Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The View From The Beach

The holiday is going splendidly; thank you to all who asked. We left London in the early hours on Sunday morning and arrived at the hotel about twenty seven hours later. It’s probably been a few years since Judith Chalmers visited North Korea for ‘Wish You Were Here’, so perhaps taking her advice for holiday destinations wasn’t that thought through. However, the hotel is functional, if a little sparse in terms of its facility mix. Though it does have a spa, it is an older model of yellowing ceramic bath whose plughole seems to be blocked with a thick substance that, if I didn’t know better, I would say was dried blood.

However, after a long journey, it was pleasant to soak for a few hours, surrounded by people who were in awe of the mahogany lustre of my skin. From my rudimentary understanding of Korean, they are either telling me that they haven’t seen such a bronzed example of Western masculinity before or they believe that Aardvarks should not wear trousers in hot weather.

Despite their habit of poking me with sticks, the people are friendly if a little grim. Jud has pretty much left me to get to know them since she’s spending her first couple of days out sightseeing. I haven’t seen much of her, to be honest. Actually, I haven’t seen her in over seventy two hours, but that’s typical of Judy once she starts to indulge her passion for taking pictures of military facilities.

Other than that, I thought I’d just update the blog to say that I’m enjoying my break and to recommend North Korea as an economy break destination. The beaches here are some of the quietest I’ve known and the locals have been entertaining me fireworks. They try their best given their limited resources but they tend to fire their rockets one at a time. Though they go up well enough, the rockets just seem to arc out over the Sea of Japan without a proper explosion at the end. It’s all very disappointing. They’ve told me that if I can provide a few hundred pounds, they’ll be able to find the right ingredients to produce a nice big explosion. I’m tempted to invest, just to break the monotony.

About the only complaint I have, thus far, is the amount of paperwork I’ve had to fill in. I attend lessons in ‘Juche’ (the official state ideology) for most of the morning, leaving me the afternoon to relax before I have my combat training in the evening. Then it’s a hot meal of cabbage strew with half a potato before bed. I would equate it to a stay at the Priory or one of those classy London health clubs, only with slightly more emphasis on militarism, heavy industry, and destroying the West.

Okay. Have to dash. I’m helping the locals erect a new statue to Father Kim. It makes such a change to be in a culture that has such a civic pride. Mind you, it’s the first statue I’ve seen that has a guidance system. But as the saying goes: when in North Korea...


Lola said...

Are you really in North Korea? Sounds like Basildon to me.

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

Basildon shares much in common with North Korea, most notably being the fact that I've been expelled from both. We're currently waiting for a flight home. Judy's been photographing state secrets again. We had the same problem when we did out cycling tour of Southern Iran a few years back.