Rangoon 2: Attacked in the Night

As I wrote in the prior blog, I still don’t know how I found the “guesthouse” where we spent that first night in Rangoon. At first it seemed like a great value. But in the end we got more than we bargained for…

Burmese Days

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Of all the places I traveled in Southeast Asia, I liked Burma the best.

It was by far the most traditional country in the region. It was free of Thailand’s 7-11’s, paved roads and fast food. Free of Vietnam’s scams. And it lacked that uncomfortable undercurrent of violence and broken psyches that seemed to blight Cambodia.

Baybee Don’t Fence Me In!

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I read an excellent book about Mongolia a couple weeks ago by Jasper Becker, called “Mongolia: Travels in the Untamed Land.” Becker was a Western journalist based in Beijing, and one of the first to cross the border from China when Mongolian communism fell apart in 1991.

Freedom’s Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Say

 

This is the eighteenth and final installment in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

Cracking Up in the DPRK

 

This is the seventeenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

 

ANDQMTF2B80-CNV00025.jpgWe said goodbye to our brave military escort at the DMZ, thankful that they’d protected us from the imminent danger of American attack.

North Korea—The DMZ Too

This is the sixteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

 

 

ANDQMTF2B80-CNV00034.jpgOur presence on the wrong side of the frontier caused a mild scramble among the South Korean forces.

Coming Down Hard in the Demilitarized Zone

 

This is the fifteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

The highlight of my time in North Korea—the moment that made all the badgering and propaganda worthwhile—was our visit to the Demilitarized Zone and the truce village of Panmunjom. This thin line bisecting two worldviews is the last Cold War frontier, and the world’s most heavily defended border.

Propaganda Gets Me Down

This is the fourteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

 

The Arch of Triumph commemorates North Korea’s liberation from the Japanese occupation at the end of World War Two. It looks an awful lot like the Arch in Paris, but of course Pyongyang’s Arch was deliberately built to be 3 meters taller…

Deep Beneath the Streets of Pyongyang

This is the thirteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

 

Every first world metropolis needs a subway, and the Great Leader’s urban paradise is no different. But as with everything else, the North Koreans went a little overboard. Other world cities pride themselves on having functional transportation systems. Pyongyang’s exists as yet another monument to the glorification of the Fatherland.

Spending National Liberation Day in North Korea

 

This is the twelfth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here

Our escorts chose National Liberation Day—the holiday celebrating Korea’s liberation from the Japanese occupation of the Second World War—to make our obligatory visit to the Grand Monument on Mansudae Hill. There were a lot more people than normal in the streets of Pyongyang, and the sun blazed down with a festive vengeance.