UMA MENINA E UM SEGREDO - A norte-coreana Joo, de 21 anos, fugiu há um ano de seu país. Ao chegar a Seul, espantou-se ao constatar que a cidade não era um antro de mafiosos, como ela imaginava, dado que as únicas informações que tinha sobre o mundo exterior vinham de um filme sul-coreano a que ela assistia escondido, “Minha mulher é uma gângster”. Joo trabalha agora como garçonete e esconde do namorado que nasceu na Coreia do Norte. 

   UMA MENINA E UM SEGREDO - A norte-coreana Joo, de 21 anos, fugiu há um ano de seu país. Ao chegar a Seul, espantou-se ao constatar que a cidade não era um antro de mafiosos, como ela imaginava, dado que as únicas informações que tinha sobre o mundo exterior vinham de um filme sul-coreano a que ela assistia escondido, “Minha mulher é uma gângster”. Joo trabalha agora como garçonete e esconde do namorado que nasceu na Coreia do Norte

shoelazer:

Last night I was up till 3 am, having one of those searcing-for-strange-and-random-stuff-on-the-Internet nights. Tonight will probably be it’s successor. Anyway, last night I ended up watching shots of North Korea on YouTube.
I don’t know how it started, I guess I just thought something like “now, before I go to bed I’ll check out how it looks in North Korea”. If you grew up with Internet, you know how it is. So, I have a friend that’s from South Korea and we’ve been talking a little about the two countries, their differences and so, and I’ve also read a bit on the history of the peninsula. My impression of North Korea is as someone once said to me, “it looks as it just froze one day in the seventies”. 
I began watching “K27 Train to North Korea”, which is half an hour of following a train from Beijing to Pyongyang, passing numbers of mainly agricultural and rural landscapes, stations and some cities. Apart from the cities, it is really beautiful. Though the cities are beautiful in their way, too. Agreeing with the top comment on the video, I too found the filming technique really interesting (in a positive way). In the video, as they were traveling further into North Korea, I kept looking for buildings, signs and people, trying to confirm my impressions of the country. Link to part 1 of the train video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWVNiB4tpCQ
I’m not going to mention all of them, but another video that probably made the greatest impression in me that night, was “Morning in Pyongyang, North Korea” (screenshot above). Shots taken from a balcony in one of the apartment blocks in what seems to be the middle of the city. The view is like taken out of a post-apocalyptic novel. Although the sun shines, it’s a cold and grey sunlight that reaches the buildings, the people, and the almost empty streets. It’s scary, but not scary as that I’d never want to go there, because I really want to see the city with my own eyes; it’s scary in the same way as in Jim Carrey’s “The Truman Show” (Synopsis from IMDB: “An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a TV show.”), because it seems that everything that happens is scheduled and nothing moves at it’s own will. Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p2-rly1GOs (Turn off the soundtrack on this one, it’s unnecessary).
It may be wrong of me, but at least I won’t deny that this whole thing, the videos, fascinates me. My fascination stops after a while, though, knowing that in this country, millions of people are not just starving to death, but also in general living a shitty life. As I wrote, the view is like taken out of a novel or a movie, it should never be real.
Every day I feel like saying sorry to the world, for being so lucky as I actually am, having everything that I need (and much more than that. Example: I’m currently boiling water for my fifth cup of tea. Example 2: I just ate. Example 3: I’m posting stuff on the Internet right now.). Like, how can I even sit here, bored as I am, and spend my time watching videos of a country where people are suffering to death?

shoelazer:

Last night I was up till 3 am, having one of those searcing-for-strange-and-random-stuff-on-the-Internet nights. Tonight will probably be it’s successor. Anyway, last night I ended up watching shots of North Korea on YouTube.

I don’t know how it started, I guess I just thought something like “now, before I go to bed I’ll check out how it looks in North Korea”. If you grew up with Internet, you know how it is. So, I have a friend that’s from South Korea and we’ve been talking a little about the two countries, their differences and so, and I’ve also read a bit on the history of the peninsula. My impression of North Korea is as someone once said to me, “it looks as it just froze one day in the seventies”. 

I began watching “K27 Train to North Korea”, which is half an hour of following a train from Beijing to Pyongyang, passing numbers of mainly agricultural and rural landscapes, stations and some cities. Apart from the cities, it is really beautiful. Though the cities are beautiful in their way, too. Agreeing with the top comment on the video, I too found the filming technique really interesting (in a positive way). In the video, as they were traveling further into North Korea, I kept looking for buildings, signs and people, trying to confirm my impressions of the country. Link to part 1 of the train video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWVNiB4tpCQ

I’m not going to mention all of them, but another video that probably made the greatest impression in me that night, was “Morning in Pyongyang, North Korea” (screenshot above). Shots taken from a balcony in one of the apartment blocks in what seems to be the middle of the city. The view is like taken out of a post-apocalyptic novel. Although the sun shines, it’s a cold and grey sunlight that reaches the buildings, the people, and the almost empty streets. It’s scary, but not scary as that I’d never want to go there, because I really want to see the city with my own eyes; it’s scary in the same way as in Jim Carrey’s “The Truman Show” (Synopsis from IMDB: “An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a TV show.”), because it seems that everything that happens is scheduled and nothing moves at it’s own will. Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p2-rly1GOs (Turn off the soundtrack on this one, it’s unnecessary).

It may be wrong of me, but at least I won’t deny that this whole thing, the videos, fascinates me. My fascination stops after a while, though, knowing that in this country, millions of people are not just starving to death, but also in general living a shitty life. As I wrote, the view is like taken out of a novel or a movie, it should never be real.

Every day I feel like saying sorry to the world, for being so lucky as I actually am, having everything that I need (and much more than that. Example: I’m currently boiling water for my fifth cup of tea. Example 2: I just ate. Example 3: I’m posting stuff on the Internet right now.). Like, how can I even sit here, bored as I am, and spend my time watching videos of a country where people are suffering to death?

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shineeb2stgirl:

Danny from North Korea - A documentary about a young North Korean defector.



for-progress:

Insight: North Korea

North Korean defectors take us inside the secretive state. How much do we really know about North Korea?

(Source: Youtube)

theeiferttower:

Double Loop Coaster, Mangyongdae Funfair (Pyongyang-si, North Korea)
Follow http://theeiferttower.tumblr.com/  for randomness and pure win of all sorts.

theeiferttower:

Double Loop Coaster, Mangyongdae Funfair (Pyongyang-si, North Korea)

Follow http://theeiferttower.tumblr.com/  for randomness and pure win of all sorts.

(via theeiferttower)

(via kimjongnom-deactivated20140401)

(via cellumination-deactivated201312)

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Planning a trip to North Korea

andrewvarvel:

This is the first in a series of posts on my recent trip to North Korea.

I travelled with Young Pioneer Tours in August 2013 on the Liberation Day Tour departing from Kuala Lumpur. 

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Planning a trip to one of the world’s most closed countries is surprisingly easy. In fact, it’s the easiest trip I’ve ever planned.

It’s near impossible to ‘independently’ travel in North Korea, so unless you’re prepared to fork out for a custom tour to your liking, the only way to travel in North Korea is part of a tour group. As such, all you have to do is get yourself to Beijing or Kuala Lumpur and pay for the tour! 

The first question is “Should I go to North Korea?” and the answer is “absolutely”! It’s fascinating, wonderful, weird, amazing, wacky & fun. I love to travel to places where I can experience everything in life as if it was for the first time - and North Korea is no different. I’ll have more posts shortly about travelling in North Korea later in the week. 

Booking the Trip

Booking the trip was super easy with Young Pioneer Tours and their staff respond very quickly through email & social media. 

I paid for my trip’s deposit and balance payment via Paypal which was easy - but just remember to check Paypal’s foreign currency conversion rate vs. your own bank’s - as using my own credit card’s currency conversion rate saved me over $100.

Visa

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The visa application & processing is all handled by the tour company - it’s a simple one page form and was one of the easiest visas I have applied for! 

Immigration staff will take the visa when you leave the country (unless you get a visa from the Embassy in Singapore) and if you arrive & exit via Pyongyang, there’s no stamp in the passport. 

Itinerary

Basically all tours, regardless of tour company are operated by Korea International Tour Company (KITC) who will provide English-speaking guides and a driver for the entirety of your trip.

Our guides had a great relationship with our guide at Young Pioneer Tours, so we enjoyed a surprising amount of freedom whilst we were in the country.

The itinerary often changes on a daily basis and whilst you’ll make most of what is in the planned itinerary (and sometimes more!), it can be on different days and different times. If there is something in particular, you really want to see - make sure you let your tour company or Korean guides know so it has a better chance of happening!

Money

There is no way to use a credit card or receive money whilst in North Korea, so it’s essential you take enough cash. You can take either Euro, Chinese Yuan or US Dollar into the country, although Euro & Chinese Yuan seemed to be preferred.

It’s super safe in North Korea, so I’d recommend taking more money than you think you need, as there are no options to get anymore money. Beers & drinks are typically less than 1EUR and simple souvenirs such as books, decorations, pins, flags, t-shirts, small propaganda posters are all under 10EUR.

When you get your money changed, try and get the smallest possible change as vendors in North Korea rarely have much change in foreign currency. Often, you’ll receive your change in some combination of Euro, Chinese Yuan and US dollar. 

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Paying for pizza at a local restaurant

The local North Korean won currency can’t be used by foreigners (we tried), but you sometimes can get some at the Yanggakdo Hotel currency exchange counter for souvenir purposes.

Photography

Officially, it is recommended that you don’t take cameras into the country with a lens greater than 250mm or GPS functionality (or GPS marked on the camera). 

For my trip, cameras were not checked on arrival or departure and I certainly saw some other tourists with some serious-looking cameras and some serious zoom lenses. 

Taking photos is not a problem at all over there - just make sure you don’t take any from the bus or of any military. In our tour, one guy was playing a game on his smartphone in the bus whilst we passed a military checkpoint - however the man at the checkpoint thought he was taking a photo of him … luckily our guides were able to sort out the misunderstanding!

Communications

It’s best if you just tell your friends and family that you will be out of contact for the time you are in North Korea as all contact to the outside world is costly and time-consuming.

You can make calls from the Yanggakdo International Hotel, but as you would expect the charges are generally 3-5EUR per minute. You can also send an email from the hotel’s email account, but it costs 3EUR and requires filling out an “international communication” form.

Sometimes you can also get a local 3G sim card in Pyongyang - but I’ve heard it’s quite expensive. Some on our group managed to get some roaming coverage from South Korea whilst at the DMZ - but at the DMZ you should be taking it all in for the small time you have there and not checking Facebook!

I’ll post more of my experiences of travelling in North Korea shortly.

naenara:

The National Youth Scientific and Technological Achievements Exhibition opened in Pyongyang to celebrate Youth Day. Over 3,000 new inventions along with 520 IT products developed by youth organizations and teams are on display.

naenara:

The National Youth Scientific and Technological Achievements Exhibition opened in Pyongyang to celebrate Youth Day. Over 3,000 new inventions along with 520 IT products developed by youth organizations and teams are on display.

naenara:

The National Youth Scientific and Technological Achievements Exhibition opened in Pyongyang to celebrate Youth Day. Over 3,000 new inventions along with 520 IT products developed by youth organizations and teams are on display.

naenara:

The National Youth Scientific and Technological Achievements Exhibition opened in Pyongyang to celebrate Youth Day. Over 3,000 new inventions along with 520 IT products developed by youth organizations and teams are on display.

northkoreagram:

Kindergarten (-: (Aug. 24, 2013)

via nyurita

northkoreagram:

Kindergarten (-: (Aug. 24, 2013)

via nyurita

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