Favorite moments in North Korea of my travel group-mates, part 2

January 4, 2012 by Joshua
in NorthKorea

Continuing favorite moments from part 1, yesterday


My favorite moment was learning that the sailor who led the tour of the USS Pueblo was a member of the original boarding party of the ship. I felt he had communicated a message to take what we had learned there and use it to help promote peace, a different message than most of the government-promoted messages. Learning his role made the message feel more genuine, which helped me see him and North Koreans in general as human beings first, all the more so for him being in a uniform. Here I am shaking his hand.

For comparison, watch the video they showed us to start the tour of the Pueblo, which sounded more typical of the state message, which I wouldn’t interpret as promoting peace.

Having played ultimate about twenty years, I have to rank playing in Pyongyang’s first ever tournament as one of my favorite moments. Sport allowed us to share non-verbal communication transcending language and cultural barriers. Everyone participated, including all of us, all our guides, plus random strangers. Plus I stalled a guy and caught the game-winning goal.

Mr. Lee

Mr. Lee, one of our guides, said the direct action or and playing ultimate was his favorite part of the trip. I don’t have any pictures of him playing. He also ranked the shooting range and the Mass Dance, which he’d been to before, at the top.

I couldn’t find an image of Mr. Lee at the shooting range so, for context, here’s Jim showing the enjoyable parts of it — alcohol, guns, girls, and laughter.

Jim at shooting range in Pyongyang, North Korea

Here is an image of Mr. Lee from behind at the Mass Dance, I believe (images from Andrew).

Mr. Lee at Mass Dance

For context, here are some pictures of the Mass Dance with me in them, looking as dorky as you can imagine.

Ms Yu

Ms Yu, another one of our guides, also said frisbee was her favorite part of our trip. She said it was for the playing — I’m not sure if she meant playing disc or playing around, so here we are playing around. Anyway, she’s the woman on the right, in black, in the pictures below. The other woman was a guide for another group.


Jim also said the USS Pueblo was one of his favorite moments, also for the sailor’s message after knowing his history. Here Jim is on the boat (picture from Andrew).

Jim on the USS Pueblo in Pyongyang, North Korea

Jim also remarked on the emotion he felt at the DMZ when he happened to make eye contact with some South Korean soldiers. To that point that day we were enjoying ourselves, not thinking that much about the sensitivity of our location. He said making eye contact with them brought him into the moment, forcing him to ask “What am I doing here?” Here he is at the DMZ, looking south. I believe that table straddles the border between the two Koreas. He may have been making eye contact with South Korean soldiers at this moment.

Jordan, Jim, Ms Yu at DMZ

Jim also remarked that walking into the Mass Games stadium was one of his favorite moments.


Andrew said the Buddhist monk, for his serenity, marked his favorite moment. Here are a few images of Andrew’s of the Buddhist temple, the monk, and a couple of us (Andrew, Ingrid, and Jordan).

Tomorrow: part 3

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4 responses on “Favorite moments in North Korea of my travel group-mates, part 2

  1. Pingback: Favorite moments in North Korea of my travel group-mates, part 3 | Joshua Spodek

  2. Pingback: Favorite moments in North Korea of my travel group-mates, part 1 | Joshua Spodek

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