North Korea is called the Hermit Kingdom for good reason. Much like a hermit crab, they are weird, insane looking and have a crusty, near impenetrable shell. No one really wants to go in there and see what’s inside, but that sick, twisted curiosity inside you (the kind that slows down at car crashes) says to DO IT.
It’s very important that you listen to that sick, twisted curiosity, even if the State Department advises against it at this time.
Because North Korea is opening up.
Thus begins Part Two of our triad “Going Where No Man Has Gone Before. Kinda.”
North Korean is traditionally seen as a dystopian nightmare of a country. That image is right. Their form of autocratic, dynastic leadership is corrupt and ugly, at best. There are countless articles and documentaries proving that North Korean government and leadership is the worst. And you should watch them. But because they’ve shut themselves off so much, North Korea is struggling. As a form of concession, they’ve granted tours.
This is big news. You get to see this car crash of a country up front and in person.
According to The Daily Mail, Beijing tour company, Koryo Tour is organizing a 10 night train journey throughout North Korea. Unlike previous tours in North Korea, you won’t be constrained to the capital Pyongyang. In the second largest city, Hamhung, you’ll tour a fertilizer factory. In Chongjin, you’ll be blessed to endure a synchronized dance by local North Korean school children. When you see the country side, it’s rumored that, “…the air around Mount Myohyang – known as the Mountain of Mysterious Fragrance – is said to be so fresh that people won’t wake up with a hangover…”
Unfortunately, this is not the same mountain where Kim Jong-il’s birth was prophesied with a swallow and a double rainbow and a new star in the heavens. This is still North Korea, and not the post-apocalyptic hellscape that one thinks of at first glance. So, you’ll have at least two North Korean friends (read: Government Minders) accompanying you every step of the day.
Dennis Rodman can’t be the only solid American delegate that goes into North Korea. With American tourism dollars, comes American tourists. So slap on your Hawaiian tees and your big white puffy shoes and try to start a conversation with a stranger really loudly. When you ask for the American tax dollar, go show North Korea what that really means and what you’re really getting. Do it for America, man.