The food on Air Koryo was actually decent
Pyongyang at dawn. Not a Photoshop. That’s the Tower of the Juche Idea in the morning mist
Everything in DPRK is in a state of disrepair
Every carpet has a stain, every wall a crack
Storefront in Kaesong
Teenage girls in Kaesong, who giggle when you wave at them just like teenage girls everywhere
Lunch in Kaesong
Kim Jong Il’s aphorisms are rarely that pithy
Virtually all the books in the shop are about Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il or Korea. Translated into English, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese
Balconies in Kaesong
The potted plants were ubiquitous. Indigenous to Africa, I am very curious how those plants got to DPRK
Me overlooking Kaesong, my blue-soled shoes subtly stamping out the red
A playground with north Korean children, this is in Pyongyang
Korean BBQ and apple drink
The famed singing waitresses
A sign at the Yanggakdo hotel. Note the dim hallways
The revolving doors of the Yanggakdo, containing enclosed plastic vases
Mansudae Fountain Park, where north Koreans go for “gentle walking”. The fountain and lights have been turned off
Pyongyang street traffic. There is definitely a competing fashion sensibility among Pyongyangites
Kim Il Sung square
We came across a group of children, who could not help sneaking peeks at us
A specter is haunting north Korea…the specter of the Ryugyong Hotel
The monument to the Workers’ Party has the three emblems (hammer, sickle and writing brush)
Pyongyangites are exhorted to have souvenir pics taken. Note the little girl pictured posing with her cell phone
The greenhouse exhibiting the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia plants.
The Tower of the Juche Idea, the world’s 2nd-tallest obelisk
The statue in front of the Tower, “inspired” by the Soviet “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman”.
Young female soldiers practiced their routine by the tower
Signs in the school, again note the unlit hall
The children sang a song for us. Hearing their chest coughs was very hard to bear
They did that dance where they cocked their heads in unison in the Korean style.
These well-dressed schoolgirls must be children of the elites
Now the boys sang a song. I should note that the teacher confused the sea turtle with a tortoise
We all went down a slide.
Not to sound like Helen Lovejoy, but when I think of North Korean conflict and suffering, it’s these kids that i remember
More dancing in the halls. The school was an artifice for our benefit—it was utterly silent and empty except for where we were led
An aspirational exhibit at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace
The computer lab there, with kids pretending to be doing work
Our restaurant was at the back of this store. These clothes are the best to be had in the country.
Pyongyang at night
The parking lot at the Yanggakdo had these maple leaf light fixtures. Not sure if they are from Canada or are meant to reference it.
Looking up at the Yanggakdo from the parking lot
Street toughs outside Kim Il Sung stadium. Some were playing dice across the road
Kim Il Sung’s first wife, and Kim Jong Il’s mother, “anti-Japanese heroine” Kim Jong Suk has the place of honor at Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery, separated from her family for all eternity
The singing waitresses had a book that taught English phonetically
A grandson at a “typical farmer’s house” we visited
The lobby of the Yanggakdo
Light scultpures in the Yanggakdo lobby.