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“It’s incredible to think about. We live in a society where we have access to all sorts of information. But there, they block everything off and they generally don’t allow anyone in. All we know is what they want us to know.
When they take you around, it’s very coordinated, scheduled, and they try to show you the best of North Korea. They really try to make it seem like a great place, so the whole time you’re trying to peek behind the curtain, while they’re putting on a show.
Benjamin describes North Korea as very 1984-esque – extremely uniformed and contrived. He recalls waking up at 6 a.m. and hearing loudspeakers in the distance playing Communist chants and songs; oddly similar to the morning call to prayer in Muslim countries.
Instead, Benjamin saw propaganda – huge murals, posters and enormous bronze statues of their former leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim jong-Il.
One of the best parts of Benjamin’s visit was attending May Day celebrations. It’s one of the few times during the year when the country allows tourists to walk around freely for three hours.