Posts tagged “girls

Pyongyang Smile

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Girls at Mansudae Fountain Park, Pyongyang – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Gift Photos To The Girls Of The Rason Foreign Language Institute

I spent some time last spring practicing conversational English with the girls of the Rason Foreign Language Institute. On my return I gifted them photos from the first visit:

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The girls checking out the photos.

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The girls checking out the photos.

Rason Foreign Language School North Korea

Gift photo from my first visit.

Rason Foreign Language School North Korea

Gift photo from my first visit.

The children we interact with at the Rason Foreign Language Institute are aged 13-15, and are chosen to converse with us because they rank the top of their class. Shy at first, the girls quickly warm up by asking questions about family life in the United States, asking about our favorite colors, sports, hobbies, and animals. I keep it simple and ask them similar questions, learning that they enjoy swimming, reading, piano, and watching cartoons. Most of the girls want to be teachers when the grow up; they all hope to someday live in Pyongyang.


Pyongyang Traffic Girl Autograph

Friend and fellow Young Pioneer Tours guide, Chris White, had an epic encounter with a Pyongyang Traffic Girl last week in the DPRK:

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Pics from Young Pioneer Tour’s Facebook page  – give the page a like and suggest to your friends for your chance to win our yearly free DPRK trip giveaway contest!


Super Cute Kindergarten Performance

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Chongjin City kindergarten performance – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Military Circus Trapeze

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A trapeze artist prepares for the Pyongyang Military Circus finale – the inspiration for the film Comrade Kim Goes Flying?

Comrade Kim Yong Mi is a North Korean coal miner. Her dream of becoming a trapeze artist is crushed by the arrogant trapeze star Pak Jang Phil who believes miners belong underground and not in the air.

My friends at the Koryo Group continue showing the film around the world at select film festivals.  Don’t miss it at the Sydney Film Festival, June 5th – 16th, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, June 19th – 30th.

With all the action just a blur I put my camera down to concentrate on enjoying the show; readers will just have to be content with more pics of the finale setup:

Pyongyang Military Circus, North Korea

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Pyongyang Traffic Girl

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Pyongyang traffic girl at the  intersection near the foreign language bookshop – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I really like the traffic girls of Pyongyang.

When we asked our North Korean guides if the traffic girls are aware of their world wide fame we were told they do but don’t really like the notoriety.  Some of the girls fear the fame will go to their heads and distract them from their job of keeping the streets of Pyongyang safe.

Photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Dancing and Singing Waitresses of the Pyongyang Lamb BBQ Restaurant

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!

Pyongyang Singing Waitress
Pyongyang Dancing BBQ Girls
Pyongyang Dancing BBQ Girls
Pyongyang Dancing and Singing Waitresses
Pyongyang Dancing and Singing Waitresses
Pyongyang Dancing BBQ Girls
Pyongyang Dancing BBQ Girls
My Secret North Korean Girlfriend


More photos from the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace

Gymnasts, dancers, and little stars perform at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace:

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

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

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North Korean Panda Bears Dance on Kim Il Sung’s Birthday

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.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

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.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


North Korean Hairstyling

North Korean beauty and fashion has been in the news lately, apparently the western educated new young leader Kim Jung-un has recently allowed women to wear earrings, platform heels, and pants in an effort to maintain popularity with the nation’s youth.

In a somewhat related article koreaBANG examines the North Korean hairstyling industry. My friends over at The North Korean Blog were stuck by the methods used by the state to select and nurture young candidates for careers in the hairdressing industry, and how it relates to insights we gleaned about the North Koran comedy profession:

In order to obtain the qualifications to become a hairdresser, those who receive recommendations as middle school graduates or from other workplaces are trained through education at a hairdressing or beauty school in each town or district more than once per year, and in September of every year they even hold a competition for the north’s most skilled beauty salon, ‘Nationwide Hairdressers’ and Beauticians’ Competition’ in Pyongyang.

The koreaBANG article had me reminiscing about the afternoon we shared at the Hamhung flower park and pavilion along with couples on their wedding day. Deemed an auspicious day for tying the knot, the park was filled with newlywed couples having their formal pictures taken. Many of the women were dressed in their finest chosŏn-ot and had their hair done up in elaborate, yet tasteful, styles. We were more than welcome to take pictures of the couples and our presence actually created a bit of a sensation, North Korean wedding photographers snuck around to try to candidly fit us in their shots, and a few families actually thrust flowers in our hands and had us pose with the newlyweds!

Brides and their hairstyles in Hamhung flower park – all photos by Joseph A Ferris II

North Korean Wedding Party Hamhung

North Korean Wedding Party

North Korean Wedding Party

North Korean Wedding Party

Hamhung Bride North Korea

North Korean Bride

North Korean Wedding Party

North Korean Wedding Party

North Korean Wedding Party


Pyongyang Traffic Girl Of The Month

I recently discovered that two of my pictures have the honor of being selected as the Pyongyang Traffic Girl Of The Month for May and June 2012 over at PyongyangTrafficGirls.com – it’s a fun little site that honors some of my favorite girls, check it out while my picture for June is still profiled up on their main page!

On the Streets of Pyongyang, DPRK

June 2012 Traffic Girl of the Month.

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

May 2012 Traffic Girl of the Month – photos by Joseph A Ferris III

And while messing around at PyongyangTrafficGirls.com I came across this absolutely precious kindergarten musical traffic safety skit.


USS Pueblo Guide

Pueblo Guide DPRK, North Korea

Our lovely guide shares a laugh and smile during our return visit to the US spy ship Pueblo.

This wasn’t our first time meeting this guide – Jordan, Josh, and I remembered her from last year (and she confessed to remembering us too), she was our guide during our 2011 visit to the  Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.  It was with her that we shared one of our favorite interactions of last year’s trip:

After being told of our impending annihilation we split our group between our trip guides and the local museum guide to fit into a small elevator to return to the museum entrance. Stuffed in the elevator between 5 big western men our guide asked us where we were from – Michigan, Maine, California, and so on.  The look on our guide’s face was priceless, she was stuck in an elevator with 5 arch enemy Americans just moments after she predicted our impending annihilation by North Korean troops. The look of shock on her face changed into a big smile as our guide declared “I love American civilians!” and together we all all broke out into laughter – one of the best moments of the trip!


Classroom Tour at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace

Last year we were late getting to the Pyongyang Children’s Palace – we got to see most of the show but missed the tour of the classrooms.  For this year’s visit to the larger Mangyongdae Children’s Palace I made it a point to arrive extra early so we could get the full tour – on a day when a major performance was scheduled for western tourists and foreign dignitaries we were the first group to arrive.

Below is just a portion of what we were shown on our tour.  Child protegees and students work hard to perfect their studies in folk music, propaganda oration, drawing, and piano.  How much of this was staged for us and how much was typical of what goes on, visiting tourists invading their classrooms or not, I cant really say.

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Piano Instruction North Korea

Piano Instruction North Korea

Mangyongdae Children's Palace North Korea

Our student guide for the classroom portion of the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace.


Guns, Girls, and Beer – the Pyongyang Gun Range 2012

Last week I wrote about my return to the Pyongyang gun range and how I shot my own breakfast, today I am presenting a simple photo post showing the remaining pictures from that visit – the ones that don’t involve me killing something!  You can find my post about my original 2011 visit to the gun range here.

Pyongyang, North Korea Gun Range

Lovely Pyongyang gun range attendants.

Pyongyang, North Korea Gun Range

Pyongyang Gun Range

Pyongyang Gun Range

I bought our North Korean guide Ms. Han a round of shots,  she wasn’t the best marksman but I was thrilled that she at least gave it a try.

Pyongyang Gun Range

Pyongyang Gun Range

Pyongyang Gun Range Bar

The Pyongyang gun range bar – my favorite bar is the world!

Pyongyang Gun Range Bar


Bagging Your Own Breakfast – The Pyongyang Gun Range Pheasant Shoot

Dubbing the experience guns, girls, and beer, last summer’s visit to the Pyongyang gun range was one of my favorite experiences of the trip.  Having had so much fun there last year I made it a point to include another visit when I wrote out the custom itinerary for my 2012 return to the DPRK – most standard North Korean tourist itineraries don’t include the gun range.

Our visit was approved but this year the girls were prepared for us and remembered our tricks – no photos hugging the girls, beer in one hand and rifle in the other, while in the shooting area!  But that was OK, we had other tricks up our sleeves!  At 5 euros a round visitors are allowed to take a shots at live birds in a pen at the far end of the gun range.  Nobody tried during last years visit, the pen was only stocked with one skinny chicken, but this year the pen was well stocked with plump pheasants, and to temp us further a North Korean man shot and bagged one before our eyes.  I wasn’t the first in our group to bag a pheasant, one of the guys hit one on his first shot and made a gift of the bird to our bus driver – the driver was thrilled.  After getting a few drinks in me I purchased a 5 euro round for my lucky shot into the pheasant pen, then a 2nd, and a third round – eventually I bagged one!

Pyongyang Gun Range Prize

North Korean gun range attendant with my pheasant.

Pyongyang, North Korea Gun Range

Me and my pheasant at the Pyongyang gun range.

North Korean Pheasant Soup

So you got drunk and shot a pheasant at Pyongyang gun range – now what?  Bring the dead bird to the dining hall of your Pyongyang hotel restaurant, pull it out in front of a bunch of horrified western tourists while they eat their dinners, and pass it over to a North Korean waitress – she wont even bat an eye but only ask for instructions on how you want your bird soup prepared for the next morning’s breakfast.  Photo above – my pheasant being dished out for breakfast.

Pyongyang, North Korea Gun Range

Me and my prize at the Pyongyang gun range.

Pyongyang Gun Range

Me and my pheasant at the Pyongyang gun range.

Pyongyang, North Korea Gun Range

A North Korean man returning with his prize.

Pyongyang, North Korea Gun Range

Walking out with the gun range attendant to get my bird.


Twin Sisters Hamhung City, North Korea

Hamhung City Square, DPRK, North Korea

Hamhung City Square, DPRK, North Korea

Twin Sisters in the main square of Hamhung City, North Korea – photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Sneaking a Cell Call

Cell Call Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Cell phones are all the rage in Pyongyang, North Korea this year (we hardly saw any during our Aug. 2011 trip) – here a traffic girl sneaks a call from behind a tree - photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Keeping Pyongyang Tidy

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

A Pyongyang traffic girl cleans broken glass – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Reunion With a Friend

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!

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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!

With the Singing Waitresses of Pyongyang, North Korea

Photo with my girl from 2011 Pyongyang Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.


Return of the Pyongyang Traffic Girls – Picture Post

Brought back from their Sept. 2010 retirement, these April 2012 photos posted below show Pyongyang traffic girls performing their classic signal direction routine - photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

From a previous post:  To our delight, the traffic girls of Pyongyang were brought out of retirement to help deal with the massive traffic congestion, and perhaps to add a little more color to the city for ’Eternal President’ Kim Il Sung’s 100th year birthday celebrations.

On my first visit (summer 2011) we had been saddened to learn that the girls had been replaced by a modern traffic light system. They could still be seen on occasion, running roadside signal lamp switches, working road construction sights, or directing traffic during the frequent power outages, but we missed their famous directing routines performed at the main city intersections. I’m happy to report that this April they were back directing traffic throughout Pyongyang, and although I have no idea how long this will last, I got some great pics during this special opportunity and will be sure to have a follow-up post sharing the best of them! 

This is the follow-up picture post with those promised photos posted below!

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Remaining photos show the Pyongyang traffic girls performing their normal post retirement duties: cross walk safety overloading and manual light phasing – all from April 2012.

Pyongyang, North Korea Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girls

Pyongyang Traffic Girls

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl


Pyongyang Traffic Girls Return!

Pyongyang, North Korea Traffic Girl

Pyongyang Traffic Girl – photo by Joseph A Ferris III

To our delight, the traffic girls of Pyongyang were brought out of retirement to help deal with the massive traffic congestion, and perhaps to add a little more color to the city for ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il Sung’s 100th year birthday celebrations.

On my first visit (summer 2011) we had been saddened to learn that the girls had been replaced by a modern traffic light system. They could still be seen on occasion, running roadside signal lamp switches, working road construction sights, or directing traffic during the frequent power outages, but we missed their famous directing routines performed at the main city intersections. I’m happy to report that this April they were back directing traffic throughout Pyongyang, and although I have no idea how long this will last, I got some great pics during this special opportunity and will be sure to have a follow-up post sharing the best of them!


Happy Women’s Day

Words of wisdom from a guide at Koryo Tours:

On this special day for women let us take a moment to ponder the words of the DPRK news agency: “Women in capitalist countries are in despair and get degenerate, deploring their miserable fate. This leads them to crimes.” You have been warned!

Sexy Sailor Girls

North Korean sexy sailors – photo by Joseph A Ferris III


Beauty and Grace at the Arirang Mass Games

It’s not all about high kicking sexy military girls and mass flip card human mosaics at the North Korean Arirang Mass Games; experience the more delicate side of the games with the following set of photos showcasing the beauty and grace of North Korean women in their traditional Korean chosŏn-ot dresses.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea