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    September 4, 2017

    Day Three In The D.P.R.K. (a.k.a. North Korea) – August 16, 2017

    Due to the hurricane and southern California fires, my NBC World News episode did not make it to air.

    They said, “It could be recycled if Dateline wanted to pick it up.”

    So, yeah, no 15 seconds of fame, but that is the way life goes sometimes.

    However, I was quoted in a CNN news article: Postcards from the Hermit Kingdom: What Americans will miss in North Korea

    Now, on to the near conclusion of my trip to the D.P.R.K (a.k.a. North Korea, Best Korea):

    August 16, 2017

    We had to get on the bus early, as we were driving south to the DMZ.

    I should have brought my backpack down to breakfast with me because almost everyone on the bus was waiting for me – it takes forever to get an elevator in that hotel sometimes.

    Simon had to figure out who was missing and go get her – too much partying from last night.

    We managed to leave only a few minutes late, but our experienced driver made up for it.

    Propaganda mural in Pyongyang.
    The DPRK loves their leaders – there are murals and paintings everywhere of them.

    What I had noticed is that no matter which tour company you go with, when you get to North Korea, you end up with Korea International Tour Company, going on their buses and using their tour guides and going to the same places.

    I kept running across the “other tour company” with the person who threw me off the SCUBA diving trip.

    I saw her at the half way stop to the DMZ and she was standing alone.

    I went up and introduced myself.

    Whether she recognized my name, or ever remembered who I was or that she and the tour company committed egregious acts of national discrimination by throwing me off their SCUBA diving trip is unclear.

    However, I think she remembered my name.

    I said, “Well, too bad the SCUBA diving trip didn’t work out for Americans, but at least I made it here.”

    “Well, this is my last trip here, too,” she said.

    Yep, she is an American, and thanks to the US State Department and their travel ban to the DPRK, she can no longer do guided tours here.

    I thought Trump was suppose to be a job creator?

    It was at this rest stop that I handed the driver four packs of Camel filter cigarettes and Mr. Li six packs, as a tip.

    The drive to the DMZ took two and a half hours along the “Reunification Highway” – a pothole filled road of various widths that can give a bumpy ride if you’re sitting in the back of the bus.

    I saw some pretty skinny people along the way, but there was a mix of wealth.

    It sort of reminds me of Albania, you can see a car passing an ox drawn cart; however, none of them are Mercedes.

    When we finally reached the DMZ, we were let off the bus and lead in to a gift store to wait our turn to go on the tour.

    The DMZ.

    Our tour guides and Mr. Li had to leave their IDs with the military to proceed further.

    There were some North Korea soldiers walking around and laughing; they were saying in English, “Where are the Americans? Who’s American here?”

    Unfortunately, by the time I could respond, they already left.

    We were given a brief synopsis of the DMZ and how for the first time in the history of the United States we were defeated by a nation, by the Korean People under the wise leadership of Kim Il Sung.

    Monument at the DMZ.

    We got to see the signing room, where the Americans begged the DPRK for a ceasefire.

    Dear Leader Kim Jung Un spies on South Korea.
    Dear Leader Kim Jung Un spies on South Korea.

    North Korean Army leads the way.
    We were told, “Since this is the most intense place on the Korean peninsula, an Army man will accompany us for our safety.”

    The DMZ from the North Korean side.
    There it is – The DMZ from the North Korean side.

    Going to the blue DMZ buildings.
    We were lucky enough to go to the blue negotiation building, the only place where you can freely cross from North to South Korea.

    Border of North and South Korea at the DMZ.
    Border of North and South Korea at the DMZ.

    Inside the blue building at the DMZ.
    Inside the blue building at the DMZ.

    I was able to cross over to South Korea for a few minutes.

    The DMZ

    I was expecting the North and South Koreans to mad-dog each other at the border, but nobody was seen on the South Korean side.

    I asked why and was told, “The South Koreans are afraid of us, they are all hiding.”

    Apparently, the North and South agreed to share the DMZ by alternating turns.

    The North gets the DMZ in the morning and the South gets it in the afternoon – at noon, the North Koreans were to retreat and hide.

    Me with a North Korean army guy.
    Me with a North Korean army guy.

    The tour company made a quite interesting video of our DMZ tour, set to classic DPRK propaganda music and verbage…

    Youtube Video

    DMZ Video from the Tour Company, August 16, 2017

    We then went to Kaesong to visit a former Buddhist monastery, now museum.

    Officially, it is called the “Kaesong Koryo Museum” which displays artifacts from the Koryo Dynasty – the dynasty that united the Korean people until the US Imperialists split the country.

    Buddhist monastery in Kaesong

    Buddhist monastery in Kaesong

    The price of various slaves compared to the price of an ox.
    The price of various slaves compared to the price of an ox; young female slaves were worth more because they could produce more slaves.

    Diorama of an old Korean village.
    Diorama of an old Korean village.

    Me with a hot North Korean chick.
    Me with a hot North Korean chick.

    The gift shop.
    The gift shop where I scored a bottle of Ginseng wine, made in the DPRK.

    The University of Light Industry.
    The University of Light Industry.

    13 brass bowl meals with dog meat soup.
    Restaurant in Keasong – 13 brass bowl meals with dog meat soup.

    Yes, I paid $6 extra to eat dog – it tasted sort of like venison but a little sweeter; they put so much spice in the dog meat soup, it was hard to tell what dog tasted like.

    Here’s a video of the lunch.

    We then left to visit King Kongmin’s tomb that was raided by the Japanese Imperialists, I think during the 1930′s.

    Driving from Kaesong to King Kongmin's tomb.
    Driving from Kaesong to King Kongmin’s tomb.

    The tomb of King Kongmin.

    The Tomb Of King Kongmin.

    The tomb of King Kongmin.

    On the way back to Pyongyang, we stopped at the Reunification Monument.
    ..

    Reunification monument.
    The Reunification monument.

    Ryugyong Hotel
    The Ryugyong Hotel from a distance.

    Stopping for beer in Pyongyang.
    Stopping for beer in Pyongyang – “Cheers to friendship towards the DPRK.”

    The last meal.
    The last meal in Pyongyang for half of the group.

    The previous lunch was boiling in my colon, and there were no western toilets – just squat toilets.

    I grabbed a napkin and did the best to take care of business.

    I didn’t hit my pants – that was the key thing.

    I didn’t hit my pants!

    The last meal in the DPRK.
    The last meal in the DPRK.

    We partied at the hotel when we got back – DPRK Trip – The last Night – Part 30

    My journey home and thoughts on the trip will be coming soon!

    August 27, 2017

    An American Dives In North Korea

    August 14, 2017

    When I say I’m going to do something, I do it.

    I used to have that kind of persistency with women, but restraining orders, jail and getting beaten up all the time made me pursue traveling as a safer option.

    However, this will also probably be the lamest dive report that I have ever posted.

    I knew the hotel had a pool, so I brought my mask to go diving there, so I can say “I went diving in North Korea.”

    The pool at the Yanggakdo International Hotel is in the basement next to the saunas and the “male only” massage parlor.

    Unlike the pools in the Capitalist west, it costs $4.50 to use the pool if you are a hotel guest.

    With my mask and underwater camera in hand I carefully entered the pool, making sure not to disturb the person doing laps on the other side.

    I could not detect any chlorine or salt in the water but it was cool and clear.

    Visibility was excellent – you could see all the way to the other side of the pool.

    I think this was the first time in a long time I did not have fins, and I forgot how awkward swimming in bare feet is; there is absolutely no momentum kicking without fins.

    As I swam from one side of the pool to the next, the temperature changed as I went by the jets of warm water that kept the pool warm.

    As I exited and left to go back to my hotel room, I had accidentally tracked water in to the lobby.

    Instead of giving me 15 years of hard labor, I was handed an extra towel.

    Video is here:

    DPRK Trip – An American Goes Diving In The DPRK – Part 11

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