David Thompson


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April 24, 2009


James S

"This is shopping in North Korea. The clerk sits in the dark, unheated special store, waiting to turn on the lights for foreigners, the only permitted customers. "She's wearing a ski jacket or parka; the rest of this time they're sitting there with the lights off, freezing," van Houtryve says. The goods —toys, televisions, and the like— are imported from China. The store only accepts euros."

It's literally gloomy.


“It’s literally gloomy.”

The permagloom (literal and figurative) is a theme of Guy Delisle’s book Pyongyang, which is worth a read. It’s a comic book account of his visit to the city and his constant surveillance. The airport and much of the city is unlit and his pocket guide forbids the use of lights at night, even when driving. The only floor of his hotel to have electricity is the one he and other foreigners are permitted to stay in. In order to save power, illumination is largely restricted to enormous monuments of the country’s father-son dynasty.


James S

Thanks, David. I'll order that.


North Koreans have the right to reject western capitalism!


Spiny Norman

And yet, Marxist student protestors in the South repeatedly demand reunification - under Pyongyang's rule.

Truly mind-boggling.


"Posing as a businessman looking to open a chocolate factory"

Are chocolate factories allowed in North Korea? Sounds a bit decadent.


“Are chocolate factories allowed in North Korea?”

And gumball factories too. I’m guessing the balls being squeezed by the Dear Leader are superior Communist gumballs, fully compliant with Juche philosophy:


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