Would you expect an amusement park in Pyongyang, North Korea? Not only did we go to a big one, we saw remnants of old roller coasters and other rides in other parts of Pyongyang.
We weren’t sure how many people got to enjoy the fun fair, but for most tourists it’s their best chance to interact directly with North Koreans untrained by the government to lead their tours. We had great chances earlier that day in Kim Il Sung Square, but this was fun too.
Here Jordan and I take some pictures with some cute girls. What can we say, whom else would we take pictures with?
You may remember Jordan as the guy who invited me to North Korea the first time. He also got Polaroid to give him a free camera so we could leave pictures with people there, which was a great idea that won us many friends.
Sorry, I don’t know what they were saying. If anyone can translate, I’ll post the translations.
Here we’re at the top of an amusement park ride that holds you maybe one hundred meters up for an unknown amount of time, then drops you so you fall with gravity and then bounce up and down.
You know how amusement parks mean waiting in long lines to get on rides? Well, foreigners in North Korea get their own lines, which mean no waiting. We felt funny being ushered past everyone waiting to get on right away.
On the one hand, we estimated that the government exchange rate meant we paid about thirty times more for each ride. On the other hand, their government officially hated us, so how did they make sense of giving us such visible privileged access? How did regular North Korean jibe their government calling us enemies while also treating us so specially?
Besides that mystery, it was great to see regular people having fun. I presume being in Pyongyang means your family is well-connected and privileged within North Korea and that having leisure time and money to go to an amusement park means you’re privileged within Pyongyang.
On our last trip there we had an attractive young woman in our group and guy at the fun fair hit on her, which she enjoyed.
Not that a video of an amusement park ride is that crazy — just that you wouldn’t expect it in North Korea.
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