With all the colors and adorable costumes, the Chongjin City kindergarten performance is my favorite student’s show in North Korea. Below are photos from my April 2013 Chongjin kindergarten visit:
Chongjin City kindergarten performance – photo by Joseph A Ferris III
Top North Korean scientists split the atom – photo by Joseph A Ferris III
My look behind the scenes of the DPRK tourist experience wouldn’t be complete without introducing the famous singing and dancing waitresses of the Pyongyang lamb BBQ restaurant. The girls are also available for catering; long time readers might have seen them cooking and dancing at the Mt Taesong Amusement park in my Ultimate Frisbee tournament post.
Cute, flirty, and always ready for a little dancing, relaxing with these girls is always a highlight of any trip to Pyongyang (at least for the guys) – they serve up one of Pyongyang’s tastiest lunches too!
Gymnasts, dancers, and little stars perform at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace:
The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace; a place for children of the privileged elite to spend time after school practicing sports, art, folk dance and music – and of course, show it all off with military like precision and forced smiles to groups of visiting foreign friends and tourists. More from this series linked below – all photos by Joseph A Ferris III
The Mangyongdae Children’s Palace; a place for children of the privileged elite to spend time after school practicing sports, art, folk dance and music – and of course, show it all off with military like precision and forced smiles to groups of visiting foreign friends and tourists.
Young Pioneers sing a martial song during a special Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday celebratory performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace. More pictures from this set linked below.
I am here to apologize for my lack attention to this blog as of late. I have been super busy with my duties as Chief Mate during short oceanographic research expeditions, hectic in port ship maintenance periods, and now working a crazy cruise on a full ship with over 50 scientists and crew – with that many people aboard available satellite internet bandwidth is in low supply making even the most general web surfing an agonizing chore.
I have also been busy planning a fall trip to Iran, Armenia, and Lebanon, along with two and a half weeks in Tuscany, Sicily, and Malta with my family.
Since I have been too busy to get any serious writing done (relatively recent picture posts don’t count), please let me at least pass along a DPRK post by my friend Joshua Spodek: North Korean Children’s Nearly Unbelievable Performances – insights on children’s performances at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace.
A young lady dances at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace – this photo got me an honorable mention by the moderator of the Lonely Planet Flickr Photo Challenge.
Young girls dressed in panda bear costumes relax between performances for foreigners at a folk fair held on the Day of the Sun, the April 15th, 2012 celebrations to honor the 100th year birthday of ‘Eternal President‘ Kim Il Sung.
On this day there were many military parades and Kim Jong-un appearances throughout Pyongyang. Unfortunately visiting foreign friends were not invited to these events, and to keep us out of the way, western tourists, dignitaries, and cultural delegations were bused to the city outskirts and conveniently sequestered at a park in the Mangyongdae district. To keep everyone entertained, folk games and competitions (tug of war, three legged race, ect) had been arranged for the visiting cultural delegations. Having traveled so far, and with expectations of seeing military parades, many of the tourists did not appreciate the situation – watching Eastern European and Russian delegations bob for apples was a big disappointment for most, but I really enjoyed the experience – not the international folk competitions, but all the interactions I had with the North Korean children who were at the event and enjoying themselves in such a relaxed atmosphere. On arrival, little girls in traditional chosŏn-ot dresses grabbed us by the hand and led us into the park (they were fascinated with our bellies – notice the pokes!). Hanging out, dancing, playing, and taking photographs with the North Korean children who were participating in the cultural dance performances made this event a cherished experience from the trip.
One of the best things about returning to North Korea was meeting up with the friends I made on my first visit. Below I get a hug from one of the singing waitresses that I danced with during the 2011 Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. I suppose I made a great impression during my first visit – that is one hell of a close hug, and I even got a kiss on the cheek when we made our goodbyes!
But of course I’m in trouble now, whenever my girlfriend is upset with me she points out these pictures and reminds me that “I know who your secret North Korean girlfriend is” and that “I know the real reason why you like going to North Korea” !
Well, I actually don’t know this girl’s name, but she is a real sweetheart, and if you ever pass through Pyongyang with a stop at the lamb BBQ restaurant on your itinerary, make sure to say hi to her for me – and be ready to dance!
Photo with my girl from 2011 Pyongyang Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.
Young North Korean maidens dancing in an orchard……
and then the nightmare begins!
Two young girls walk home from the Pyongyang Children’s Palace.
- Children’s Palace Pyongyang, North Korea (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- Citizen Actors North Korea – Part 1 (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- Pyongyang Cleaning Stations (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- North Korean Mass Dance in Sepia and in Black and White (americaninnorthkorea.com)
North Korean girls perform mass gymnastics at the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, North Korea.
- Young Gymnasts of the Arirang Mass Games (josephferrispics.wordpress.com)
- Arirang Mass Games (josephferrispics.wordpress.com)
- The Arirang Festival Mass Games (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- The First Podcast From Inside North Korea (americaninnorthkorea.com)
- Eric Lafforgue’s North Korea (americaninnorthkorea.com)
Photo series of performances from the Pyongyang Children’s Palace, DPRK, North Korea.
The Pyongyang Children’s Palace, a place for the children of the privileged elite to spend time after school practicing sports, art, folk dance and music – and of course, show it all off with military like precision and forced smiles to groups of visiting foreign friends and tourists.
A young girl performs a North Korean folk dance at the Pyongyang Children’s Palace.
Dancing chickens, cows, sheep, and even a giant pig – a nightmarishly weird boasting of agriculture and animal husbandry power and success during the North Korean Arirang Mass Games.
Think you are going to get the girl on your trip to North Korea? Well think again!
Cute times with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang.
Hey man, cool site and sounds like a never forgettable experience. One thing I gotta ask though. Is it possible to hook up with any chicks while you are there? I know you said you had a girl in Taiwan, but is it possible for a single dude to do something like that?
You never see any photos of North Koreans out having fun, or partying and wondered if something like that is acceptable. Then would it be acceptable if the guy was American. Know what I mean?
So I’m going to be totally honest here -
Many of the North Korean girls we came in contact with, such as waitresses and guides, were actually very flirtations – in an innocent way, and the girls are very cute – in a natural way…..but don’t get your hope up – there is NO chance of anything happening!
North Korea is the most racist country in the world – their pride in their racial purity is the secret to how the regime survives in the face of their poverty – when the going gets tough the leaders just resort to whipping up nationalistic outrage by showing footage of their ethnic brothers and sisters to the south fraternizing with the US occupation troops.
I went to North Korea with the world’s most famous pick up artist, Neil Strauss. Thing is Neil was on a vacation and not there as a journalist or a PUA, but he did bring along some of his “students” to help fill out our group so we could have an independent tour. The trip to North Korea was suppose to have nothing to do with “pickup” (even though my buddy Jordan is another big industry name) – so I found myself frustrated and even angry when some of the guys were focused on trying to get a North Korean girl – because it would be an epic accomplishment and to impress Neil- or they just didn’t know better.
Just go and enjoy the 1950′s style flirting, but don’t make a fool of yourself by asking the guides if “we can have a party at their house” or to “give me a little kiss” – that kind of shit just is NOT going to happen and makes the rest of us who are trying to be good westerners look bad.
That said, you might get lucky with a Chinese girl at the Casino or the massage parlor at the big hotel in Pyongyang, and you do have to fly out of Beijing – lots of fun to be had there – just check out Maggies bar!
I will invite my buddy Jordan to comment on the the topic here also.
Although the women are super cute in North Korea, I think we can pretty much forget about hooking up with locals. For one, contact with them is ULTRA-limited, and the only North Korean women you really interact with are the tour guides. We also met waitresses here and there, but the truth is, as Joe says below, North Korea is nearly fascist in nature. Does that mean they aren’t fascinated by Westerners? No. Does it mean they’d ever take the risk of making anything happen? Also no.
I spoke with a LOT of the tour company people (both the locals and English) very frankly about this and everyone was pretty clear that such a thing just isn’t worth the potential trouble. Even when guides were drinking with us at the hotel and the women were flirty, there were other people there to keep them in-check. Last but not least, even if all parties wanted something to happen, the logistics are impossible -no Koreans are allowed on the same hotel floors as tourists, and no tourists are allowed on the Korean hotel floors.
You get the idea…
More pics from my cute times dancing with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang
By Contributing Writer Gabriel Mizrahi
Imagine the sight of one-hundred thousand humans executing the world’s most impeccable live performance. This is the Arirang Festival, also known as the Mass Games, dubbed the greatest acrobatic spectacle on earth.
Arirang Mass Games – photo by Joseph Ferris
To the haunting chants of Korean folk music, an orgy of color and music explodes on the field. Baton-wielding military jackets parade in honor of the Dear Leader. Tiny gymnasts in blue uniforms uniforms flip and twirl with cautious grace. Tae Kwon Do athletes perform a complex series of kicks and punches. In the other half of the stadium seats, 20,000 students manipulate colored flipboards that magically shape-shift into pictures of the mythical countryside and portraits of the Great Leader in mind-blowing detail. All the while, the haunting tones of “Arirang” echo in the May Day Stadium, telling the story of a Romeo and Juliet tragedy that doubles as an allegory for the separation of North and South Korea…………Continue reading Arirang Festival Mass Games at The North Korea Blog
Ladies dancing with ladies in Pyongyang, North Korea. Sources informed us that all the men were out building houses in the countryside to help meet some grand initiative deadline that the government had set and was woefully behind on.
A North Korean mass dance is staged to provide wholesome fun and traditional entertainment for it’s citizens. If your housing political network has arranged a mass dance than attendance is mandatory – unless of course you are out building houses in the countryside. We were the only men in attendance and to the quiet amusement/embarrassment of the North Korean ladies we actually partnered up and participated.
Black and white mass dancing pictures below.
- Ladies in Formation – North Korean Marching Practice (americaninnorthkorea.com)
Yesterday’s most viewed North Korea pic from my Flickr account – ladies dancing with ladies at a mass dance in Pyongyang, North Korea. Sources informed us that all the men were out building houses in the countryside to help meet some grand initiative deadline that the government had set and was woefully behind on. We were also told that this same initiative was requiring all the university students to work instead of attending classes for the year.
A North Korean mass dance is staged to provide wholesome fun and traditional entertainment for it’s citizens. If your housing political network has arranged a mass dance than attendance is mandatory – unless of course you are out building houses in the countryside. We were the only men in attendance and to the quiet amusement/embarrassment of the North Korean ladies we actually partnered up and participated . More mass dancing pictures below.