Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off the the Worker's Paradise we go

Well, today might be Valentines Day, but it's tomorrow that I've been looking forward to for a long while. At 11:30am, I'll be on the flight out of Beijing, bound for Pyongyang, and from there my great North Korean adventure will begin.

Today was a briefing session with Simon at Koryo Tours, and the three other participants on the trip. Most of the practicalities seem to be taken care of, so there's nothing to worry about. I have my plane ticket in hand and the visa (a removable slip of paper, unfortunately) in the passport.

For the next five days, I can absolutely guarantee I'll be offline, so to keep you all amused (and also to satisfy the curiousity of all those NK spies who are sick of reading "Y'all listen up, dis is how you speak English good" by Charles Jenkins and want something else to do), here's a blow-by-blow itinerary. Of course, things often change once you hit the ground, but here tis anyhow:

Itinerary

Tues Feb 15th - Flight FNJ-PEK, meet guides at airport, transfer to Pyongyang, Performance at Theatre if running, Mansudae Grand Monument, Fountain Park, Arch of Triumph, Check in Yanggakdo Hotel, Dinner in Pyongyang, Overnight in Yanggakdo Hotel

Wednesday Feb 16th - Pyongyang City Tour, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Juche Tower, Kim Il Sung Square, Lunch in the TV tower, Some of the Parks to see what the local people are doing on this national Holiday, Grand People's Study House. Whatever celebrations are taking place for the Birthday of Kim Jong Il, Soiree (Mass Dancing), Kimjongilia Flower Show, etc. Overnight in Yanggakdo Hotel

Thursday Feb 17th - Remaining sights if Pyongyang including Mangyongdae Native House, Lunch in Pyongyang on the Boat Restaurant, To Kaesong, Tomb of Kongmin and Concrete Wall, Koryo Museum, Dinner and overnight in Minsok Hotel

Friday Feb 18th - To Panmunjom/DMZ Lunch in Restaurant in DMZ (former base of Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission) Return to Pyongyang, Shopping at Stamp Shop, Bookshop and Department Store, Circus of Schoolchildren's Palace performance, Dinner in Duck BBQ restaurant, Overnight in Yanggakdo Hotel

Saturday Feb 19th - Depart Pyongyang by train, dinner and overnight on the train

Sunday Feb 20th - Arrive in Beijing, End of Tour


One last thing - Wednesday, 16 February is the birthday of Kim Jong-il, The Dear Leader. Has anyone got any suggestions of a birthday present? Though my chances of giving him the gift directly are as unlikely as the chances of me stumbling across nuclear material whilst seeking an out-of-the-way toilet, I have been told that if I give it to the guides, it will be forwarded to the Dear Leader's office.

Any suggestions?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Give the dear leader a cyanide tablet.

Anonymous said...

A DVD of "Team America".

Tk.

Anonymous said...

A copy of the Duckworth-Lewis system. They keep 'em confussed for years.

Anonymous said...

Give him a free lunch with Dubbya and Condi.

Luv Aunty

Mikey Bear said...

How about a copy of the book Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley Martin?

Phillip Adams interviewed the author on Radio National a day or two ago. If/when you get a chance, listen to it on the web. Quite enlightening to say the least. Perhaps even send a copy of the interview to the Dear Leader.