Tuesday, October 11, 2011


You might expect a thorough search at customs and be right. Or you expects nothing and just a couple of polite questions are asked.
We arrived by plane and were quite surprised by the no hassle handling of our arrival. Customs only packed the mobile phone of my friend and handed it over to our guide, who returned it by the end of our journey. We speculated, which of our “belongings” we should list on the small form for customs. At the airport no search of our suitcases.
We took the railway out from Pyongyang to Dandong. A North Korean business man joint us in our compartment. Shortly before the border our passports were collected and customs entered the train. The thorough officer turned every carpet and looked behind the seats. We had to put our cameras on the desk to be inspected for unfavourable pictures, which were on the cards in abundance! But then he searched the business man’s purse and found a SIM card. He had licked blood. And he found a memory stick and another SIM card. We had to leave the compartment. Did the business man have to strip? Did he pay a bribe? We never found out. Then some CDs had to be played on the laptop, memory sticks were checked. Then they took the business man out of the waggon together with his laptop. We reentered the compartment and put our cameras away. Just before the train left North Korea, the business man came back. In searching him they didn’t have the time to go over my 2200 plus and my friends 1300 plus pictures. But it had been close. Finding one picture would have been enough to erase the card – at least those were the thoughts crossing our minds.

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