Archive for the ‘Korea (North)/北朝鮮’ Category

Off to North Korea/北朝鮮へ (2009/07/23)

木曜日, 7月 23rd, 2009

We are heading to the Beijing Railroad Station now to catch a train bound for Pyongyang. We expect to enter North Korea on July 24, and to exit on August 1. Thus this blog will go dark until August 2.


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Korea (North) I: a warm welcome to all Imperialist Aggressors 北朝鮮 その1:「帝国主義的侵略者の皆様、北へようこそ」(2009/07/23~08/01)

日曜日, 8月 16th, 2009

Our trip to North Korea-or as it’s known to North Korea the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea-began as all must, in Beijing. That is, the only way for tourists to get to North Korea is (a) as part of tour with “guides”; and (b) via Beijing. Most companies that offer these tours do so on a “fly in, train out” basis. We were lucky in that our company allowed us to take the train both in and out. As an additional bonus, this allowed us and extra day and night in country before being joined by the rest of the group (9 people).



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Korea (North) II/北朝鮮その2(2009/07/24~08/01)

日曜日, 9月 6th, 2009

On our third day in Pyongyang we hooked up with the other 9 members of our tour group who arrived by airplane from Beijing. All 9 are Europeans. And so we made a motley group of 1 German; 1 Austrian; 2 Portuguese; 2 Swedes; 3 Norwegians; and 1 Canadian and 1 Japanese (that’s us, Dan and Esshie, for those not following too closely). As luck would have it, we were all about the same age, and, being as were all were a bunch of people hell bent on getting to the only “Axis of Evil” with nuclear weapons, a group of hardcore characters. And since we were all from normal as opposed to “people’s” democracies and were together in however-hard-you-might-try-you-just-can’t-understand North Korea, we all immediately got on very well. And owing not a little to these guys, we had a terrific time, notwithstanding being Imperialist Aggressors and all.


Pyongyang Metro/平壌の地下鉄


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Korea (North) III/北朝鮮 その3(2009/07/24~08/01)

日曜日, 10月 4th, 2009

Day 5 of the tour. While yesterday was another event-packed day, today’s start was a brutal 8:30am nonetheless. Slightly sleepy and very hung-over, everyone gathered for the bus. The bus was headed for the northeast, to the bay-side town of Wonsan facing the Japan Sea (or, on NK maps, the Glorious Korean People’s Victory over Imperials Aggressor Japanese Sea). It’s about 200km from Pyongyang, but took more than 4 by bus. Would like to say that at least the trip was smooth, but thanks to the huge openings between the concrete blocks that comprised the highway even our indefatigable guide could not deny the constant up and down jarring. Here, too, though a major thoroughfare, we saw not other cars. That’s not to say there weren’t people, there were many, and all of them absolutely taken by our new, moving bus.



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Korea (North) IV/北朝鮮 その4 (2009/07/23~08/01)

土曜日, 12月 19th, 2009

Been a ridiculously long time, but here, finally, is the 4th post on NK (yes, incredibly, we still have one more to write).


Day 6 of the tour. Despite the on-going hard schedule, today’s assembly time was another rude, early morning hour. The day before, Mr Chang, our English-speaking guide, made it a big point that we not be late this morning. Why all the fuss? Because the first place we were to visit was none other than the Kumsusan Memorial Palace—Kim Il Sung’s Mausoleum, that’s why. This is the place where the body of the People’s beloved eternal president, Kim Il Sung, rests in state. Visits by foreigners must be approved by the authorities well in advance, and you get the distinct impression that guides who bring their groups late might find themselves on the receiving end of some re-education. So you can’t blame party member Chang for being a tad anxious. That went for the dress code as well, which, needless to say, also applied to foreigners. No jeans, beach sandals, exposure of skin (ladies), etc. That morning the two guides gave all us the once over—just like school again. Due to the length of our trip, for pants Esshie had nothing other than one pair of blue jeans and one pair of black jeans, and upon showing up in the black pair was met with a rather sour look from the guides. Esshie implored that she really had nothing else, and was finally permitted to go with a look that expressed utter hopelessness. Just another ignorant Imperialist Aggressor. Sigh.



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Korea (North) V/北朝鮮 その5(2009/07/23~08/01)

木曜日, 1月 21st, 2010

Day 7 of the tour. As became routine, we boarded our bus right after finishing breakfast at the hotel, this time heading to Myohyangsan mountain some 170Km from Pyongyang. In the bone rattler we pressed on, until, finally after over half a day, we arrived in the Myohyangsan mountain area. First was lunch at NK’s premier hotel, the Hotel Myohyangsan. Here again can be found the regulation rotating restaurant. We were spared that, however, and dined in the cavernous restaurant on the second floor. Our severs were also all to-the-letter beautiful, young things. These waitresses even poured our beer for us, and at the correct angle and everything. The particular treatment we received here had all of our tongues wagging.



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