Saturday, January 26, 2008

North of the border

Neil Gadling gives a virtual tour of North Korea. It starts in just that way that would be familiar to those who gone to places, here unnamed, with a similar reputation. "I had flown in on a Russian Tupolev jet from Shenyang, China on a very low trajectory that never took us above the cloud layer. The countryside below was gray, misty, and depressing--just as I had always imagined it would be--and occasionally intersected by random dirt roads with hardly any vehicles on them."

And later ...

There is no such thing as the internet in North Korea or cell phones. Anyone entering the country had to leave their cell phones with customs officials who kept them locked up and inaccessible for the entirety of our stay. And I certainly didn't get a copy of USA Today under my hotel room door.

Surprisingly, being cut off from the outside world was actually somewhat enjoyable for the five days I spent in North Korea. I quite liked the freedom of not being tied to my cell phone and email and relished in the ignorant bliss of not being exposed to troubling international news. This isolationist cocoon where the state controls everything you hear and see, however, would not have been fun for too long. Living an entire life under such conditions would be hell.

Read the whole thing.


Blogger Tarnsman said...

One wonders if Bush has been more aggressive against North Korea and restricted its ability to trade with the outside world whether or not the tipping point would have been earlier (based on your earlier post the end may be near for NK). Regime change in the second Axis of Evil country. One more to go

1/26/2008 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

The Gadling series of articles is certainly interesting, although it would probably take an hour to watch all the videos.

This series of blog entries is a reprise of an unsupervised trip into Syria: Syrian Journal. The first part is at the bottom of the page.

In both of these articles the authors have no illusions that the country they are in is constantly lying to them and hiding the truth from its populace. In some ways this is different from the Pals and the Lebanese who seem to believe what their rulers tell them. Perhaps the Pals and Lebanese are just in an earlier stage of revolution.

1/26/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger vgregory said...

The description of Pyongyang in the third entry flashed me back to Camazotz, from Madeline L/Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" that I first read as an 8-year-old.

1/28/2008 12:44:00 PM  

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