Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mystic North Korea

Some places in the world own a mysticism that keeps people going there to see it with their own eyes: as Timbuktu, Taj Mahal, Forbidden City, Bagan, Ankor Wat, Fireland, Tahiti, and so on. Most lists won’t mention North Korea, but it is mysterious, shrouded, someone called it the Hermit Kingdom, but it is the last stalinistic state. The many hearsays you come across makes you want to go there, have a look for yourself.

Visa isn’t really the problem, though we had to wait as we were trying to stay longer than the usual tourist, who comes for a short trip of about four days. We stayed 16 days. We flew in from Beijing and took the railway out.

You can’t go anywhere without your driver, your guide, and your interpreter. We had a German speaking interpreter, me friends were talking French, the guide tried a few word of English with my friends, but was quite fluent in Chinese, so he could communicate with me directly. The driver only knew Korean. We learned and used some Korean words on the trip.

The tour is prearranged. You tell, where you want to go, and then you see, where you are to go. Some things may be arranged on the spot, but not much.

The strangest discussion has been on raising snails. You have to appreciate snails. Most places the local guides would tell you a few lines, where the most important part was, when Kim Il Song, the Great Leader, or Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader, visited place.

Mystic places could also be seen – the ragged mountains. And it was possible to hike, not alone and your guide eager to avoid any accident.

The mysticism will stay as long as there is no easy access. But all mysticism of North Korea is bought by the suffering of the greater part ot its population.

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