Posts tagged north korea
We already miss Kim at the Beijing Station: we dont know where to go. But i manage to find the metro station. They scan every suitcase and every bag, no matter if it is a train or a subway station. They dont do it in city busses yet, lets see how long that lasts. The metro is quite full, no matter at what time, altho compared with the Tokyo metro, where the securities push people inside until they become bidimensional, the Beijing metro is rather like the Gobi Desert. You’re not supposed to eat or drink in the train, as in ma ny western cities nowadays – the comfort and the cozyness are sacrificed for the security. Or to save money: they can save a lot of money if the cleaners dont have to work so much, which is important because kli ning personel is very expensive, especially in China.
The remnants of group B from Nordekorea meet at the Tien An Men, the Heavenly Peace Square, where 20 years a go me ni de mon strators attained unvoluntarily the heavenly peace. The place is all blocked, one sees soldiers marching everywhere, they’re celebrating some ding. Steffen and Enrico are the on li ones who come, we see each other but cant talk because of the crowd between us. Two yung chi nese girls are stan ding bi side me, one of them smiles to me, we start a conversation. They are quite spontaneous, look nice, they say they come from the kun tryside an ar tourists like me, and they stay for a week. They say they find mai ir ring cute. Eventually they ask me if i dont want to drink a coffee with them, i tell i have to meet my friends and i can ask them if we should make a bigger group. Den de ce le bration is over, we meet Enrico first but he isnt keen on the girls at all. Sorry girls, maybe tomorrow – they give me their phone numbers. Steffen join us, and Enrico shows me a text in his China guide that tells about chinese girls that talk to tourists saying they want to practice their eng lish an den dei take them to shops where the owners ask astronomic prices for “art” that isnt worth a banana. The group B, including me, goes to a night street market, where nearly every ding that moves is roasted, fried or cooked. Enrico ate already a scorpion once, he says it tasted crispy but not especially good. I just eat meat balls, hopefully not filled with scorpions – they dont taste bad, anyway, the meat balls. By the way, the prices are friendly, even if not so friendly as in the old times. One bottle with more than half a liter beer costs around one dollar, a meal costs something like 2 to 6 dollars, i mean of course what i eat – of course yu kan spend a lot of money in very little time, if you have it and you want to do it. And if your stomach has a bad time, there is a public toilet in almost every corner, so you dont have to sneak into a restaurant as if you were a thief. The toilets became quite better, they’re not a row of holes beside each other anymore, they’re real cabins with doors and all you need. For smokers the country is a real paradise: you cant smoke in the train station halls but at least on the platforms. You cant smoke in the train cabins but yu kan smoke in the rooms between the waggons an in de restaurant. You cant smoke in fast food restaurants, but everywhere else, even in places where there is a no smo king sign. And not few people smoke while they’re eating. Actually these bans arent a consequence of big pharma’s efforts to strangle its smaller competitor, the tobacco branch, these bans have been there since the communist times. The best i’ve seen was the sign in de hotel room sei ing that it is forbidden to smoke in de room, and beside the sign was an ashtray.
On the TV they speak chinese, always with subtitles – in chinese. I had never seen something like that before, but it is really necessary, because of the very different dialects.
Most foreigners believe that the chinese dont have R’s, so they pronounce them as L. But actually no sound is as conspicuous as the chinese R. It is like an english R, but more strongly rolled, they just dont recognize an italian R as R but as L. They loose their ability to tell non-english R from L at the age of 10 months. Complicated are the SH sounds: chinese with roman alphabet is called pinyin, and the C there is like a mix of DZ with SH. The CH is simmilar to english CH, but strongly aspirated. A D before I sounds a bit like DJ, almost like a CH, while J sounds like CH, and Q sounds like a mix of Z and SH, the SH sounds like a strongly aspirated SH, the X is like a mix of german CH (in the word ‘ich’, or a bit like the H in ‘huge’) with SH, and the ZH is like a DZ with a SH, but different of C. All these sounds are slightly different from each other, and foreigners can hardly notice the difference, as well as chinese from other regions. And then they have tones: MAO in the ascending tone means ‘west’, in the descending tone it means ‘cat’, in the descending-and-then-ascending tone ‘pubic hair’, etc (dont trust my tone descriptions!). So you should be careful about your tone when you flatter a lady’s cat.
We’r alowd to visit a book shop, and wen the whole group is inside, they lok the dors. Nobody goes out, nobody comes in. Now and then yu find a book that wasnt written by Kim Il Sung. In the follow we go walk thru a square or park with sevral fountans, OK, it’s a butiful place, but i tel Kim that we’d like to see the real life, cant we visit a supermarket or food stor ware nordekoris buy thare stuf? Kim ses thare is no time for it. Steffen decides to try a bit mor and ses that if they dont show us some things, i think the worst. Kim answers that the cuntry isnt prepared for that yet. Now the diplomats can alreddy do thare shopping in nordekoriano shops (if they realy want), but tourists cant – step by step. We ar taken to another sort of shop, we can buy scotch wisky, french wine, german chocolat. Do they realy think that thees germans travel over haf world to buy german chocolat? (weiterlesen …)
Until a little wile ago it was forbidden to comunicate with the local population. Now it is not forbidden ennymor, but aparently only the service personel in hotels and restaurants know that. On the way in a park to an “original koriano village” we come by a pavillon full of koris, it seems that they’r wating for the rane to go away. I go under the pavillon and say helo, but nobody answers. Then we look at the koriano village for a few minnuts, wen we come bak all the koris hav disapeerd, eeven if it is stil raning. Nevertheless all the time peeple wave to us in the bus, especialy elder peeple, and kids do it ennyway. Of course, it is biological to be curius about beings we dont know. But menny addults dont trust thare new freedom.
We visit the National Circus, wich is in a UFO building. Quite impressiv. The most impressiv for me was the jump roper – how can your bak and ass jump, eeven if only a few centimeters above the ground? And then thare wer the trapeez artists hi above the ground. One artist eeven fell down: after she’s throen up almost to the roof, she comes down with the boddy and the arm turning around like a propeller and has to be caught by the bouncing guy, but it is not eesy to catch a propeller, and she went strait down. Thank God thare is a net. The austrian Rainer ses they should concentrate thare efforts on mor important areas, but i dont think peeple would be doing much better without this. Also poor peeple need panis et circenses, bred and games, or in the case of Norde Korea, rice and games.
All North Korea fotos – Copyrite Rainer Hamet
In the flite to Pyongyang in North Korea with the old russian Ilyushin the passengers get a nice maggazin about North Korea ware they can see menny nice fotos and reed a lot about Kim Il Sung, provided they speek korian. I get thru the imigration quite quikly, much quicker than the imigration of the USA, the so-calld cuntry of freedom. But then at the customs i hav to leev my celfone – at leest nobody has to leev his laptop, as was the case a little wile ago. They’r improving! From the loudspeekers yu heer revolutionary music, on the walls thare ar lots of pictures of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. I get out, looking for the peeple from the koriano travel agency KTCI, i see a guy waring a brazilian soccer t-shirt. Yu find peeple waring brazilian soccer t-shirts like water in the ocean, but in North Korea i decide to ask, and indeed, the guy and the guy standing beside him ar brazilians. They work at the embassy, we go out to smoke a cigaret, chat a bit, and, hey, i hav to find my group! I find them, we go to the busses and then they tel me that this is not my group. I look around and find my group, ware i heer that they’v been looking for me despratly. Befor we get in the bus, the guide asks us if evrybody has a veesa. I ask the guide if he realy beleevs that ennybody can get thru this areport without a veesa. Then they find out that 2 passengers, including me, ar on the wrong list: we’r going bak by trane, so our celfones shouldnt stay heer. We hav to go bak into the security zone, find our celfones and they go with us to the hotel. Of course we dont carry them, this is the guides’ job.