Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea
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To most of the world, North Korea remains a secretive and mysterious nation, one that has tightly controlled the outflow of information in order to groom its public image. This book chronicles a rare, regime-sanctioned excursion by a North American into the heart of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. What is revealed is often what's expected, such as the adoration of leaders, excursions to national monuments, and exposure to propaganda relating to self-sufficiency. But as a Korean speaker, the author gathered a lot more information than the scripted English narration provided by his Korean guides. Behind the propaganda of the Communist regime, the authentic, eye-opening North Korea is revealed.
after a six-day work week, was thrilled to spend an unexpected hour or two going back to work on a Saturday evening. His Kim Il Sung lapel pin sparkled in the light of the quickly setting sun. So did his gold tooth. Mr. Lee jumped into the van and instructed Mr. Bae where to drive. We went about 100 meters and stopped so Mr. Lee could explain where we were and what we were doing. He started rattling away in well rehearsed, albeit accented, English. He gave the facts and ﬁgures that demonstrated
pedestrian and a mobile telephone. It was mildly unsettling. Mr. Kim the Elder directed us a few meters away and we started descending into the pride of North Korean tour guides and tunneling engineers — the Pyongyang Metro System. We were at Puhung Station at the southern end of the Chollima Line. The station we entered had been built when the line was extended in 1987, but it appeared as if it was much older. The Chollima Line runs under Podunamu, Kaeson, Sungni and Yonggwang streets along the
repeat it, shaking his head. It all sounded so alien to ears used to the Southern form of the language. As we approached the ticket taker in her elaborate traditional costume, I had already forgotten the Northern name for her attire.27 All four of us scampered to the toilets in anticipation of being trapped in our seats for the duration of the performance. A colleague in Seoul had attended a 1995 sports festival in May Day Stadium and, midway through an excruciatingly long performance, got up and
business-consulting ﬁrm designed to facilitate intrepid punters willing to navigate the obstacles of joint venture investment in the Worker’s Paradise. One of his tactics had been golf weekends in North Korea during which potential investors were ﬂown in and allowed access to Pyongyang’s golﬁng facilities between sessions of listening to the North Koreans pitch their investment potential. I Day Two 93 looked down on this minuscule course and tried to picture portly cigarchomping Western
wearing one of Kim Il Sung’s old business suits and every eye in the room was instantly drawn towards the wax. It stood against a cyclotron painted to resemble some unspeciﬁed mountainous spot deemed dramatically majestic. The wax ﬁgure stood there beside a shrub and a dead tree with its back to the sky, looking into the room with a wise, knowing expression. The entire scene was bathed in a combination of pastel blue and pastel pink lighting and was much less dreary than the rosetinted room of