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I went somewhere interesting...

zahgurim

Underwater monkey
Mar 9, 2005
1,101
12
lolAsia
...last weekend:

Gaesong city, in North Korea.

Not too many foreign people have been through this area, was cool to see. People were just as curious about me as I was about them.

You bastard Americans are not allowed in the country, and South Koreans can only do special group tours organized by the North and South governments, to one area only. I think those are now stopped though, because of what just happened. Last weekend a South Korean tourist on a special grouptrip was being a stubborn handful, and was shot and killed for not listening to her handlers. That'll teach her...

Made my trip a bit interesting getting through customs and crossing the border... took longer than it should have to get crossing clearance.

I'm really trying to organize a bikey trip to one of the mountains there, but am unsure how things will progress.
Would be cool to have first tracks in North Korea, but would not be cool to be killed for riding too fast, or riding over a landmine... see what happens, I guess.


Gaesong was the prior capital of Korea, before the supporters of a previous king were assassinated and the capital moved to Seoul by a bastard ursurper.
During the Korean war this city was a no-fire zone, as it was where senior officers from both sides did their debating and they didn't want their asses blown off. Unlike the rest of Korea, there's lots of old historical stuff around the general area that wasn't destroyed in the war.

As a waygook (stinky foreigner) in the country, you get escorted everywhere by more than one handler. They watch you, and each other. Gotta do what they say, or you're screwed.



Here's some pics. enjoy:

Waterfall, 37m high. Wanted to jump it, but wanted to not get shot at even more...

















Food was awesome.
One of the tastiest meals I've eaten in Asia.



Restored original downtown










North Korean bookstore. Full of commie literature... I picked up an english book about Japan's war crimes against Korea, will crack it open soon. Figured it wouldn't be frowned upon by South Korean customs.


Oldest bridge in Korea. Over 1000 years old, it's now blocked off so it doesn't degrade any farther. That assassination took place on this bridge, carried out with a big-ass hammer.








Need cash? Sell your slaves!








This stuff tasted like fermented shoelaces. At least it was cheap. $1 per 640ml bottle. Got some funny looks being the only whitey and walking around with a big bottle of beer, but I was getting funny looks before that anyway...


Constant military presence. Taking their pics is a no-no. oops...


 

ire

Turbo Monkey
Aug 6, 2007
6,199
4
No pics of starving kids?? :) Nice photos, definitely not how I imagined N. Korea
 

valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,791
36
Japan
F*cken hell!!!!!! Mate, what an experience. Thanks for sharing. Pretty safe to say that you're the only monkey to have been there. :thumb::thumb:
 

X3pilot

Texans fan - LOL
Aug 13, 2007
5,861
1
SoMD
Very cool pics, what an experience. Actually looks like a very nice place, which I'm sure most places like that are, without the media stereotypes we put on them.
 

zahgurim

Underwater monkey
Mar 9, 2005
1,101
12
lolAsia
Here working and playing!

Just heard on the news here that they're stopping the tour I went on because of the South Korean woman getting shot on the other mountain/seaside tour right before I went...

South Korean gov't is pissed that North Koreans won't let them investigate the shooting, and are talking about stopping food aid too.

Things are going to get interesting here again...


Foreigners (other than Americans and South Koreans) can still enter the country through Beijing, but that is very very far from cheap, and a paperwork nightmare.


I saw plenty of people tooling about on their regular business, just got no pics of them, or the areas they lived in. I was watched very carefully. Wasn't allowed to take pics of locals at all, or anything outside of the vehicle windows during transport.
I've been to China a couple times, this city and area are way more attractive as someplace cool to visit.

The air is so clean, and trees are actually green. Almost nobody had cars, except for the Commies very high up in the party. Most everybody else either walks, or rides a bike everywhere (if they have rich relatives in China to get them a bike).
No brandnames on clothes, no brutal neon advertising (actually, no signs at all other than the odd giant propaganda painting).

In the city people live in grey concrete apartment blocks, very old-school Russian comunist era looking. In the country people live in groups of houses looking very much like the old restored houses in the center of town.
 

stosh

Darth Bailer
Jul 20, 2001
22,152
297
NY
On another forum I'm in someone visited Pyongyang and took pics. It was like a ghost town city with huge propaganda statues and stuff. Very very cool photos.

Thanks for the great write up, how were you allowed in the country?
 

zahgurim

Underwater monkey
Mar 9, 2005
1,101
12
lolAsia
I'm Canadian, eh!

Apply, wait two weeks for clearance, and go!
Anyone can do it, as long as you're not American. Cost me about $200 for the day, transport and lunch included.
South Koreans are even able to enter the country, as long as they are on an approved tour. At least, they were for the last 6 months, now, who knows what will happen? I think starting tomorrow they won't be allowed in anymore.
 

brungeman

I give a shirt
Jan 17, 2006
5,173
0
da Burgh
Nice pics man... what a great experience! thanks for sharing!

VB, not only is he the only monkey there, but he is probably the only one in Korea who wears a RM t-shirt! :biggrin: