Sunday, 21 May 2017

On the Road to Kaesong

On a week-long trip to North Korea 3 years ago, I took some 3000 pictures and managed to smuggle them out of the country (on the border to China the border-guard carefully checked all pictures on my camera and then erased about two-thirds of them, but fortunately didn't find the two USB-sticks that were hidden in my backpack).

But then back home I never really found the time to sort through all of them. Here are some pictures from a trip to the border city of Kaesong, discreetly taken from a back-seat of our tour bus. Although we only saw a small part of the country, some of the pictures offer a least some glimpses at life in the countryside in North Korea. 

The total absence of agricultural machines. Most farming still seems to be done with bullock carts and ploughs. The eerie emptiness of the huge Pyongyang-Kaesong highway. The anti-tank concrete pillars that can be pushed across roads to the south, should the Americans decide to attack. The young pioneers with their small broom-sticks on a mission to keep their city clean. The happy and laughing face of a woman who looks at them. The stern and haggard looks on the faces of most of the men. The little girl in her pink dress, and the elderly women selling vegetables, something that would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. And a question I've been asking myself for some time, why are so many people pushing their bicycles instead of riding them?