These pages show you images of a two week stay in North Korea in October 2010. Images include Pyongyang, Taedong, Juche Tower, Okryu, May Day Stadium, Mansudae Fountain Park, Grand People's Study House, Mansu Hill, Mansudae Assembly Hall, Grand Monument, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jung Il, Mount Paektu, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Puhong, Yonggwan, Kumsusan Memorial Palace, Moran Hill, Chollima, Liberation Tower, Chongryu Pavillion, Ulmil Pavillion, Chongsan Ri, Nampho, West Sea Barrage, Mount Kuwol, Sariwon, Jongbansan Fortress, Songbul Temple, Mount Suyang, Suyangsan Falls, Puyong Pavillion, Haeju, Kyenam Goat Farm, Mansudae Arts Theatre, Revolutionary Martyr's Cemetery, Sinwon, Taesongsan Fun Fair, National Flower Exhibition Hall, Kimilsungia, Kimjungilia, Kaesong, King Kongmin, King Wan Gon, Songyungwan Academy, Panmunjom, DMZ, Three Charters of National Reunification, USS Pueblo, Hyangsan, Pohyon Temple, Friendship Exhibition Hall, School Children's Palace, Arirang, Mass Games. This morning we have entered North Korea by train from the Chinese border town of Dandong. The train doesn't travel fast so we have ample time to look at the landscape of rural North Korea. The rice fields are golden and it's harvest time. People in the fields are cutting the rice and bundling the stems. The work is still mostly done by manual labor. Motorized traffic is sparse. In the villages we pass along the way we do see the occasional car or tractor but there aren't many. Instead most people walk or travel by bike. As permits are needed to travel between cities, the distance people travel is limited. Regularly we notice murals depicting the Great Leader Kim Il Sung and his beloved son Kim Jung Il visiting places like this field of rice. Unfortunately North Korea faced some natural disasters leading to a severe famine in the nineties. Even now North Korea still depends on foreign food aid as this Korean Red Cross rice bag testifies. While the shadows lengthen we approach Pyongyang. A soldier guards the bridge over the Taedong River. We arrive in the Yanggakdo Hotel after dark. From the 33rd floor we have a serene view over Pyongyang. On the right the Juche Tower between Taedong and Okryu Bridges. In the distance the May Day Stadium, site of the Arirang Mass Games. The next morning we leave early. Our first visit is the Mansudae Fountain Park. Opposite are the green tiles of the Grand People's Study House. The Mansudae Fountain Park is a pleasant area with many fountains firing up to 80 meters high. In summer the fountains provide cooling mists. The Mansudae Fountain Park also contains beautiful marble sculptures like these three women. Looking towards Mansu Hill the Mansudae Assembly hall can be seen. This is where the North Korean parliament assembles. In the distance the Grand Monument can be seen. The Grand Monument is one of the most sacred places in North Korea. It's 20m towering bronze statue of Kim Il Sung stands in front of a mosaic depicting North Korea's spiritual source Mt. Paektu. The Grand Monument is a place of devotion. North Koreans, many of them in traditional dress pay hommage to the Great Leader by placing flowers at his feet. Students, dressed in their best suits wait for their turn to show their respect to Kim Il Sung. Our turn also comes. And after a solemn bow we also lay a bouquet at the Eternal President's feet. The Great Leader is flanked by two flags carved from stone and lined with hundreds of bronze figures. The group on the left is called "Anti-Japanese Revolutionary Struggle". And the struggle against the Japanese is very lively depicted. Our next destination is the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum where a guide in military uniform guides us around the remains of tanks, planes and other military stuff from the Korean War. One of the displays shows a large pile of guns and helmets and other captured American military gear. The basement of the museum contains a collection of tanks, boats and planes, both complete ones and shot down remains like this wreck of an F-4U Corsair. The higher floors of the museum house a cyclorama depicting the Battle of Taejon, 20-21 July 1950. The cyclorama uses a mix of actual war relics like this Sherman tank in front of a 360 degree painted background. The "Victory" sculpture, a bronze soldier shouting "Hurry" at the top of his voice. The "Victory" sculpture is the centerpiece of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War 1950-1953, a vast square of 150,000 m2 with ten group sculptures depicting various battles. The monument is dedicated to the "Korean People's Army and Korean people who defeated the US imperialists and its allies in the Fatherland Liberation War". A soldier stands in front of the party flag with the "Victory" sculpture in the background. Detail from the entrance to the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War 1950-1953. The entrance gate to the Monument. Outside of the Monument many red Korean flags wave in the wind. We continue with a visit to the Mansudae Art Studio. This is the place where many of the sculptures and paintings originate that can be found in North Korea, like this mural of Kim Jung Il. Another painting of Kim Jung Il, probably situated somewhere in the Mt. Paektu area. Next stop on today's program is Pyongyang's metro. 200 Meters below the surface it's the deepest metro system in the world doubling as nuclear bomb shelter. We enter through Puhong station. We travel on the Chollima line from Puhong to Yonggwan. Both stations are marble clad and pillars carry the vaulted ceilings bearing elaborate chandeliers. The walls are covered with mosaics. The trains run very frequently, reportedly moving 300,000 commuters per day. Passing a beautiful mosaic of Mt. Paektu we walk towards the long escalator to resurface again. On to the Grand People's Study House where we're welcomed by a guide in traditional dress in front of a sitting statue of the Great Leader. Built for Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday the Study House houses some 30,000,000 volumes and can accommodate 12,000 users a day. Marble, pillars and chandeliers are abundantly present. From the roof of the Study House we have a good view over Kim Il Sung Square where we see many people practicing for the upcoming festivities of the Korean Worker's Party Foundation Day. From the roof we also have a very good view on the Juche Tower, the 150 m high tower dedicated to the Juche Philosophy of self reliance created by Kim Il Sung and further developed by his son. The final trip of the day brings us to the Korean Film Studio. Kim Jung Il is passionate about movies and he is supposed to have a private collection of more than 15,000 titles. As it is the end of the day, we don't see an actual movie shoot in progress but there's still a lot to see, bronze sculptures, mosaics on the wall with movie themes, etc. We're shown around the movie complex, along buildings from feudal times, through a Chinese quarter, decadent Seoul and a German town. Cinemascope in North Korea! From our hotel room in the Yanggakdo we see the Juche Tower on the banks of the Taedong river barely visible through the early morning fog. Today is a special day. We'll be visiting Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the final resting place of Kim Il Sung. Our guides are nervous. Will we be dressed and behave respectfully? If not, they're in trouble. Via moving walkways, mourning story tellers, metal detectors, automatic shoe polishers and dust blowers we end up in the inner sanctum. In lines of four, bowing on three sides, we pass the late Kim Il Sung. Although we are dressed reasonably smart, the local people look smarter. Wearing suits, uniform or traditional dress, all is done to show the utmost respect to the Eternal President. After visiting the Great Leader people pose in front of the mausoleum to have their pictures taken. Leaving Kumsusan Memorial Place we head for Moran Hill. Climbing up the hilly paths we're presented an alternative view of the Grand Monument at Mansu Hill. Nicely visible from this spot is the 46m-high Chollima statue. Chollima is a legendary winged horse that could fly thousand ri (about 400km) in a day. Climbing higher we reach the Liberation Tower, built in remembrance of the USSR's help to liberate the Koreans from the Japanese. Seen from the Chongryu Pavillion on the riverside of Moran Hill Okryu Bridge doesn't seem to be too filled with vehicles. From a Westerner's perspective all Pyongyang's streets are pleasantly empty. 6th Century Ulmil Pavillion is situated in a very scenic spot and several painters can be seen sitting and painting next to the pavilion's ancient walls. Although we literally look over the painter's shoulders it seems that they don't notice us. There's no interaction at all. That's a bit weird. Further away a solitary painter is working on his paintings of the Ulmil Pavillion. Behind the pavilion we walk down from Moran Hill until we reach street level again. Passing the Kim Il Sung Stadium we arrive at the North Korean version of the Arch of Triumph, 60m high and erected in 1982 on the 70th birthday of Kim Il Sung. The figures 1925 and 1945 refer to the period when Comrade Kim Il Sung set out on the 1000 ri Journey for National Liberation to the time when he returned home in triumph after achieving his aim. The white granite structure has dozens of rooms in the interior that we unfortunately could not visit. After lunch we leave Pyongyang in the direction of Nampho. On our way we visit the Chongsan Cooperative Farm. Apparently it's a day for weddings. Some of the couples have fun. As all people over 14 years our guide carries a pin with the image of the Great Leader close to his heart. It is said that the pin reveals the wearer's social status. The Chongsan Cooperative Farm has been frequented by both father and son Kim and several pictures show evidence of their visits. Walking in the village we are shown the theater where we're surprised by inhabitants performing a show. Are they really practicing for the festivities on the 10th of October? Or has it been set up for us, visiting tourists? Anyway, the performances rapidly follow each other and it's entertaining to see the performers sing and play. Outside the theater a poster shows a farmer with a good harvest. The last visit of today is a visit to Nampho's orphanage. Little kids performing songs and dances under the watchful eyes of father and son Kim. Nampho is the city of the West Sea Barrage, a massive feat of civil engineering consisting of a road crossing the 8km-wide estuary and three locks able to take ships up to 50,000 tonnes in size. The Barrage took 5 years to complete and opened in 1986. One of the aims is to control the tides and reduce the chances of catastrophic flooding from Nampho all the way to Pyongyang. From the West Sea Barrage we travel towards Mt Kuwol. Unfortunately both our guide and our driver had some problems finding the right way. We were allowed to do some limited walking on our own, though. So we turned and started heading for Sariwon passing this bike repairing man. In the lobby of the March 8 Hotel we see dignitaries from all over the world congratulating Kim Il Sung with his Juche philosophy. 8km North of Sariwon is the place of the Jongban Mountains, a pleasant place for a stroll and the location of remains of the Jongbangsan Fortress that we enter through its South Gate. Also situated in the Jongban Mountains is the Buddhist Songbul Temple. Rebuilt many times since 898 there's still a resident Buddhist monk living in the buildings. The Myongbu Hall was built in 1711. Its interior beams were painted during the Ri Dynasty and they still keep their original color. The wooden entrance doors to Songbul Temple show colorful paintings of persons. Are they guards? Or are they deities? The Kukrak hall was burnt out by the U.S. imperialist aggressors' bombing during the Fatherland Liberation War and rebuilt in Juche 45 (1956). In front stands a five-storied pagoda. Back in Myongbu Hall we have a good view on the altar with the three Buddha's. And with a last view on one of the beautiful murals we leave the temple and travel back to Sariwon for a visit to Folk Customs Street, aimed at showing the traditions and customs of the Korean nation. Over the lake we see women washing their clothes in the lake. When we look again they're gone hiding behind a tree. Weren't we supposed to see this? A fisherman is waiting for the catch of the day. Local boys are playing some traditional board game in Folk Customs Street. And of course children visiting Folk Customs Street need some entertainment as well. Mount Suyang is one of the most scenic areas in the Haeju, South Hwanghae Provincial area. The revolutionary song of praise "Song of General Kim Il Sung" is engraved in the granite surface. In the centre Mangyongdae, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung, is also immortalized in granite. Each of the characters is about a meter wide and a meter high. Only from a distance, on the opposite side of the mountain, the engravings can be seen in its entirety. We walk back down over a winding path and enjoy the beautiful scenery. At the base of the granite face a tiger guards the nearby Suyangsan Falls. From Mount Suyang we head back to the city of Haeju. The city is very rarely open to foreign visitors probably because the War and recurring floods have not left much of Haeju's illustrious past. Being only 3km from the 38th parallel Haeju has had its share of the raids of the allied forces in the Korean War. It was also the first city being taken in the ROK's counter-attack in June 1950. As in other North Korean cities the streets are well guarded by traffic wardens. If only there would be cars. Puyong Pavillion was originally built in the Ri dynasty on 26 piles over a lotus pond. Burnt down in the Korean War it was restored in October Juche 92 (2003). As usual the Great Leader overlooks the central square of the city with many flowers at his feet. In the afternoon we visit the Kyenam Stock Farm where they breed goats, pigs, milk cows, rabbits and more. The Kyenam's biogas installation is being explained to us. We're shown through the pig's stables and leave the grounds via one of the entrances guarded by this North Korean guard in communist style uniform. Two girls pass with a herd of goats when we leave the farm again for Pyongyang. It's quite a distance and we arrive in Pyongyang in the dark. From our room in the Yanggakdo we again have a great view on the nightly skyline of Pyongyang. The Mansudae Arts Theatre stands out in the surrounding dark neighborhoods. Another bright beacon in nightly Pyongyang is the lit Juche Tower. Even during power cuts the tower supposedly remains illuminated. In the back the roof of the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre is just visible. The next morning brings us to the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery. From the grounds of the cemetery we look down 300 granite steps towards a large Korean-style gate. Solemn music plays when we walk over the grounds. Sculptures depict scenes from the hardship of the War. The cemetery is situated on a gradual slope up to Jujak Peak. Two hundred leading figures from Korea's resistance to Japanese colonial rule are buried between a medal and a huge red granite flag. Many were only just adults when they fell in the fights. According to the tomb this guy was born in 1912, joined the resistance at age 24 and died only 2 years later. These were the revolutionaries that Kim Il Sung had most dedication to, row after row, men and women. Although many died during the Korean War, many died of old age years later and were interred in the cemetery afterwards. In the center of the cemetery right in front of the granite flag is a bust of Kim Jung Suk, Kim Il Sung's first wife who died at the age of 31 while giving birth to a stillborn baby girl. From the cemetery and its solemn atmosphere we go to Taesongsan Fun Fair. Within the grounds of the fair stands Nam Gate, originally from the year 427, but rebuilt in 1978. When we enter the grounds it is still very quiet but more and more locals enter the fair as today is the Korean Worker's Party Foundation Day, a National Holiday and day off for the people. This is the only time wan can walk around freely, have some kind of contact with the local people and see them really enjoying themselves with the various attractions. A Ferris wheel, swings, merry-go-round, bumper cars and more similar attractions bring enthusiasm on the faces of the young and the old alike. Only the throw-rocks-at-us-imperialists-with-broken-limbs games and the occasional violent pictures remind us of the different kind of country we're currently visiting. On to our next stop, a visit to the National Flower Exhibition Hall where there's an exhibition of Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia plants, a kind of orchid (purple) and a kind of begonia (red) respectively. Exhibited in the hall are more than 25,000 potted flowers cultivated by the military organs, ministries, industrial establishments this year honoring the 65th birthday of the ruling party. Interspersed among the potted plants were occasional models of items representing the two leaders' great achievements, such as the Great Leader's Juche Idea. The opposite side of the street is the location of the Monument to Party Foundation with the three symbols of the Workers' Party of Korea, the hammer (i.e. worker), sickle (i.e. farmer) and calligraphy brush (i.e. intellectual). After a quick stop at a shop we linger a bit outside. It's busy in the street. A band is making music, people are smartly dressed having red flags in their hands. What's coming up? After a little pushing we're allowed to stay another few minutes. Police on motorbikes pass, then a car with a large billboard on the roof showing the Great Leader and then trucks with soldiers. The soldiers wave to the people, the people wave to the soldiers with Kimilsungia and Kimjungilia flowers. And then, our guide spoils the moment by telling us that we have to leave. Although the lunch is delicious, as all lunches so far, most of us probably would have skipped it for a chance to stay a little bit longer at the parade. After lunch we leave Pyongyang for Kaesong over broad, nearly deserted boulevards. In Kaesong we, and other tourists "evacuated" from Pyongyang, are presented a spectacular firework show in the evening. Shrouded in early morning mist we visit the Tomb of King Kongmin, 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty (1330 - 1374). Actually there are two tombs, one for the king on the left and one for his wife on the right. The tombs are surrounded by military and civil officials, the more veteran soldier on the outside to better protect the king, and the more experienced civil servant on the inside, to better advice the king. Two military guards stand on the right side of the tomb. The difference in years is clearly visible. The sheep at the king's wife's tomb symbolize her Mongol ancestry. The king's tomb shows a tiger, symbolizing his Koryo ancestry. One of the senior civil servants advising King Kongmin. The king died in 1374, only two years after finishing the complex in 1372 which started upon his wife's death in 1365. We leave for the next tomb, the tomb of King Wan Gon (877 - 943), the founder of Koryo. King Wan Gon's tomb is a single one, surrounded by statues of officials and animals, stone lamps for burning incense, a table for sacrifices and twelve guardian gods. Again we see both military and civil officials in the same other of experience. Opposed to King Kongmin's tomb King Wan Gon seems a little bit too restored. The tiger represents Koryo, unifying the remnants of Koguryo, Silla and Paekche under one rule. King Wang Gon, who later became known as King Taejo, reigned from 918 until his death in 943. Songyungwan Academy is an education complex founded in 992 to educate the children of the Koryon and Ri aristocracy in the Confucian ways of administration. It's now the site of the Koryo Museum. One of the buildings contains a restoration of an ancient king's tomb including murals. From the Koryo Museum we leave for the DMZ, Panmunjom. First we go to the building where the Armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on July 27, 1953. In the foreground the UN table. On the left is the North Korean flag and the ceasefire agreement in Korean. Supposedly, the colors of the North Korean flag are still perfect after 50 years while the colors of the blue UN flag have faded. We are further guided into the DMZ and the Joint Security Area by a Colonel from the North Korean army. First we're taken to Kim Il Sung's carved signature on display behind the Panmungak building, the main North Korean building in the JSA. The JSA radiates 400m around the blue huts that are used until today for armistice talks between the North and the South. On the other side the South's visitor center cannot be missed. The actual border is the thin concrete strip guarded by North Korean soldiers. Crossing the line is illegal, will probably get you shot and will result in a severe diplomatic crisis. We're taken into one of the huts, the Military Armistice Conference Hall. Here we can actually stand on South Korean territory looking to the guards on the northern side of the border. The conference table is right on the border and the microphone cable marks the exact borderline. In the back the flags of the 13 countries that joined the UN forces in the Korean War. Unfortunately the South Korean and Americans are nowhere to be seen. Lunch time, maybe? So we have to do with pictures of the North Korean soldiers only. Still inside the DMZ we're presented with an excellent lunch all small dishes presented in metal scales and to be eaten with metal shop sticks. Again we're presented more than we can eat despite food problems still persisting in the country. Arriving back in Pyongyang we encounter the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, a 30m high granite statue of two women from both Korea's leaning together. The three charters consist of three principles of national reunification, independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity, the proposal on founding the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo. The two women in traditional dress are holding the symbol of the charter. Unveiled in 2001 the monument is also symbolically situated on the Pyongyang - Seoul highway. Driving on Thongil Street, a monolithic housing development, a mural indicating that "The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung will be with us forever". Our last stop for today is the USS Pueblo. The USS Pueblo was captured in 1968 while carrying out an electronic surveillance mission in the waters of North Korea. It is now moored in Pyongyang to show the ship, its spying equipment and the bullet holes as a result of the gunfire it received. The crew was returned to the Johnson administration 11 months later. Today is the day of the Arirang Mass Games. But first we go out again, passing the Ministry of Agriculture at Kim Il Sung Square. The characters read "Victory for our Choson Democracy". Today's first stop is Pohyon Temple, founded in 1042 by the monk Kwangwak. In the courtyard of the Manse Pavilion stands the 6m high granite nine-storey Tabo Pagoda. Behind Manse Pavilion is the Koryo-dated octagonal 13-storey Sokka Pagoda and Taeung Hall, Pohyon's main temple hall that has been restored since its destruction during the War. Nowadays monks still reside in the temple grounds but the number has significantly been reduced since the War. Also within the temple grounds is the newly erected, traditionally built archive for the 80,000 blocks of the Tripitaka, a massive collection of scripture and literature from the Koryo and Ri dynasties. The next stop is the International Friendship Exhibition in Hyangsan containing the World's to the Great Leader and the Dear Leader. The first one to visit is the one of Kim Jung Il. Behind the heavy, guarded doors, are endless corridors were the gifts to the Kim's are stowed away categorized by continent and time ranging from a stuffed crocodile drink's tray to a railway carriage. The doors are guarded by guards with silver-plated machineguns. Behind the doors it's silence, camera's have to be handed in and shoes have to be covered by baggy cloth socks. At the door to Kim Il Sung's collection the four-tonne, bronze-colored doors may only indirectly be touched. The doors open "mysteriously" easy according to local literature. At the Chongchon Hotel we again are greeted by Dad and Son, sitting quietly in a garden in front of their Friendship Exhibition Hall. From the hotel we look into the village's street, a by now usual empty street with bicycles only, propaganda attached to the street lanterns and a restaurant sign with chopsticks. Back in Pyongyang the "Great President Mr. Kim Il Sung Stays With Us Forever", a very comforting idea. In the afternoon we visit the Mangyongdae Students and Children's Palace, a place where groups of talented children learn various kinds of arts, like playing the Gayageum. The Gayageum is a long zither with up to 25 strings. The 21 string Gayageum is normally found in North Korea. The archetype Gayageum is supposed to have developed around the 6th century. Another art taught at the Palace is the ancient art of calligraphy. It is still highly regarded in North Korea and many other Asian countries. By starting young and practicing a lot one may be able to master this art. In total there are 690 rooms where children learn violin, accordion, keyboards, dance, public speaking, drawing, etc. etc. After we've been shown around and visited several classes, we're shown into a theatre where the students will show us their skills in a 90-minute show of dance and music. In front of a choir of singing students one soloist sings several songs. He has a clear and good voice. We cannot understand what he is singing but it's impressive nevertheless. The only thing distracting from his talents is a rather arrogant look on his face. Placido Domingo or Jose Carreras couldn't do better. One of the following performances is an orchestra with various old Korean instruments like the Gayageum we saw earlier. This time the instruments are played by beautifully smiling girls instead of a slightly arrogant male singer. Three girls playing a type of Bipa. It's a traditional Korean music instrument with four or five strings. We've seen these girls practicing earlier in the afternoon when we visited several class rooms. A girl playing another type of Gayageum. This one is put flat on a table instead of held on the player's knees. The show is very entertaining and technically advanced. This is certainly not a play station generation. How many hours will have passed to reach this level of skill? Arirang!. Called the greatest show on earth this is what we've all been waiting for. At dusk we collect outside the 150,000 seat May Day Stadium where an illuminated fountain adds to the atmosphere. After a warming up of the 20,000 students that each form a pixel in the 20,000 pixel background picture, the show starts with the first hundreds of performers entering the field. The Arirang Mass Games is a performance where 100,000 performers are presenting a compact history of North Korea in dance and gymnastics. Each scene involves thousands of performers moving in unison in a magnificent choreography. It's incredible to see them appear and disappear in total darkness in a matter of seconds. Arirang opens with Sunrise. Formation of the rising sun. In the background the principle of the human pixel wall can be seen. The students carry a book with colored pages that is to be opened at a certain page at a certain moment. Part of scene 3, the Korean national flower Kimilsungia, created from 24 women each. 1948, The founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as North Korea calls itself, and the DPRK flag created by the pixel wall. The North Korean army takes a prominent role in scene 4. The finale of the scene shows the Great Leader and Eternal President Kim Il Sung, greeted by cheering and clapping from the audience. Scene number 5 is "Bright moon in my country" featuring Kim Il Sung as the sun and Kim Jung Il as the moon. Energy and industry is the central topic of scene 7 presented by gymnasts that again show beautifully choreographed movements and figures. Agriculture is the topic of scene 8. So it's not strange to see hundreds of chicken and walking eggs appearing in the central area. All kinds of animals and vegetables running around make for a somewhat surrealistic impression. Traditional Korean culture is presented in scene 9. Again we witness fabulous precision and synchronization. Scene 10 is dedicated to the 21st century. The wall reads "Strong country, great improvement". One of the messages of scene 11, dealing with Martial Arts, is "Let's speed our country's greatness". The scene is performed by thousands of tae kwon do martial arts experts. A new element in the Arirang Mass Games is a scene dedicated to the friendship with North Korea's northern neighbor China. Dragons, panda bears amidst traditional Korean people. One of the final scenes: Arirang for 3000km. The globe appearing is accompanied by the message "Chosun goes to the world". The grand finale of the Arirang Mass Games brings fireworks illuminating the sky. We're left in awe after such a fantastic performance. What a show! It's the morning of our last day in North Korea. Buildings are mirrored in the calm waters of the Taedong. Ten minutes without guides, ten minutes to walk on your own, though on Yanggak island only. Along the train track people working in the rice fields stop and wave towards the train. Although it's all manual labor, people look cheerful. Everywhere rice is being harvested. Hopefully this will be a good year for North Korea and its inhabitants. Green fields with vegetables and an ox to plough the fields. The ox still doubles as the North Korean tractor and ox-carts can be seen everywhere. The North Korean government doesn't like pictures like these as they show the near absence of mechanic equipment. Is this just a casual meeting or will the lady face some problems? We'll never know. Propaganda is visible along the railroad. Local villagers are manually harvesting corn. The corn will be dried on the roofs of the people's houses. An ox-cart is carrying a load of dried stems of corn. Farmers are working in the field as they've always done. Probably they will continue to do so unless North Korea will become part of the greater world. A way of working that has virtually disappeared in the western world where large size farms have replaced manual labor and subsistence farming. The Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge linking the Chinese city of Dandong to the North Korean city of Sinuiju. North Korea starts where the lights dim.
North Korea
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