Kim Il Sung Square, the day before his birthday celebration
Kim Il Sung Square hosts the big rallies with the soldiers marching in huge numbers past whichever great leader is in power. We visited the day before the big hundredth anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. The day was cool and foggy. We had one of the most amazing experiences of our lives.
See all those groups of people in the second picture? I’m not sure why they were there — maybe honoring their holiday in the main location the day before the big ceremonies they probably wouldn’t be allowed to attend in person. We ended up joking, singing, and playing with a lot of them. How do you joke and sing with people you can’t communicate with while an intrusive government watches everything? We started with high-fives and taking pictures together. That brought the smiles.
Soon they swarmed around us, laughing and smiling. We sang, played games, and kept interacting. It was amazing. Us laughing and playing games with hundreds of North Koreans, everybody laughing and amazed at the fun we were having.
We even high-fived and joked with soldiers in groups — soldiers of an army I think we still have a signed declaration of war with. I can’t describe how unbelievable this experience was. Like I wrote earlier, I donâ€™t know when the United States and North Korean governments will be at peace, but we made it sooner.
I’ll post videos when I get back out of China, whose government blocks YouTube.
I took the three pictures below from the bus on the river side of the square. The big building in the center is the Grand People’s Study House (here are views from it from my first trip).
By the way, see those other tour buses on the right in the third picture? Those are other tour groups, who had been there when we arrived. They were just walking around the square, observing but not interacting. What losers! We took the initiative to interact and play with people. You have to live life, not just watch it from the sideline.
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