Tag

Pyongyang

Cracking Up in the DPRK

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  This is the seventeenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here   We said goodbye to our brave military escort at the DMZ, thankful that they’d protected us from the imminent danger of American attack. We made one last stop on our way back to the capital, just outside Kaesong city. It was reputedly the tomb of an early Korean king and his Mongolian...

North Korea—The DMZ Too

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This is the sixteenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here     Our presence on the wrong side of the frontier caused a mild scramble among the South Korean forces. Frantic radio messages were dispatched. Binoculars were trained on us. Reinforcements jogged over to take up positions half-concealed by the corners of buildings, where they conducted a whispered...

A North Korean Shopping Mall

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  This is the eleventh in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here It took me nearly a week to realize why Pyongyang felt so much like a stage set. It wasn’t just the marble monuments and the enormous public buildings, the empty ten-lane streets and the weird scarcity of people. It was the almost total absence of shops. In all our bus rides through the city...

Child Stars, and the North Korea Spy Ship Incident

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This is the tenth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here   Any propaganda tour of Pyongyang is bound to include a visit to the American spy ship Pueblo, captured by North Korea in 1968. To most people 1968 is ancient history, the distant past. But the North Koreans are still gloating over it and the international incident it caused. Our site guide was a grizzled...

Back in Metropolis, Circuses and Elephants

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  This is the seventh in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here When I got back to Pyongyang it was gray and overcast and just beginning to drizzle. I shook of my bus daze as we drove through the city’s silent streets. Our minders took us directly to the circus. Outside our private entrance, a group of Koreans practiced marching in the empty parking lot. Drill...

A North Korean Field Trip

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  This is the fourth in a multi-part blog on North Korea. You can find the others here One day I took an overnight trip from the capital of Pyongyang. A field trip of sorts. It was the only time we were permitted to sleep someplace other than our hotel, locked down on an island in the city. We drove on a smooth, wide multilane “tourist highway” that begins in Pyongyang and ends...

The North Korean Hotel Experience

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  This is the third in a multi-part blog on North Korea. I’ll begin by telling you a little about our hotel: our posh 5-star jail-away-from-home, the site of our evening house arrest, an excursion into the surreal side of tourism at the edge of the map. First, the food. Despite the high price we paid to get into the country and the constant reminders that we were getting luxury class...

First Glimpses of Pyongyang

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  This is the second in a multi-part blog on North Korea. I flew to Pyongyang on Air Koryo, the North Korean national airline. It was an old Russian jet with a rate of climb of about 2 degrees. It felt like we’d never get in the air. Surprisingly the flight was full. There was one flight a week into North Korea from Beijing—its only contact with the outside world. Most of the...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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