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 North Korea: The Curious State with curious people threating the world

The cold, unheated concrete bunker heralded our arrival into Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – North Korea). It looked something out of a World War 2 airfield, and I guessed it was probably built shortly after the Korean War. Bad guess. Construction year: 2010. Oh dear!
Expecting a grilling at immigration, I was surprised how quickly a tall, slim, rather attractive border guard stamped my visa. No questions asked – literally. I really wanted her to ask something. Her eyes wanted me to start up a conversation – or so I told myself.
‘What would be my opening line?’ I wondered? ‘Can I have your mobile number?’
No, that wouldn’t work – DPRK has a mobile network but it doesn’t connect internationally, unless they are elite.
I moved beyond immigration to the luggage belt. Stopping only once, for a brief electricity cut, the belt barely slowed my arrival to customs. I had three cameras, one video camera and a laptop. I held a concern that the official would not believe my declaration that ‘I was not a journalist’. Surprisingly customs took no interests in the camera gear but did register my iPad mini and iPhone. Steve jobs would be impressed. He is officially a threat to the state.

Few cars on the cold roads.

I told myself the few cars on the road must have been due to the Lunar New Year holiday. On leaving Beijing at departure that morning the roads were also deserted. In the 48 hours before I left China’s capital two million people had left returning home to their families for Chinese New Year.
Surprised, I was, over the next five days to find that the sparse roads outside of the airport were the busiest of the trip. A new expression has now entered my lexicon; the Pyongyang traffic jam – meaning an empty road.
The westerner in me automatically saw this as a criticism. No cars equates to no wealth. Yet everything has multiple perspectives. No cars means no traffic and no delays. No cars means no pollution. In how many developing countries’ capital cities can you take a lung full of air and think ‘ah, that is clean’?
The North Korean capital also lacks Coke, McDonalds and KFC signs, but did have the odd propaganda poster with words I didn’t understand. Never mind, the anti-American message comes through clearly in the pictures.

 

Please go to Andrews blog for more. it is excellent http://andrewmacleodtravel.blogspot.com/2013/02/five-days-in-north-korea.html