Police, police on the streets, who is the fairest / smartest of them all?

One of the things you will definitely notice in Pyongyang, the capital city of the DPRK with a population of around 3 million, is the sheer number of smartly dressed police women and men on the streets. There seemed to be more police women than men, and many of the ladies are fairly young. They used to control traffic flow, although now traffic lights are available in most street corners of the city, most of which have been put up just a few years ago. They do not quite control traffic now but are nevertheless interesting to watch as they move about smartly, often turning sharply to the left or right in a military fashion.

Roads are not very busy but sometimes I worry for them when I see them in the middle of the road with big vehicles passing so near to them, but somehow knowing exactly how to avoid them.

So who is your favourite cop?

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TrafficPolice12-withBus

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Photo Essay of a Visit to the DPRK

In September, we visited the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK but more commonly referred to as North Korea).

The next few blog posts will document, mostly in photos, what I saw and felt as a curious outsider as I moved through this country still rather restricted in trade (due to longstanding trade sanctions) and travel. It is a country that is portrayed so differently by the western press and by its own highly controlled media.

Crowd Cheering March Past

Crowds of people lined the streets to cheer the military contingent as it went pass the streets of Pyongyang on 9 Sep. Many were shouting “Kamsahamnida” (which means thank you) as the soldiers passed by. I reckoned some 1 million North Koreans were out in Pyongyang celebrating the event, with probably up to 100,000 in the performing / marching contingents. Unfortunately we were not allowed to bring cameras or phones into the parade square. It was a most spectacular and well synchronized performance. We could only take photos from the streets after getting back to our hotel from the parade.

PyopngStreet-flags

Flags adorn the streets of Pyongyang especially during their national day celebrations of 9 Sep. This year is the 70th anniversary.

Plane1

The Air Kroyo plane that took us from Beijing and back. Scheduled commercial flights are few, namely from Beijing, Shenyang and Vladvostok. Chartered flights can be arranged from China, Russia or Mongolia. Alternatively, many take the 24-hour train  from Beijing to the border of North Korea or an even longer ride from Moscow.