|Is this a health warning symbol? Let's say it is...|
Tour companies operating in North Korea make one thing abundantly clear to visitors: even after you leave, you are not entirely free to write about your experiences. You aren't supposed to write newspaper articles, you aren't supposed to make documentaries, you definitely aren't supposed to publish devastating critiques of the regime's injustices.
Now, you may ask, what's to stop you? The regime, after all, holds no power over you after you leave.
Ah, that's true, say the tour companies – but the regime can punish the only people in North Korea with whom you are allowed to form any kind of emotional bond during your trip: your guides. Your unfailingly polite, kind, English-speaking guides, with whom you spend almost every waking minute of your time in North Korea. You get to know about their families, their daily lives, their hopes for the future... and you are told that if you 'break the rules' after you leave the DPRK, they will be punished for your actions.
|Write mean things, and the kitten gets it|
So we're going to play by the rules. (I mean, aside from the picture of the kitten, we're going to play by the rules.) In the posts that follow, we'll write about what it's like to be a tourist in North Korea, as honestly as we can. We'll post lots of photos of statues –
|We have like 9,000 of these|
|... and about 8,000 like this...|
But if you'd like to see some of our photos, and get an idea of what it's like to visit the world's oddest country - stay tuned...