While we were stuck at the little state-fair-like celebration for foreigners, the elite and military of Pyongyang were participating in this:
You may recognize the place as Kim Il Sung Square, where we were meeting and joking around with regular people just the day before.
We did, however, get to see everyone streaming from the parade. Our bus couldn’t move because we got stuck behind a road closing. First we waved to people from the bus.
Here you see lots of friendly North Koreans and North Korean families exiting from the parade.
We’re saying the only relevant Korean we knew, which was “an yang hassimnika,” which means hello. I understand that in South Korea it’s formal, but standard in North Korea.
Getting out of the bus
I asked our guides if we could get out of the bus and to our surprise they said we could, so we got out to smile, shake hands, and try to be friendly with the North Koreans leaving the parade.
As usual, I don’t know how they saw us, but we’re confident the communication increased understanding between our countries, something our governments can’t do and don’t have the motivation to.
Of course, many people probably didn’t like us. Still, we think the best way for people there to understand foreigners is to observe them/us directly.
Kids in a plaza
After the parade, on the way to the giant statues of Kim Il Sung and, newly, Kim Jong Il, our bus stopped near a plaza where lots of kids were passing by. Feeling friendly from the parade, I tried to high-five them too.
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