Visions Of North Korea

Continuing a popular topic from this week, on an internet forum, I ran across a link to a very interesting collection of photos (part 1, part 2) from a British (I think) tourist's trip to North Korea. He summarizes his trip as follows:

...the DPRK proved to be such a bizarre experience that I can highly recommend it if you:

a) Are a jaded traveller looking for somewhere else to add to your list of places you’ve been to.

b) Want to get a better insight into what the USSR (or indeed China or any of the former Eastern Bloc nations) was like 20-30 years ago before it succumbed to the necessity of a market economy.
c) Want to experience travel in a nation which has been totally consumed by the so-called ‘cult of personality’ of its leader (to the best of my knowledge, Cuba and Turkmenistan are the only other examples in the world of this today)
d) Wish to actively question reality without exposing yourself to mind-blowing hallucinogenic substances.

Here are a couple of pictures from his collection:

Initial reaction: Where are all the people?

As you're looking at the pictures of Pyongyang, keep in mind that Jimmy Carter once described it as a "bustling metropolis" where the department stores are packed with customers; a scene that resembled "Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia."

(Carter was also taken with the reverence with which Kim Il Sung was held, describing him as "being treated as a combination of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln.")

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These are fascinating links.

These are fascinating links. Reminds me a little of a book I read called "Utopias Elsewhere" by Anthony Daniels. He went to North Korea sometime in the 90's, and he describes it in the same way- as a mind bending experience. The scary thing is his description of the tourist group he was with. He saw everything as this completely creepy, surreal experience of a country where people lived totally controlled and regimented lives, where everything was so absolutely orderly and perfect that there could only be something really frightening behind it all. He talks about the other tourists he was with just being awed by what they thought was a wonderful example of the kind of orderly, happy society Communism could produce, never stopping to wonder why everything was so fearfully perfect.

Those links are amazing.

Those links are amazing. Quite a find.