I’m writing this post in North Korea although of course I won’t be able to post it until we’re out of the country. Facebook reminded me the other day that I’ve been using their social network for 10 whole years. In that time I’ve become completely accustomed to posting my random thoughts and opinions whenever I get the urge.
It’s particularly cruel that right now I can’t, in a place when there is such an abundance of material.
Being in North Korea is a bit like being in an alternative reality where everything seems almost normal, but isn’t quite.
We went to an exhibition of the flowers cultivated for and named after the great and dear leaders – the orchid Kimilsungia and the begonia Kimjongilia. Pretty odd, I thought.
Then just a few hours later we visited a sparkling water factory in which the production line was obviously started up as we waited outside. There were 2 staff and the line broke down several times in the short time we watched – bottles falling over and machines failing.
We went to a collective farm supposedly run by 2000 people, and saw only a few people.
Then we saw a group of female soldiers singing at a construction site – complete with microphones and speakers – to motivate the labourers. See the video above. I wondered a couple of times ‘WHERE AM I?’ I half expected Laura Palmer or the little girl from Stranger Things to pop up and say something cryptic before disappearing.
It’s really hard to get your head around everything you see and hear in this country – what is real and what isn’t?