North Korea – 2008 – The Great Pyramid and the ride to our new hotel.

Leaving Pyongyang – We are leaving Pyongyang for another city today. Let me tell you about our hotel before we leave. In the front and to the side of it is a nine hole golf course. Have you heard the story of Kim Jung Il making several holes in one on his first effort at golf? Yep, that’s a fact, or so we are told. The hotel has a rotating restaurant on the top. A scary thought.

Having said that, the people in the hotel were polite and as friendly as they thought possible without getting shot, I presume. My wife brought chocolate candy for them. Remember the dogs in the airport?

I made the mistake of wanting to climb the stairs back to the room rather than using the elevator. “Who inspects the elevator, has it ever been inspected?” These are the thoughts that go through my brain when I travel. Sorry. No lights in the stairwell. O.K. Back to the elevator.

I have no complaints about our accommodations or any one who worked there. Not always the case, by the way.

So, we are driving through Pyongyang. No traffic. I mean no traffic at all. You could get out of the bus and unroll a blanket on the main highway and take a nap. Oh, did you know they have the worlds largest Arch de Triumph? That’s correct according to our guide. A good fact to remember.

So there is this gigantically tall isosceles triangle shaped building in town. I notice these things being a contractor. It dives my wife crazy by the way. It is covered with construction netting of an orange color I think. It turns out that it is going to be a very high end hotel, so our guide tells. That’s great, I think. Things are getting better in this town. Good for them.

Then I find, when I get home, that the Russians started building this thing thirty years ago and put the elevator shaft in wrong and the building can’t be used. So it sits there, covered in construction netting looking like it is still being worked on. Lesson learned again. Don’t be fooled by the commies, they are liars.

Our new hotel looks like a Los Vegas casino again. I’m not surprised or disappointed. I’m starting to get into a rhythm here. We go to our room to get settled. It’s different but completely functional.

The bath room is a molded, not molding, molded on piece unit. It looks like something that you might find in a North Korean Hotel. What else can I say. The floor of our room has wall to wall carpeting. It looks fine. On further inspection, the carpet is cut to fit the room and it’s edges curl up the walls about an inch or so. It is different. Not wrong but different. We travel to see different. We see different in North Korea.

In the morning one of our group asks if he can go for a run. “No,” was the answer. My wife wants to take¬† some pictures, so I say, “let me go ask our guide.” She replies, “it’s fine were just going for a short walk. We did. We saw the locals going off to work and to school and they saw us and checked us out as we checked them out. We waved and they gave tight little wavs back to us as they went on there way. We say some birds and some interesting insects and the country side. We probably walked further than the poor guy wanted to run.

When we got back to the hotel, and no one was the wiser. Maybe we were just lucky. I don’t know, but I was a little nervous the whole time.

Let me talk of the food some now. My wife and I are not fussy eaters. My wife has some perimeters when it comes to food. I do not. Our meals came in individual courses, on small plates, one at a time. I thought maybe North Korean food would come like Chinese food and we would mix and match. Not so here.

I still do not know what the meat was. It was fine but I have no idea what animal it came from. And remember, just a few years before this trip thousands if not millions were starving here. We chose to come here and I am not complaining at all. It was different, not bad at all. Bottled water seemed hard to come by, but not beer. Beer is everywhere. Hence, the shortage of water perhaps.

This hotel is set in a forest of tall green trees and the setting is beautiful. Tomorrow we go out for a day trip. I will tell you about that next time.