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