 

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Embroidery class
The high school’s embroidery class.

 

 

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Heads down!
Students deep in study.

 

 

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Learning computing skills in Korea
Ah… The rudiments of MS-DOS!

 

 

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Propaganda poster in school
Even without the ability to read Korean, this poster does seem to convey a sense that knowledge is power.

 

 

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More posters
This poster conveys some sort of sense of industrialism.

 

 

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The pen is mightier than the sword
Somewhat brutal-looking propaganda poster.

 

 

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And another poster
Another one to list for someone to translate for me.

 

 

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Propaganda poster in school
Poster at the school making reference to the Military Demarcation Line at the DMZ.

 

 

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The school concert
We were given a private concert by this group of schoolchildren after our visit through the school.

 

 

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The school concert
After the performance.

 

 

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Playground Football
If there is one thing that can bring the Koreas together, is football!

 

Contents     Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5