An article on visiting North Korea

Here’s a recently updated article on traveling in North Korea, a timely piece since their new talk of war is sure to boost tourism.

Anyhow, the author makes tourism in North Korea sound not too fun: A 24 hour train ride from Beijing to Pyongyang (Chinese trains are said to be pretty bad). No communication with the locals, which would actually be very interesting I’m sure (I studied Korean briefly with a woman who escaped North Korea and enjoyed trying to learn about her life in North Korea).

And the author reaches a very strange conclusion considering he never got to speak with anyone other than a retired major turned guard / tour guide: “For me, North Koreans seem to be no different than any other people.”

I’m not sure if the people are different, but I think it’s safe to say that people in North Korea lead very different lives than I do. The woman who gave me Korean lessons said she’d study in school a few hours a day and then from 12:30 on they would be playing sports. And, like all women, she spent 8 years in the army. She told me there are no bars in North Korea – people drink at home. And if I ever find my notes from our lessons I’m sure there are more differences I could list. So I wonder about the author’s conclusion and I don’t think I would visit a country if there’s no chance to speak with the locals.

I think the more interesting talk about North Korea can be found in this old post.

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