Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Day 172: Burness Scares Children

At just after 8am today, Burness and I arrived back from a week in North Korea.

Taken from one perspective, it was a very interesting and enjoyable trip.

But from another side, it was a sometimes painful look at an oppressed and unhappy nation.

As you can see, Burness didn't fare so well.

Our week in North Korea was a genuinely fascinating experience that I am still processing. The week was relentless in its sightseeing pace and I saw enough in a week to usually last me a month or more. Throughout it all was the subtext - beneath the surface of everything we saw was another story, usually one of brainwashing propaganda about either the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung, or his son, the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il. I was extremely lucky to be placed in a terrific group of about fourteen people that helped give various perspectives on what we saw, and that enjoyed a few drinks every night. Luckier even was our North Korean guide, an achingly sweet girl that made the sometimes relentless sightseeing and propaganda a pleasure.

So: surreal, exhilarating, heartbreaking. North Korea is without any question the most different place I have ever been. It is a dystopian society stuck in a Soviet time capsule. Yet it isn't quite the place painted by much Western journalism. When I have processed it a little more, and have some time, I will make a very humble effort to make sense of and write up about an incredible week.

As for Burness, the impact of North Korea is written all over his face...

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nev, I'm really sorry about your friend's infection but I was pissing myself with Chris for a long time. My style.



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