The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
Yep... the mad one.
I went to North Korea. I’m not sure why. I think I was going through a period
when I was worried that I was a boring person. Is that a good reason?
These pictures (and the stiff sarcasm of the accompanying comments) drastically over-simplify what was a week of mixed experiences and mixed emotions. We met new friends, I think, and saw real people living in a difficult situation. We were shown big impressive sets against which more people undoubtedly were acting out thriving lives for the benefit of our cameras, and we saw through little cracks to catch a glimpse of something that couldn't quite be hidden. Even now, years later, I still don't know how to feel about having been there. But it was one hell of an experience.
We flew back via Beijing. We took a few days to decompress. One of us, Greg, had been this way before. He knew a remote part of the Great Wall that was old, crumbling and free from tourists. Technically, it was also closed off. A little bit of rule-breaking was sorely needed. It was perfect. We were dropped off, we hiked up, we were alone. No guides. No locals taking nervous sideways glances in our direction. No permission needed to take a picture. We scrambled and climbed. We skirted close to the edge. I won't lie, it was a little scary in places. Like I said - it was perfect. We found a guard tower perched on a hilltop and slept under the stars. The feeling is indescribable.