Sophie In North Korea
The longer I think about what we saw and heard, the less sure I am about what any of it actually meant. Top Level Take-aways: Go to North Korea if you can. It is very, very strange. If it is January, disregard the above. It is very, very cold. I can't express how cold it was. Ordinary North Koreans live in a near-total information bubble, without any true frame of reference. The best description we could come up with: it's like The Truman Show, at country scale. I. We picked up visas at the check-in desk: slips of paper with our pictures taped on, which they then took back upon arrival at Pyongyang. Our flight was the only one coming into Pyongyang that day. We also met our handlers, two men from the Foreign Ministry, whom we gave code names. It was hard to reconcile this with our notion of hermetically-sealed North Koreans: Did it mean they'd passed the ultimate loyalty test? As minders go, they were alright. View of Juche Tower, downtown Pyongyang And those beds? Metro Station.
Related: North Korea: Behind the Curtain, Life in NK